Flushed Away

DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Anton Bitel

Read Anton Bitel's film review of Flushed Away
Flushed Away

Many of the extras directed at adults on this disc could easily have been flushed away themselves.

The Music of Flushed Away (nine minutes) includes back-slapping soundbites from directors David Bowers and Sam Fell, and composer Harry Gregson-Williams, as well as footage of an orchestra performing the score; but the only real insights here are that Hugh Jackman improvised Roddy's lyrics for the song 'Ice Cold Rita', and that it was Nick Park, on a brief visit to the production, who suggested that the slugs should sing.

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Meet the Cast (nine minutes) allows viewers to put faces to the voice cast, but the big-name stars (Jackman, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Jean Reno, Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy, Shane Richie) are largely reduced to stating the obvious about their characters.

Bowers and Fell's full audio commentary was unavailable on my review copy of the disc, but one can only hope that what they had to say about the production was more interesting. After all, by some accounts the production was plagued by its American producers from DreamWorks, who fought with Ardman's creative team every step of the way to minimise British references, content, accents and, well, charm - and who insisted that Roddy, originally conceived and modelled as a pampered pet rat, be designated a mouse in all the promotional material.

Where this disc comes into its own is with the materials aimed at the film's principal audience, children. Although the bland games are no competition for Playstation, and the DreamWorks Jukebox is just a set of glorified movie trailers disguised as music videos, elsewhere there are some very entertaining extras focussed on the film's funniest characters, the chorus of slugs.

Slug Songs comprises hilarious videos of the slugs singing and dancing to short-and-sweet sections of Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now), I Don't Feel Like Dancing and Pump It. Slug Cam is actual footage of a slug travelling "an astonishing three feet in just 17 minutes" - fortunately sped up to a mere two minutes, to the accompaniment of comedy music.

In Build A Slug (13 minutes), supervising animator Jason Spenser-Galsworthy goes through the steps of modelling a slug from clay and cocktail sticks. He makes it look so easy, but is in no way patronising: the final product looks just like a slug from the film, right down to its teeth, tongue and tiny eyelashes. Similarly Learn to Draw Roddy (two minutes) encourages children to follow step-by-step instructions for drawing what is in the end a very detailed sketch of the film's tuxedoed protagonist. Both these extras offer real, hands-on insights into the creative processes underlying animation.

There is also a selection of additional games and activities (many slug-related) accessible via cd-rom.

© 2007 DreamWorks Animation and Aardman Animations. Flushed Away™ DreamWorks Animation. All Rights Reserved

Reviewed on: 29 Mar 2007
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Flushed Away packshot
A pet mouse flushed down a toilet struggles to find his way home, encountering all manner of adventures along the way.
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Product Code: DSA1334

Region: 2

Ratio: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Directors' commentary, The Music of Flushed Away, Meet the Cast, Dreamworks Animation Jukebox, Slug Songs, Slug Cam, Slug Games, previews, Build a Slug, Learn-to-Draw Roddy, A Maze of Pipes, additional games and activities via cd-rom.

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