"Happy Feet" Slips and Fails

Genres: Action/Adventure, Kids/Family, Musical/Performing Arts and Animation
Release Date: November 17th, 2006 (wide)
MPAA Rating:
PG for some mild peril and rude humor.
Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution

Directed by: George Miller, Judy Morris (II), Warren Coleman

JJ Rating: B

Happy Feet is about an Emperor Penguin named Mumble. He can’t sing worth anything and that’s not good because that’s how an Emperor Penguin finds a mate - by singing what is called a heart song. Mumble can tap dance, but that isn’t close to what is needed. The fish are disappearing and he is to blame because he’s different and therefore the fault is with him. That’s how old people are and that’s exactly how the old penguins think in the movie.

I’m sick and tired of movies that have good themes but present them poorly. This movie is about communication between people who are the same and then with people who are different. I use the word people loosely but one should be able to grasp what I’m talking about. This is a great thing to present in a movie but it does it in such a way that I felt totally bored.

The animation itself is awesome. The penguins looked great and I loved how they had the move and walk just like real penguins. The waddle is funny with their wings out as they quickly transport themselves through the snow or water. The avalanches that occur in the movie looked realistic and smooth. The other animals that show up from time to time in the movie looked fantastic as well. The animation was top notch. It was the story telling that fell below par.

The singing was entertaining. That was one of the reasons I wanted to see the movie. I wanted to see what they would do with that and that was one of the reasons I don’t fault this movie more for its wrongs. When the penguins sing it is as entertaining as I thought it would be. The song choices had their amusing moments. Then there were some moments that reminded me of STOMP.

The other reason I wanted to see it was because Robin Williams was in it and he did have some parts that had me laughing out loud but he couldn’t pull this movie out of the muck with his quick witted penguin. His parts also saved this movie from getting blasted by me.

The movie is not that long and yet it felt like it dragged. Usually characters are introduced to help move the story along or add a bit of info or add some sort of humor or drama and as I sat there and watch the movie none of that really occurred. It felt as if the story was happening but the characters had no affect on how it was progressing until the end. The “bad” guy in the movie is what I would call the mild guy because there wasn’t a real bad guy and if there was, he wasn’t noticeable - he was just boring. The characters that they do introduce don’t return and therefore almost seem completely pointless in them showing up.

I was disappointed in the movie. I expected more because the previews were clever and had me wanting to see it and now that I have I don’t know why I would ever want to see it again. I’m glad they had a Queen song in it though. Queen rocks.

Happy Feet shows that being different isn’t a bad thing and that it could save lives in the end but it also shows that if one deviates from the way an awesome animation movie is made and tries to do it another way—it is most likely to fail. And that is exactly what happened with the movie…it fails.

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