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   Flush up on all the hidden detail in Aardman/DreamWorks' "Flushed Away"!
   Flushed Away's Hidden Detail    (17.05.12)


   You know, Aardman/DreamWorks' Flushed Away is piped full of
   in-jokes and hidden detail. And sometimes a dawg has too much
   time on his paws so, ladies and gentlerats, The Hound at Toonhound
   has (belatedly) revisited Ratropolis with Roddy and Rita via his HD TV
   to bring you a timecoded rundown of some of that fab DVD detail.
   Seriously, there's lots of hidden stuff to enjoy, so get your
   pause button ready!...


   00.30 -  We've barely started and already there's an Aardman reference in the
                 background of Piccadilly Circus. It's a big neon advert featuring a stylised
                 "G" for Gromit , as in "Wallace & Gromit" Aardman's stop-motion stars.
                 Quite what it's advertising is hard to pin down, but it's there (1), and
                 we've spied it...

                 "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

                 There's a "Flushed" sign there too (2). And a Katzenburger Lager ad
                 mocking DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenburg (3). It's expanded upon
                 at 06.02, so we'll leave it for now.

                 Incidentally, that Chunky Choc middle-top pre-empts Roddy's
                 snickering encounter with a chocolate bar en route through the drains
                 to Ratropolis, in a wee while...

.50 -  Now we're in Tabitha's bedroom. And Tabitha's quite the cartoon fan,
                 with characters from several Aardman and DreamWorks productions
                 on show in her room. How many, exactly? Well...

                 "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   01.17 - This is a good widescreen shot, so we'll add them all up...

                 There's a large Gromit soft toy on the floor for starters, and two Captain
                 Cuddlepuss plush toys from "Creature Comforts"(2003), two Alex the Lion
                 plush toys from "Madagascar"(2005) and an amazing twelve plush toy
                 bunnies, straight out Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)...

                 There's a bunny in a pink dress on her bedside stand, left of frame.
                 We've previously spied four more in a storage box beneath the window.
                 Another Bunny is on the floor, to the left of the shelving unit.
                 Number seven is on the first main shelf, to the right of the books.
                 Four more are in another storage box on the shelf above.
                 And one last dress-wearing bunny resides at the top...

                 That makes 17 different Aardman/DreamWorks plushies. We see
                 one or more of them throughout these bedroom scenes...

                "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

01.50 -  When Roddy is rummaging through his penthouse wardrobe, he
                 pulls out a spotty shirt, a sailor suit ('ello, sailor!), and then, a clothes
                 hanger sporting a green tank top and red tie, made famous by our
                 inventor friend Wallace of Wallace & Gromit fame...

                 Next there's a little sleight of hand. Most folks see the Caveman
                 costume that follows on and they think it's a Fred Flintstone reference.
                 But there's no famous blue tie. This viewer reckons it's part of a
                 looser Mr Benn reference. When he's in his famous Costume Shop
                 Mr Benn dresses up as a Caveman, Wizard and Deep Sea Diver,
                 and he holds them up to his person when he's transformed, just
                 like Roddy...

                 Roddy concludes his search with a choice between a Wolverine 
                 costume and an Elvis costume, and the in-joke is rather more obvious.
                 Hugh Jackman, who voices Roddy St. James, is perhaps most famous
                 for his role as the former character in those live-action "X-Men"
                 comic adaptations....

   02.02 -  Oh, look! - Roddy sits on a Jack in his car, moments before Hugh
                 Jackman's credit appears on screen. Jack - Jackman - geddit?...

02.39 -  There's a photo of Shaun the Sheep on the living room bookshelf...

02.41 -  And now it's DVD time, and that shelf really is stuffed-to-busting
                 with material to savour.
The lineup includes a number of previous
                 DreamWorks animated and live-action releases (1), some fake titles
                 referencing folks associated with the "Flushed Away" production 
                 crew and their production babies (2), and a slew of titles spoofing
                 classic films (3).

