Suave pet rodent Roddy St James (voiced by Hugh Jackman) lives a luxurious lifestyle in his Kensington home. But when an obnoxious sewer rat emerges out of a water pipe, Roddy – in ‘Prince and the Pauper’ fashion – is maliciously dispensed to the sewers below. There he meets feisty punk-rat Rita (Kate Winslet), and together they unravel a dastardly plot by Ian McKellen’s nefarious Toad.
It’s a kids’ rat movie, so you’d expect some artistic licence to have been taken with the characters. However, in the same way Aardman quirkified its ‘Chicken Run’ cast by giving them teeth, here its protagonists get human torsos and moppish hairstyles. Cute characters they ain’t. No question, the animation is crisp, rounded and model-like, but the pacing’s lethargic, the jokes – many of them movie-orientated and, for a world market, perhaps too British – are variable, the action sequences mostly uninspired and the characterisations and voice-overs underwhelming.