Smallfoot Review – The Allegory of the Cave Yeti (Its that Deep)
Got the chance to catch the press screening of Smallfoot so here I am doing the Smallfoot review. It features the voice of Channing Tatum, Zendaya, LeBron James and James Corden. Opens September 27 from Warner Bros. Pictures Philippines.
An animated adventure for all ages, with original music and an all-star cast, “Smallfoot” turns the Bigfoot legend upside down when a bright young Yeti finds something he thought didn’t exist—a human.
News of this “smallfoot” brings him fame and a chance with the girl of his dreams. It also throws the simple Yeti community into an uproar over what else might be out there in the big world beyond their snowy village, in a rollicking story about friendship, courage and the joy of discovery.
I wasn’t expecting Smallfoot to be that deep. I really thought it was just another kids movie with some standard plot. What I actually got was a meaningful philosophical head trip to explain to kids a lot of things.
Now before we proceed, there’s gonna be some spoilers for this. I dunno why I’m so engrossed with this, but I am.
The movie deals with a lot of stuff, the dark and light of human nature, integrity, reality, white lies. Hell it even touches on mental health. It’s not as black and white in this film where there are singing and rapping yetis. The characters here are relatable.
Migo’s world is shattered when he meets a smallfoot for the first time. And that encounter changes his view on the world and later on, the view of other yetis. It’s the animated version of the Plato’s allegory of the cave. He gets “woke” after a little prodding and pushing from a group of yetis who call themselves the SES or Smallfoot Exists Suckas. He meets Percy (James Corden) and introduces him to their world. Their world literally grinds to a screeching halt.
Then the whole thing gets subverted when they find themselves in the world of humans where they are feared as monsters. The film lets us in on all the elements too for this concept. The blind people who think that the “stones” are universal truths and that smallfoots don’t exist at all. It dares to ask “are the things we perceive and accept as reality real?”
That’s the interesting thing about this movie. It educates and then rolls over to another adult concept. Acceptance and isolation. Do the yetis accept their fate and stay in their high castle or do they go down and meet the humans bravely, head on? And I like that WB Animation decided to go for the happy ending with this one.
Smallfoot also touches on the subject of “being”. It asks the viewers together with the characters, “if I am not _____, then what am I?” That’s especially true for Migo’s dad played by Danny DeVito. But again it’s presented in a nice and touching moment. It also made me think. Something that an animated movie for kids fail to do at most times…
Human Depiction as Good and Evil
Thomas Hobbes thinks that humans are monsters.Jean-Jacques Rousseau on the other hand thinks that we are by nature “good”. Smallfoot explores those two ideas in moderate detail. Migo shares happy moments with Percy and even sees his good nature. Percy, knows that getting a yeti can save his animal show and manifests his greedy nature (to the tune of Queen and David Bowie’s classic “Under Pressure” no less.) Ofcourse, they have to wrap up that exploration and end with a light ending. I’m satisfied with the outcome and writing this down in this Smallfoot review as a good thing.
Mental Health and Society
LeBron’s Gwangi is triggered when he gets called “crazy” for believing in smallfoot and questions “religious” teachings. He’s accepted his fate together with all the other SES members but he knows the truth is out there. There’s a scene that vividly portrays Gwangi’s outlook compared to how some brothers and sisters IRL deal with on a regular basis. He knows he’s not crazy but the people surrounding him thinks he is. A more mature moment in a kid’s movie.
Liberty vs Security
Spoilers again. Skip this part if you dont want massive, massive spoilers.
So there’s a scene where Migo learns the truth of their community. Humans killed yetis in the past which drove them up the mountains. To protect themselves, they use clouds to cover their whereabouts. The clouds are made by the yetis themselves ala factory workers. Migo is thrust to decide what he has to do with this terrible truth. He decides to stick with the plan, keep everybody safe and secure. He ditches the idea of the yetis venturing down to human communities too which is all about liberty.
The ending goes the with the happy ending but its the implications that are truly dark.
The animation was great. The songs they used were OK at the very least the rap part was dope. The characters are really great despite looking kooky. The humor was hit or miss.
Smallfoot Review – Verdict
If I ever meet my Philosophy teacher I would recommend this to him. Tell him to let his students watch this. The concepts may go over your head from time to time but don’t worry, its still a family friendly, kid friendly movie. OK humor and CGI and a good amount of songs in this.