                 "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

                 We'll work from right to left, with Roddy. Legitimate film titles have
                 their release date in brackets:

                 Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002)
                 Sinbad, Legend of the Seven Seas (2003)
                 The Road to El Dorado ( 2000)
                 Prince of Egypt (1998)
                 Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
                 Madagascar (2005)
                 Antz (1998)
                 The Last Castle (2001)
                 Shark Tale (2004)
                 Over the Hedge (2006)
                 Shrek (2001)
                 Shrek 2 (2004)
                 Red Eye (2005)
                 Peacemaker (1997)
                 Paulie (1998)
                 Old School (unrated) (2003)
                 Mouse Hunt (1997)
                 The Love Letter (1999)
                 Just Like Heaven (2005)
                 Galaxy Quest (1999)
Forces of Nature (1999)

                 Kira - Queen of the Schedule*
                 Z is for Zaneta
                 Macy & Owen's Day Out
Madeleine's Mayhem
                 The Chaos of Charis
                 Nicky & Dylan
                 The Weisberg Chronicles*
                 The Adventures of Courtney & Brendon
                 The Julianos of Boca

                       * Kira Shea Smithson and Larry Weisberg were
                          Production Office Co-ordinators on the film!

                 A Fistfull of Dullards
                 My Big Fat Greek Bottom
                 In the Heat of the Fridge
                 Goon With the Wind
                 Piddler on the Roof
                 Puckered Lips Now
                 Ratman Returns
                 Ratman Returns (Again)
                 All the Presidents Own Teeth
                 The Mancunian Candidate
                 Death in Venice II - Zombie
                 Once Upon a Time in a Vest
                 You Only Live 9 Times
                 The Maltese Budgie (a Dicky Bird film)
                 Brief Incontinence
                 The Curse of the Daddy
                 A Few Good Puns
                 12 Angry Folks
                 Die Again Tomorrow
                 A Clockwork Potato

                 Chicken Run

                      "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

              To cap things off the DVD shelf is completed with a framed photograph
                  of Wendolene, the stop-motion heroine from Aardman's Academy
                  Award-winning short film A Close Shave.

                  And of course, in the end, Roddy chooses the James Bond spoof
                  spy film "Die Again Tomorrow" for his movie premiere...

05.15 -  We're in the kitchen now, and when Roddy first meets Sid we catch
                  a glimpse of a wall calendar in the background, featuring some familiar
                  Aardman penguins. It looks like they're playing draughts - a take on
                  those famous images of dogs playing poker, painted by CM Coolidge
                  in 1903....

                 "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   06.02 -  The TV broadcast features pitch-side adverts for Lord's Bank (1) and
                  Katzenburger "The Official Lager of English Blokes" (2). These are 
                  references to the UK's famous High Street bank, Lloyd's Bank,
                  and to Carlsberg, a renowned Danish brewery. They've been
                  mashed up to poke fun at Aardman cofounder and producer
                  Peter Lord, and DreamWorks' Jeffrey Katzenburg...

   08.26 -  Really, if you don't get this one, you must have been living under the
                 sea all your life. The goldfish asks if Roddy has seen his Dad. That's a
                 reference to Pixar's blockbuster "Finding Nemo" (2003), in which
                 the titular character (a young clown fish) searches for a way back home
                 to his father...

   09.20 - The slugs in the film are practically carbon copies of Gary and Nigel,
                  the slugs from Aardman's "Creature Comforts" TV series...

   10.36 -  Roddy tumbles into Ratropolis, and lands upon a chalk sketch of
                 "London From the Sky" by Rodint = Rodent = Augste Rodin, the
                 renowned French sculptor (1840-1917)...
   11.16 -  Here's our first glimpse of a fab advert for Melvin Grime underpants,
                 as sported by a sullen male rodent, spoofing Calvin Kleine, of course...

                  "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   11.17 -  And one brief pause away, as Roddy flies through the air, there's a
                 vest top on the washing line with a Aardman's doggy star Rex the
                 Runt emblazoned upon it...

                "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

11.46 -  That's Aardman's infamous diamond thief Feathers McGraw and robot
                 dog Preston you can see dueling on a console screen, behind Roddy and
                 Harold the toast-wearing Prophet...

   15.42 -  This one may be a bit tenuous, but Whitey's brass jacket button is very
                 similar to the stylised "V" on Viktor's tomb, in the film "Underworld" (2003).
                 If you know your monster movies, you'll know that actor Bill Nighy, who
                 voices Whitey, also plays Viktor the vampire lord...

   18.17 -  Here's another great spoof billboard ad. It's promoting a rap album by
                 40 pence called "Fur-vent Ro-dent". 40 pence = 50 cent...

   19.23 -  Hmm. Toad has a strange porcelain statue with a face resembling
                 Aardman's most famous inventor Wallace. It's labelled as "Bower's",
                 which presumably means it's an in-joke, mocking director
                 Dave Bowers?

