Cinema: Simplistic but breezily charming adventure

Smallfoot.
Smallfoot.

SMALLFOOT (U)

Academy Award-winning director Damien Chazelle takes one giant leap for immersive, nail-biting film-making in a thrilling dramatisation of the space race between America and the Soviet Union.

First Man shoots for the moon and touches down beautifully by placing us alongside astronauts in their claustrophobic modules or next to nervous Nasa staff as they propel mankind into the great unknown. Handheld camerawork, unobtrusive special effects and dazzling sound design leave us stranded thousands of miles above terra firma in a similar fashion to Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity, at the mercy of new-fangled technology and Lady Luck. The tension is almost unbearable. Chazelle masterfully encourages us to hold our breath and bite our nails down to the cuticle with bold visual flourishes and unshowy, powerhouse performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy as the husband and wife at the epicentre of the 1969 lunar landing.

SMALLFOOT (U)

Curiosity killed the yak in director Karey Kirkpatrick's effervescent computer-animated romp, which follows an inquisitive Yeti (voiced by Channing Tatum), who comes in from the cold to prove the existence of a race of diminutive hairless creatures called humans.

Smallfoot is festooned with far-from-abominable snowmen and snowwomen, who live in a thriving mountain-top community, which is hidden from prying eyes by a ring of high-altitude cloud.

Ignorance is bliss until one member of the community publicly challenges the veracity of the runes and forces his fellow Yetis to ask probing questions of the people in power.

Kirkpatrick's film is a simplistic but breezily charming adventure, which encourages independent thought rather than slavishly following the herd.

Ironically, Smallfoot trots in the hoofprints of other (superior) animated features and some of the physical pratfalls are strongly reminiscent of the heyday of Road Runner and Wile E Coyote.