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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
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by David Cornelius

"Cartoon penguins love Grandmaster Flash. Whatever."
2 stars

Well, this is a disappointing surprise: legendary filmmaker George Miller has managed to take the idea of an all-talking, all-singing, all-dancing adventure starring penguins, those most lovable of all flightless birds, and make it boring. And annoying. And too long. But mostly boring.

The premise behind “Happy Feet” (which, as almost all CGI cartoons now do, looks phenomenal, from the soft feathers on the baby penguins to the glow of the aurora australis) is that all penguins have within them their own song, a song that comes from the heart; these songs are catchy pop tunes of the 1970s through today, with the rare 50s and 60s oldies thrown in for good measure. (Penguins, whose hearts are driven by corporate concerns, apparently cannot be concerned with anything older and therefore less marketable.) It’s a case of royalty checks all around, as the penguins of Antarctica sing these tunes at full volume while looking for a mate - two songs will fit perfectly together, in a penguin version of those mash-ups the kids like to talk about so much these days, and the best mash-up means a mate for life. This means we get long takes of penguins running around singing “Boogie Wonderland” or “Tell Me Something Good” or (no kidding) “Let’s Talk About Sex.” One baby penguin breaks out with the opening lines of Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message,” because baby penguins rapping about the horrors of urban blight is adorable.

We also get an Elvis-like papa bird named Memphis (drawled by Hugh Jackman, who is required by movie law to be in everything these days) crooning “Heartbreak Hotel” while mama bird Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman) - yes, that Norma Jean - cranks out an asthmatic take on Prince’s “Kiss.” Later, Brittany Murphy warbles a crass, pop-ified cover of Queen’s “Somebody To Love,” while a chorus of fellow birds do a Brittany/Christina/Jessica-esque pop-and-lock dance routine. It’s all little more than quickie pop culture references and bastardizations of the classics (and not-so-classics) all because somebody thought it’d sell more soundtrack CDs, which it probably will.

The plot kicks in when Memphis and Norma Jean have a kid, Mumble (Elijah Wood), who turns out to be one heck of a dancer but can’t carry a note no matter how hard he tries. Problem is, dancing “just isn’t penguin,” and the poor kid becomes an outcast. And so off he goes to meet Ramon (Robin Williams in the first of two ethnic stereotype-driven performances, this time as a party-loving Latino - the other is a sensuous soul brother, ugh) and his friends, who teach him Hakuna Matata, or whatever the equivalent is that helps the studio avoid a lawsuit from Disney. He returns to the flock a happier bird, only to get booted out once again, this time because the elders believe he’s the reason for the fish shortage that’s starving the continent. And so Mumble goes on a second mission, this time to find the “aliens” (as a Brooklyn-accented bird who was captured and tagged by them once calls them) who are taking all of the fish.

And so “Happy Feet” goes from cutesy tale of a tap-dancing penguin to a dark allegory on both religious extremism and environmental destruction. With this, director Miller and his staff of co-writers bite off far more than they can chew. The religious metaphors - Mumble is exiled for being different by a group of close-minded elders who fear change and blame all troubles on a god-like force being angered - is far too heavy-handed and clumsy to ever properly connect. More importantly, the filmmakers are unwilling to keep up with this idea, allowing it to disappear from the story whenever it’s inconvenient to the plot, forcing it back into the movie whenever the story needs a good kick forward. The point is appreciated but gets lost in a jumble of overcrowded storytelling.

Then comes the environmental rant, which is also quite welcome yet too awkwardly handled, with Miller eventually giving up on subtlety and opting instead to just start cramming it all down our throats. Human activity is slowly destroying other species - this is a problem worth mentioning. Yet the film’s attitudes get misplaced; by attempting to show how us people only respond to cute animals doing tricks, it resorts to wowing us with cute animals doing tricks. This is not the story of the butt-ugly elephant seal going hungry, or of the homely albatross dying out, but of the cuddly penguin. The film’s final act brings in humans (seen as live action, not animated, beings, a choice that winds up having a mildly creepy effect), and in slightly mocking the notion that we only want to rescue the cuter species, the movie forgets that we’ve spent two hours watching the cuter species. And then it yells at us.

What “Happy Feet” becomes, then, is a clutter. It wants to be a politically charged message movie, a toe-tapping musical, a goofy-accents comedy, a somber drama, and a pop culture reference-laden modern cartoon. None of it fits together and everything jumps from light tone to dark and back again with a complete lack of rhythm (pardon the pun), causing the whole thing to drag. With nothing of interest to keep our attention, our minds slowly drift to ponder why we’re bothering sticking with a movie that requires us to listen to multiple unbearable Robin Williams performances (he even manages to utterly destroy the Beatles’ classic “The End”) as well as multiple horrid renditions of our favorite pop tunes. Penguins may be cute, but “Happy Feet” is just a snooze.

Note: Not once in the tap dance-inspired movie “Happy Feet” does any penguin sing the tap dance-inspired song “Happy Feet.” Huh.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15277&reviewer=392
originally posted: 11/30/06 14:14:59
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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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