20.01 -  Take a look at that portrait in Toad's abode, hanging left of his fireplace
                 One of the dogs looks suspiciously like Trixie from Aardman's
                 "Creature Comforts" series...

   20.04  - Oh, the joys of Toad's Royal Collection. In the heart of all those naïf
                  knick-knacks is a tin of Slade's Caramel Toffy. Now Slade are in fact
                  a UK glam-pop band from the 70's. Their stacked soles and mad shiny
                  outfits kicked up the charts, back in the day, and they and their front
                  man Noddy Holder are revered as quintessential Britpop rockers...

   20.46 -  And what's this? - A tin of Lord's Blend Tea? - That must be referring to
                 Aardman's Peter Lord again!

   22.07 -  Toad's camp cry of "Shut that door!" is a very particular British
                  television in-joke. This was the favourite catchphrase of the late
                  comedian and game show host Larry Grayson who was hugely
                  popular back in the late 'seventies/early 'eighties, presenting the
                  BBC's peak-time ratings hit "The Generation Game"...

                  "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   22.14 -  That rat in ice behind Roddy and Rita is obviously supposed to be
                 Han Solo from the original "Star Wars" trilogy, frozen in carbonite!...

                 "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   23.06 -  We've seen Toad's freezer before, but this is our first good look at
                 at the door where we can see there's a fridge magnet of Aardman's
                 star inventor Wallace in his football kit (1), from the "Soccerama" episode
                 in Wallace & Gromit's "Cracking Contraptions" short film series (2002).
                 There's also a head shot of that big green DreamWorks Animation
                 star Shrek (2)...

   26.10 -  Yoiks. The sweetcorn on that fruit 'n' veg stall is "Hardly Used"...

27.47 -  We're below decks on the Jammy Dodger, and that's Shaun the Sheep
                  frollicking on Rita's big tin...

28.46 -  Time for another Gromit appearance. He's presented as a pencil-topper
                 atop of Rita's big yellow pencil, on board the Jammy Dodger...

                 "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   31.11 -  Now here's a sly bit of detail. Amongst the newspaper headlines
                 plastered to the Malone family houseboat is a headline and article referring
                 to a "Mysterious Veggie Monster". That's our old friend, the vegetarian
                 Were-Rabbit, from Aardman/DreamWorks' "Curse of the Were-Rabbit"...

                 "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

31.35 -  Inside the house boat now, and one of Rita's bouncing brothers
                 is wearing a Gromit T-shirt...

                 "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   32.52 -  And here's Rita's brother Shocky wearing his own Rex the Runt t-shirt...

   33.32 -  That roach is reading a copy of "La Metamorphose" by Kafka...

   34.45 -  The family's dinner table is actually made up of three books. The
                  blue one has been stamped by Southwark Public Library. The title? -
                  "Bleak Mouse"...

37.02 -   If you look closely at that anatomical diagram of a squirrel pinned to
                  the wall behind Toad's henchmen, you'll see it's labelled with the
                  spoof Latin name Squirrellious Aardmanoius...

   37.04 -  And that book in the background is "Chilling Tale" by I C Chambers...
   37.19 -  It doesn't get more obvious than this nod to the original live-action
                 "Batman" television series, starring Adam West...

                "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   42.22 -  The pencils on the electric whisk that gets swamped with Instant
                 Dessert are stamped with Peter Lord's name...

   46.25 -  Toad's bookshelf includes "A Brief History of Slime", "Unfinished Verse"
                  by Long Tung, "Wart & Peace" by Leo Toadstoy, "Hop and Glory" and
                  "The Tragic History of the Great Great Toad - Vol. I" followed by
                  Volumes II through VI...

                "Flushed Away" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

46.36 -  The first illustration in Toad's book features a line-up of royal pets,
                 several of whom have a "Creature Comforts" feel to them. But more
                 specifically, that's Bunty the hen from Chicken Run (2003) on the
                 right of the line-up...

   58.30 -  And here's our last discovery for now. When Roddy returns to Tabitha's
                 bedroom in Kensington, we can at last get a good look at the titles on her
                 bookshelf behind the Were-Rabbit bunny, and we can see it includes a
                 Wallace & Gromit book next to a copy of Aardman's popular studio
                 history "Cracking Animation"...


    Phew-ee! - That's a lot of detail, and no doubt it's not everything. If you spy a
    great in-joke that's missing from this rundown get in touch and share it with the
    world. Meanwhile, this viewer is waiting eagerly for the film to get a big bright
    BLU-RAY release, which will enable us to get an even better look!...

       Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'
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