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Overall Rating
3.28

Awesome33.33%
Worth A Look: 16.67%
Just Average: 17.31%
Pretty Crappy: 10.26%
Sucks: 22.44%

9 reviews, 102 user ratings


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Happy Feet
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Happily, It Is Only The Cast Members That Don't Take Flight"
4 stars

Though I don’t recall hearing mention of it during all that sub-Hallmark hooey that Morgan Freeman was spewing throughout “March of the Penguins,” it seems that each penguin has their very own “heart song” that they sing in order to express who they are and to attract a mate. In theory, that may be wonderful but what if you are a penguin that simply cannot sing and whose manner of personal expression appears to be tap-dancing? Will you be doomed to be ostracized forever from your flock, family and the cute penguin you’ve been crushing on or will your unique abilities somehow allow you to save the flock, reconcile with the family and finally hook up with the cutie? These are some of the penetrating question at the heart of “Happy Feet,” a decidedly odd and not-entirely-unendearing animated film that plays like a peculiar mash-up of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Moulin Rouge.”

Our hero is Mumbles (Elijah Wood), an adorable penguin who emerges from his egg and immediately demonstrates a flair for tap-dancing that would put Savion Glover to shame. (Perhaps not, since Glover himself choreographed the moves seen here). While his mother, Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman doing a breathy Marilyn Monroe voice), finds this development kind of charming, it embarrasses father Memphis (Hugh Jackman offering up his best Elvis drawl) to no end (“It just ain’t penguin.”), especially when it becomes evident that his son cannot sing at all. Before long, Mumbles becomes a pariah of the entire penguin community, aside from the sweet Gloria (Brittany Murphy) and when the local fish population that they feed upon mysteriously disappears, the tribal elders (led by Hugo Weaving) decide that Mumbles is an affront to their gods and force him to leave.

After wandering by himself for a while, Mumbles comes across a group of jive-talking Latino penguins, led by Ramon (Robin Williams), who take him back to their own colony where his moves are a hit. However, Mumbles misses home and his friends concoct a plot to make it look to Gloria and the others as though he has finally discovered his voice at last. It doesn’t work and Mumbles decides that if he is going to be blamed for the disappearance of the fish, he will personally set off into the unknown to solve the mystery and bring them back. From a couple of different creatures, Mumbles has heard stories about “aliens” and figures that if he can find them and talk to them, they will help him bring the fish back. He does encounter the “aliens” but discovers that they don’t speak penguin and all they hear from him are unintelligible squawks. If only Mumbles had some non-verbal way of getting their attention, that might help save the day . . . but what could that possibly entail?

“Happy Feet” was directed and co-written by George Miller, the Australian filmmaker who rose to fame on the strength of his electrifying “Mad Max” films and then stunned audiences all over the world by following up those tough action classics by producing the beloved 1995 family classic “Babe” and directing the even-better 1998 sequel “Babe: Pig In the City.” Although “Happy Feet” is nowhere near the caliber of the “Babe” films–few family films are–it does contain a lot of the elements that made those previous efforts so charming and delightful. It tells a sweet story about embracing one’s individuality without ever devolving into sticky sentimentality. It includes a nice and easy-to-grasp progressive message for children about protecting the environment that should do for promoting ecological causes as “Babe” did for promoting vegetarianism. It contains a sly sense of humor at times–even Robin Williams (who also voices a second character, a goofball guru with a six-pack ring around his neck that he believes to be a gift from the gods) is funnier here than he has been in quite a while. And while it is constructed more or less as a fairy tale, Miller (as he did in the “Babe” films) makes sure that the perils that Mumbles faces are real and dangerous–at various times, he is chased by nasty-looking sea lions and killer whales–and those sequences are tense and scary enough to potentially serve as nightmare fuel for especially impressionable children.

