Warner Bros. Pictures’ latest family-friendly animated film, “Smallfoot,” opening this Friday, reaches beyond the tropes of traditional children’s movies with its diverse range of music and unique moral lesson. Director Karey Kirkpatrick leads an all-star cast, including basketball star LeBron James and actress Zendaya, in this film adaptation of the book “Yeti Tracks” by Sergio Pablos. The result is a heartwarming, sing-along story that viewers of all ages will enjoy.

As the movie begins, the view pans across a utopian town whose yeti inhabitants happily toil away under the belief that their society is dictated by the infallible rules of the stones, which are protected by the Stonekeeper, voiced by the rapper Common.

Not until the movie’s young hero Migo, voiced by Channing Tatum, discovers the existence of “smallfeet” —humans — does the yetis’ blind faith in their smallfoot-denying stones begin to disintegrate. Peace is restored when Migo, the Stonekeeper’s daughter and three teenage village misfits risk their lives to prove that smallfeet are nothing to fear. Along the way, they learn a valuable lesson: The truth always triumphs, even when it is frightening or hard to accept.

“Smallfoot” serves as an allegory for the blinding effects of prejudice and mob mentality. A clear parallel emerges between the yetis’ snowy mountaintop village and the human equivalent of a community held in place by its unquestioning traditions and perspectives. Some might argue that these traditions and perspectives are valuable culture, but the writers imply traditions are nothing more than refusals to acknowledge the validity of alternative lifestyles and people. The smallfeet are a stand-in for the feared “other” who have been typecast based on misunderstanding.

However, the “other,” in this case humans, are not without faults. The smallfoot Percy, voiced by James Corden, is a TV personality who seeks high ratings above all else. He only gains integrity after meeting Migo and the yeti village, whom he must save by sacrificing himself. For humans, yetis are the “other” to be met with both fear and awe. Yet, the fear and misunderstanding dissipate when the truth is revealed: Although both communities have their faults, they are filled with well-meaning individuals who transcend stereotypes.

However, the one woman with a significant role is a highly intelligent yeti whose ideas drive the plot. Meechee, voiced by Zendaya, introduces Migo to the idea that it is okay to question everything in search of the truth. She teaches him that the world is bigger than their small village. Meechee is the moral compass by which everything else is evaluated.

Although “Smallfoot” is first and foremost the story of a hero’s journey, it is also a thoughtfully composed musical. Unlike other children’s movies with homogenous — albeit catchy — songs, “Smallfoot” makes an effort to feature a soundtrack with substance. In addition to the usual pop-rock suspects, Common provides the vocals for a single rap song. It may be far from genre diversity, but the track’s inclusion is a step in the right direction.

For fans of animated movies, “Smallfoot” is well worth the ticket price. Deeper meanings and moral lessons aside, the fun film evokes both song and laughter. The incredible animation by Sony Pictures Imageworks and strong music further make this film a satisfying watch. Viewers will leave the theater feeling inspired and hopeful for a less prejudiced tomorrow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *