image
Tue, Nov 21, 2017 06:02 AM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Critic's Corner


ARH
click to see advertisement
01/03/2007 - by DNA Smith

"Happy Feet"

Running time: 100 minutes

MPAA rating: PG

Elijah Wood (or rather his voice) stars as Mumble, the toe-tapping hero of the animated musical/comedy "Happy Feet," one of this year's best family films.

Director George Miller ("Babe," "Mad Max" trilogy) and the animation crew at Warner Brothers have created a gorgeous-looking film. The icy environs of Antarctica have a beautiful shimmer, and the penguins and other animals depicted look almost real enough to touch. It was almost like watching an all-singing/all-dancing remix of "March of the Penguins."

The plot of "Happy Feet" tackles two major themes: Being true to oneself, and caring for the environment. Born to an Elvis-like papa (Hugh Jackman as "Memphis") and a Marilyn Monroe-ish diva mother (Nicole Kidman as "Norma Jean"), Mumble is an outcast amongst the Emperor Penguins because he cannot sing. For the Emperor Penguins, the only way to find your soulmate is to sing your "heartsong" until it moves a penguin of the opposite sex to fall in love with you. Mumble cannot sing. He shrieks. However, he does have Happy Feet. He can dance with all the style of Savion Glover or Gregory Hines.

Feeling like an outcast with no chance of winning his true love, Gloria (Brittany Murphy), Mumble runs away and meets up with a group of Latino Adelie penguins led by the flamboyant Ramon (Robin Williams).

Together, they embark on an adventure into strange territory in order to make contact with The Aliens, who are responsible for the disappearance of almost all the fish around Antarctica. Of course, we all know who The Aliens are, which is where the environmentalist angle sets in.

"Happy Feet" runs at a breakneck pace. The musical numbers are a hoot, the comedy is spot-on and the animation is spectacular. Of course, in the end, love conquers all, and there's a Happy Ending; but I'm not sure I agree with the way the environmental awareness plotline was resolved. It's a minor quibble, so I won't really get into it. Besides, it would ruin the ending.

So, check out "Happy Feet." I guarantee you'll leave the theater with a bounce in your step.

Grade: A

(c) 2006 King Features Synd., Inc.

ARH 2
Site Search