And yet, I don’t want to suggest that “Happy Feet” is some kind of grim bummer–“Babe: Pig In the City” was unfairly tagged along those lines and sadly tanked at the box-office as a result–because it is frequently entertaining for young and old viewers alike. Kids will love the penguins–if there is such a thing as a child that doesn’t like a penguin, I have yet to see it–the silly humor and the scenes in which Mumbles and his pals go slip-sliding down icy mountain sides. Parents will enjoy some of the more adult-oriented gags as well as listening to the musical efforts of the big-name stars–Murphy belts out creditable versions Queen’s “Somebody to Love” and the disco classic “Boogie Wonderland,” Jackman goofs his way through “Heartbreak Hotel,” Kidman does an endearing take on Prince’s “Kiss” and Williams contributes a rendition of “My Way” that needs to be heard to be believed. Both will no doubt be delighted with the ending, which is as predictable as can be but in the nicest possible way.

“Happy Feet” isn’t the best animated film of the year and it does have some flaws–the storyline does meander from time to time (what would have been killer as an hour-long special feels a little unfocused when padded out to 100 minutes) and it lacks the final burst of inspiration to put it over the top along the lines of “Monster House” or “Flushed Away.” Nevertheless, it is a better-than-average family film that should entertain all but the most curmudgeonly of viewers and for George Miller, it serves as a reminder that while he may not be the most prolific of filmmakers (“Happy Feet” marks his first film in over eight years), he is clearly one of the most reliable. I’ll put it this way–if you liked “March of the Penguins,” you should like “Happy Feet” a lot as well. If, on the other hand, you flat-out hated that film while still retaining a fondness for well-dressed flightless waterfowl, you are probably going to love this one.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15277&reviewer=389
originally posted: 11/17/06 01:07:31
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User Comments

