For anyone who thought the Oscar-winning documentary March of the Penguins
was the most marvelous cinematic moment for these nomads of the south, you haven't seen nothing yet. Happy Feet
is an animated wonder about a penguin named Mumble who can't sing, but can dance up a storm. George Miller, the driving force behind the Babe
(and Mad Max
) movies, takes another creative step in family entertainment with this big, beautiful, music-fueled film that will have kids and their parents dancing in the streets. From his first moment alive, Mumble (voiced Elijah Woods) feels the beat and can't stop dancing. Unfortunately, emperor penguins are all about finding their own heart song, and the dancing youngster--as cute as he is--is a misfit. Luckily, he bumps into little blue penguins and a Spanish-infused group (led by Robin Williams) and begins a series of adventures. Miller has an exceptional variety of entertainment: Busby Berkley musical numbers, amusement-park thrills, exciting chase sequences (seals and orca lovers might like think otherwise), and even an environmental message that doesn't weigh you down. Best of all, you don't know where the movie is going in the last act, a rare occurrence these days in family entertainment. A fusion of rock songs, mashed-up and otherwise, are featured; this movie is as much a musical as a comedy. Mumble's solo dance to a new version of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" by Fantasia, Patti, and Yolanda may be the most joyful moment on camera in 2006. --Doug Thomas
More Happy Feet
In the great nation of Emperor Penguins, deep in Antarctica, you're nobody unless you can sing - which is unfortunate for Mumble (ELIJAH WOOD), who is the worst singer in the world. He is born dancing to his own tune...tap dancing. As fate would have it, his one friend, Gloria (BRITTANY MURPHY), happens to be the best singer around. Mumble and Gloria have a connection from the moment they hatch, but she struggles with his strange "hippity- hoppity" ways. Away from home for the first time, Mumble meets a posse of decidedly un-Emperor-like penguins - the Adelie Amigos. Led by Ramon (ROBIN WILLIAMS), the Adelies instantly embrace Mumble's cool dance moves and invite him to party with them. In Adelie Land, Mumble seeks the counsel of Lovelace the Guru (also voiced by ROBIN WILLIAMS), a crazy-feathered Rockhopper penguin who will answer any of life's questions for the price of a pebble. Together with Lovelace and the Amigos, Mumble sets out across vast landscapes and, after some epic encounters, proves that by being true to yourself, you can make all the difference in the world.