Directed by David Powers and Sam Fell
DreamWorks, opens November 3
The third collaboration between Britain's Aardman studio and DreamWorks animation, this puckish charmer about a posh Kensington mouse flushed down the loo into London sewer country is to action-adventure what Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit was to Hammer Horror. Aardman's first foray into CGI may spell woe to loyal fans of the plasticine monobrow, but this watery Technicolor universe, fully furnished with shopping malls and populated with a cast of thousands, could never have been brought off with stop-motion. Pampered house mouse Roddy St. James (voiced by Hugh Jackman) also sings, as who wouldn't after being rescued by can-do sewer rat Rita (Kate Winslet), wearing red spaghetti hair and an iron will? Abetted by other critters with names like Millicent Bystander, the two rodents face off against the dastardly Toad (Ian McKellen) and his less than competent goons (Andy Serkis and the adorably adenoidal Bill Nighy). Beyond the obligatory Hollywood moralizing about community and cooperation, and the usual Aardman pokes at the mutual disdain of Brits and Frogs, there's a heartfelt upstairs-downstairs tale of urban loneliness redeemed by love and family. And what's not to love about a movie in which thousands of rodents stand together against a Big Wave generated by TV-watching soccer fans flushing their toilets at halftime?