6/27/11 DR CGI's darkest hour. Boring, bad script, poor song placement. Worst animated film I've seen. 1 stars
10/22/09 stan wonderlost Mr. Mumble gets 3 taps on the egg before birth and is tapped and taps toward the end. super 5 stars
6/19/09 Dan Terrible. Dull. Disjointed. Hard to watch. 1 stars
8/29/08 Shaun Wallner My daughter loves this movie! 5 stars
7/03/08 TreeTiger I could only stomach about 30 mins. of this artificially sweetened CGI-crap..! 1 stars
5/18/08 PAUL SHORTT TECHNICALLY IMPRESSIVE. OTHERWISE - STAY AWAY, BIG TIME! 1 stars
10/24/07 Natalie robinson its great great great great great 5 stars
10/17/07 anonymous I luv this movie! 5 stars! 5 stars
9/13/07 Tracy my kids loved this! They liked the dancing (Savions moves) 5 stars
7/29/07 maddy its great and its got a lot of emotions 5 stars
6/24/07 Clara Such a good film, but a little bit boring at the end ! 3 stars
6/21/07 cool3457 the film has penguin sex in this. 1 stars
6/07/07 aloysius could'nt agree more, movie is a piece of total s*%t! 1 stars
5/10/07 Marissa To all the people who didin't like it F#*# U its the best movie ever 5 stars
5/08/07 Molly Beich Clever and original and gorgeously animated. I loved the pop culture references. 5 stars
4/27/07 Michelle Penguins shaking their butts to attract a partner for sex? Who wants their kid to see that? 1 stars
4/22/07 S.M The beginning was great, but the movie was prolonged and annoying. Like Spielburg's "A-I". 2 stars
4/17/07 David Pollastrini very cute 4 stars
4/07/07 David Cohen Silly ass one joke movie for people who found "March..." too icky 1 stars
3/31/07 John A Habig Along with Over The Hedge and Hoot one of the best kids message films out 5 stars
3/19/07 Shanique This movie was like the best animated movie that I have ever seen in my life. 5 stars
3/13/07 the wizz Should be called CRAPPY FEET! Just about tap dancing and dumb singing. Very disappointed! 1 stars
3/07/07 chienne R U serious? This won an Oscar?? Nic kills everything she's in. HELLO? I HATED i!t 1 stars
2/26/07 N3GRiiTA TH3 B3ST MOVii3!!! ii LOV3D iiT 5 stars
2/05/07 William Goss Glorious animation, light story undermined halfway thru by heavyhanded envrnmntal message. 3 stars
1/30/07 Paul After the first 30 minutes -animation wore off and it became boring! 2 stars
1/19/07 Steve McKay Excellent review. The story was thin, unoriginal, heavy-handed and even offensive to many. 2 stars
1/17/07 Jan Hannah Absolutely loved it. So very clever. 5 stars
1/15/07 Lorna this is cool i saw it with my dad and i loved it 5 stars
1/15/07 Brian What is "weird" about this film? And what sexual content? Chill out you rednecks! 5 stars
1/12/07 John Howard Terrific animation, dodgy soundtrack and shallow storyline 2 stars
1/11/07 AJ very very good see the movie 5 stars
1/10/07 denise EXTREME Fright! loaded w/ sex inuendo! 3 yr old CRIED thru movie! so AWFUL- left after 1hr 1 stars
1/09/07 Daniel L sex. undertones: mild and harmless. Scary scenes: May frighten young children. 3 stars
1/08/07 Alyson I know the plot was jumpy, but it was held together well though may have needed more edits. 5 stars
1/08/07 dobbo felt like lord of the rings ?<and i luv that movie> but with penguins? 3 stars
1/08/07 pam 4 different writers wrote four different movies about penguins needing sex. Throw in some m 1 stars
1/06/07 paula zzzzz 1 stars
1/04/07 Alice I just loved it, breathtaking animation!Loaded with sexual content??You have issues!!! 5 stars
1/03/07 Jen My sons (4&8) did not like it. I agree with this review. 3 stars
1/03/07 Kate Re sexual innuendo - that's how little penguins are made, u no... 4 stars
1/02/07 David Great Animation + No Story = Eye Candy. No logical story was discernable. 1 stars
12/30/06 Jennifer I thought it was not appropriate for my son; he was terrified at times 1 stars
12/30/06 Nick Best Cinema I have seen in a long time! And I see a lot of Cinema! Jaw Dropping. 5 stars
12/30/06 S.Lawrence Ironic: Its about celebrating differences, and people hating it 'cause its different 5 stars
12/30/06 Jean Graphics - amazing, story line - very disapointed 1 stars
12/29/06 zach this film review is boring. and annoying. and too long. but mostly boring. Happy movie! 5 stars
12/29/06 Lamemovie Great graphics but lame, jumpy plot. Cute, then scary n dumb. Song lyrics not fo'kids 1 stars
12/28/06 Kimberly Pretty cute, hard to ffollow @ times, movie hops around & seals are scary for kids 4 stars
12/24/06 Deb Just plain fun with great music and brilliant Robin Williams! It's a must see. 5 stars
12/22/06 Rob Pff...silly phillistines. You'd probably be better off with Clifford the big red dog. 5 stars
12/19/06 Jon Boyce Banal. Bilious. Boring. 1 stars
