Happy Feet

  • Title:  Happy Feet
  • Director:  George Miller
  • Date:  2006
  • Studio:  Warner Brothers Animation
  • Genre:  Musical, Animation, Children’s
  • Cast:  Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, Anthony LaPaglia, Steve Irwin
  • Format:  Color, Widescreen
  • DVD Format:  R1, NTSC

“What fabulous worlds lay out there far beyond the ice?  Was there anyplace one small penguin without a Heartsong could ever truly belong?” — Lovelace / Narrator

I truly enjoyed this movie when I first saw it in 2006, but only recently found it on DVD on sale, albeit the 1-disc edition.  The movie is still excellent and the animation is astounding!  In Happy Feet penguins court their one true love by singing their unique Heart Song.  However, baby Mumble can’t sing.  He can dance, though.  Mumble (Elijah Wood) is a fantastic tap dancer (especially for a penguin).  However, the other penguins think this is weird, and ultimately the Elder Penguin (Hugo Weaving) kicks poor Mumble out, blaming him for the famine that’s troubling Emperor (penguin) Land.  Mumble having heard about strange aliens tries to find out why they are taking the fish and has a series of adventures, meeting a group of Latino penguins, led by Ramon (Robin Williams), the guru Rockhopper penguin, Lovelace (also Robin Williams), and ultimately ending up in a zoo.  His dancing attracts attention, and Mumble returns to Emperor Land.

There he again courts his childhood sweetheart, Gloria, and wins her, with his dancing.  I loved the sequences between Gloria and Mumble, I really did.  The Elder Penguin again gets upset, but the aliens (man) shows up and issues edicts to ban fishing in Antarctic waters.  The penguins are saved.

The music in this film is Motown — and extremely well integrated into the plot, as is Mumble’s dancing. Mumble needs to be true to himself, and ultimately he is.  The animation is incredible — the ice looks like ice, the water looks like water, and even the snow isn’t as fake looking as filmed snow normally is.  At one point wind blows and we see Mumble fur move.  And of course, the dancing penguins, all in time, works perfectly. Mumble is adorable, and his story works well and is very enjoyable.  Again I really enjoyed this film.

The special features on the single disc version are a little disappointing — music videos, an old Merrie Melodies cartoon, one trailer, and probably the most useful special feature – a lesson in tap dancing by the film’s choreographer — though that is geared for children.  Still the film is worth having.

Recommendation:  See it!
Rating:  4
Next Film:  Either Mary Poppins or Gone with the Wind (another film I just recently picked up on sale)

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