“Happy Feet Two” Taps Along Slowly

Penguins can’t fly, but they can dance. Except for Erik (Ava Acres), he’s a fluffy little fellow that is having a bit of trouble getting his groove on. So his Dad, Mumble, voiced by Elijah Wood and Mom Gloria, voiced by Pink, try to help him along.  But, he drags his tail out of Emperor Land and wanders off with his friends to hang out in a place where dancing is not important.  But these new penguins have become enamored with a new breed of penguin Sven (Hank Azaria), who can fly.  Sven seems prophet like, as he also explains the green appearing through the ice. To Erik dancing seems a bit passé when it comes to the thought of flying. So Eric quickly falls under the spell of the new penguin, until dad shows up to put on the buzz kill and drag his behind home. The trip back to Emperor Land should be a straight shot but the glacier is experiencing some shifting.

Director George Miller doesn’t over do the peril the characters face on their journey, knowing that the audience for this film is most likely grandparents and their very young grandchildren.  When Emperor Land and all the Penguins are threatened, a spirit of team work emerges.  Heroes and posers are exposed for just who they are, a good lesson for kids and parents.  That grandparent factor may be why the musical numbers seem to lack pizzazz.  The music could have been a bit louder, as there were plenty of tots competing against the movie for attention.  The show barely drowned them out.  One more musical number showcasing Pink would have been a treat.

Robin Williams voices two characters in the film, both ethnic characters. That whole bit seems tired, and out of place. Matt Damon and Brad Pitt voice two krill who break free from the crowd, in an attempt to move up the food chain. This is the opportunity for a secondary storyline to entertain the parents with wit and the kids with physical comedy.  This one falls flat, with Damon and Pitt.  It is a missed opportunity for the next generation of comedians to create a couple of memorable characters. Perhaps that would have competed too much with Williams’ over the top performances.

Overall this film is sends a message about climate change, the environment, and respect for your parents that is way over the heads of the kids that will most likely see it.  The animation is stunning, and there are a few live action shots mixed with animation that are seamless. These scenes make you realize that throughout the film you have taken the extraordinary animation for granted, and it is what we come to expect in an animated film.

Run Time: 100 minutes.  Rated: PG.

Grade: B-

5 thoughts on ““Happy Feet Two” Taps Along Slowly

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  2. Oh dear, did you go to a matinee Rita…?

    It is a real issue for me to try to concentrate on a movie when there’s extraneous noise in the cinema. Even for a movie such as Happy Feet Two I wouldn’t be able to enjoy it as much as if it were quiet.

    In any case it seems that you didn’t think that HP2 made the grade of the 1st HP which I thought was very clever and a great light romp through animation. That’s a shame but a B- rating gives me some hope of it being entertaining enough for those that would be interested in this type of movie.

    Thank you Rita.


  3. I was at a 10 a.m. show, with a toddler kicking my chair, even when he wasn’t keeping time to the music. I don’t mind kids at a movie that is meant to be for kids, I just hope that the sound is loud enough to overcome their exuberance. Overall, I think this version lacks the freshness of the first film, but I don’t think it will disappoint those who looking for a good family film.

  4. Oh Rita, Rita, Rita – I’m going to have to disagree with you.

    I think Happy Feet 2 was by far the best animated film this year, so far. I will even venture to say it’s on par, if not better than the first in the franchise.

    I loved the subtle environmental message about melting ice caps, the possibility of polar bears going extinct and oil spills. I also loved how they didn’t portray people as monsters, the few they did use in the seamless transitions between animation and live action were compassionate and tried helping the penguins. I think it was a great “we can coexist” message. Furthermore, I think Will (Brad Pitt) and Bill (Matt Damon) the Krill were a social commentary on gay rights and I believe they’re some of animation’s first gay characters (a huge step for animated film).

    I think the score and song selections were amazing – I loved every single one of them, especially “Bridge of Light” (sung by Pink as “Gloria”) and “Erik’s Opera.”

    I feel Robin Williams gave voice-over performances that were as memorable as his work on Disney’s Aladdin – he has such character to his voice. Elijah Wood as Mumble again didn’t disappoint and Pink was a nice addition to the cast with her raspy, whispered voice. Bravo!

    I’ll see this movie in theaters again – I loved it that much, I loved the subtle social-cultural messages and brilliant animation and strong story – oh and I love penguins!

    My grade: A

    • I’m glad you liked the film. I agree that the music was good, I wish there had been lots more of it! Especially more Pink! Clearly you did not have a toddler kicking the back of your chair while you were viewing this film. I’m also assuming that the environmental messages, peaceful co-existence and positive gay role model messages are lost on parents who don’t seem to understand the basic environmental premise that if there’s a person in your row watching the ending credits it is very rude for a parent and her four children to crawl over that person if they all could have exited out the other side by not crawling over anyone.

      Sticky kids. Sticky floors. Two of my movie going pet peeves.

      I wonder if people throw less garbage on the floor during a movie with an environmental message? Could be a research study. Maybe there’s a grant . . .

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