12/19/06 DAWWWG degrading to penguins 5 stars
12/18/06 Luke How could anyone hate this movie? It'd be like hating ice cream. 5 stars
12/17/06 Jamie Are yall freaking kidding me? I saw maybe ONE sexual innuendo. Please get over yourselves. 5 stars
12/16/06 Alex Weird, Weird, Weird, are hallucinogenics coming back into vogue in H'wood? 2 stars
12/15/06 Monica NOT appropriate for children. Loaded with sexual content & scary at times. 1 stars
12/14/06 alistair just horrible - kids hated it 1 stars
12/13/06 D. Kickham This was a sweet & touching movie. Valid environmental issues. 5 stars
12/13/06 R Porter A complete mismatch of ideas, not worth your money. 1 stars
12/13/06 Allison Awesome!My 8 year old loved it & we talked about environmental issues for an hour afterward 5 stars
12/12/06 ian bishop absolutly awesom u yanks have not got a clue 5 stars
12/12/06 Louise Stupid film - HATED the soundtrack! 2 stars
12/11/06 rob intresting, good but weird 4 stars
12/11/06 birdy figgis Dreadful! Horrible, inappropriate for kids soundtrack 1 stars
12/11/06 Tiffany even better the second time 5 stars
12/10/06 kristi This movie was aimed at the wrong audience, and is not appropriate for kids. 1 stars
12/09/06 sharelunker Liberal, environmentalist wacko, religion-bashing, Hollyweird crap. Please don't go! 1 stars
12/09/06 Craig Confusing, overcute, retarded and irritating. 1 stars
12/09/06 cheyenne it was kool i wanna see it again 5 stars
12/09/06 carol way too weird for me, my daughter 6 loved it, i didnt think the lyrics were appropriate 2 stars
12/08/06 Djegovsky Great, you must see it! 5 stars
12/05/06 Awoman I though the movie was great. It had it's bumps,but what film doesn't. I loved it. 5 stars
12/05/06 meagan my daughter hated it, too dark and more for adults not worth the $ 1 stars
12/04/06 scotty the best animated movie of the year!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/04/06 Paris I'm 13 years old, and I agree with the people who say it has too much innuendo. 4 stars
12/04/06 zzzzz..... Horrible...instead of a cute "fitting in" movie, we got "save the penguins!" 1 stars
12/03/06 mart the begining starts out normal and cute, but by the time it gets to the middle, weird 3 stars
12/03/06 karen gay !!!!! DO NOT SEE !!! 1 stars
12/02/06 Helen Too dark/threatening for little kids. Too much sexual inuendo. 1 stars
12/02/06 Charlene Javier I loved Gloria the most!! 4 stars
11/30/06 Mumble from Happy Feet What is wrong with you people, this is an awesome movie, there wasn't any bad content! 5 stars
11/28/06 Abby It had so much sexual content i hated it. It was funny but you should have rated it R 1 stars
11/28/06 Mel One million penguins--many more cliches and sterotypes to count... 1 stars
11/26/06 bullit16 So bad .. on so many levels. Just awful. 1 stars
11/26/06 Jason Terrible. Heavy handed propaganda. Too many ethnc stereotypes. 1 stars
11/26/06 amani wow 2 stars
11/26/06 Al Gore Loved it. How wonderfully inconvenient!1 5 stars
11/25/06 Dawn This movie was horrid..there were more sexual inuendos in this than the cat in the hat. sic 1 stars
11/25/06 Amanda Amazing, it has something in it for kids and funny jokes in it for the older folks as well 5 stars
11/24/06 Caroline Some parts funny but mostly kids were bored and I left mad because I had paid to see it. 1 stars
11/24/06 Snooze Except for the stunning Computer Generated work, Sat. morn. cartoons might be better. 2 stars
11/22/06 Tiffany Losco My daughter and I loved this film. It was funny, and great. My dad even liked it. 5 stars
11/21/06 kelly omgosh so cute and funney i loved it! AMAZING movie! 5 stars
11/21/06 Theresa I agree 100%. Don't waste money to see this in theaters. Only 30 min of cuteness. 2 stars
11/21/06 jdean62 Should have watted for the DVD...better yet cable! Ok it was ok for kids !! 3 stars
11/21/06 Siren It was wonderful, amazing, I absolutely loved every moment. The DVD is on my wish list!! 5 stars
11/20/06 AnnetteB Orndorf's review is right on. Ran too long also Zzzzz Don't be duped by the "Cute" factor. 3 stars
11/19/06 michael classic flix 4 stars
11/18/06 Quigley Very, very weird, but in a good way. Visually awesome and very original; occasionally funny 4 stars
11/17/06 Raymond Scott It's okay, but a little Robin Williams goes a long, long...long way 3 stars
11/17/06 Spencer Cameron This movie is a very good family movie. I hope all of you on e FilmCritic like it. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  17-Nov-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 27-Mar-2007

UK
  08-Dec-2006 (U)

Australia
  26-Dec-2006 (G)




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