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A Mythic Penguin Tale
BigMez10 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I saw this last weekend at a special screening and was suitably impressed. Although I'm a big fan of George Miller's films, I was very hesitant to see this one. I'm not a big fan of animated films, much less musicals. The trailers looked awful and indicated nothing about the story. Until the screening came up, I had no intention of seeing this on the big screen. After the opening musical number, the movie quickly won me over. The way it's made is incredibly cinematic, and, at its heart, tells a great mythic story: an outcast leaves his community and journeys to the edge of the world to find a way to end the famine that's plaguing his species. Along this quest, our hero, Mumble, learns to live with his outsider status (he can't sing) and makes use of his own particular gift (tap dancing). It's a simple story that's told in a very creative way with a lot of heart.

The musical numbers, instead of having a disrupting effect and stopping the flow of the story, actually advance the plot because they're integral to the story and this particular type of penguin. Emperor Penguins apparently find their mates by singing. While it all sounds the same to us, they are highly attuned to each others songs. The film cleverly translates that idea to the screen by having these animated penguins sing iconic pop/rock songs.

I thought the animation was top notch and the style perfectly suited for the story. This isn't the goofy cartoonish animation seen in this past year's other animal-oriented films. It's very rich and leaning heavily towards realism. The vast icy landscapes seem to be copied straight from documentary footage. Just jaw-droppingly beautiful.

There's one shot in the film which really epitomizes how well made it is and made me love it that much more. Mumble, his four friends, and the old wise mentor (Lovelace) are heading to the edge of the world as they know it. They're caught in a snow blizzard. The six penguins are shown in almost a dark silhouette as they struggle to move forward. The fading red light of the sun provides faint illumination. As the penguins are pushed back by the blizzard, they lean into the wind and keep going. It's almost like something out of a Kurosawa movie. And that's all it is. Just one shot of the blizzard. But it's beautifully done. Never seen anything like it in an animated film.

By the end of the film, my initial reservations about the film were completely washed away. Disregard the lame trailers and see it for yourself.
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Truly Moving Picture
tollini24 October 2006
I saw this film on October 2nd, 2006 in Indianapolis. I am one of the judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture "…explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland gave that award to this film.

It's not easy being a young penguin when you can't sing and singing well is how you find your one true soul mate. The mating happens when young couples are attracted to each other's own rendition of their heart song. And to make matters even worse, the young penguin, Mumble, is a natural tap dancer, which is not appreciated by his parents or his teachers or the penguin colony. And to top it all off, there is a shortage of fish and no one knows why.

The unhappy young Mumble runs into 5 small Latino penguins from another penguin colony and the adventure takes off. The story line cuts back and forth between the fish shortage environmental mystery and Mumble's attempt to be attractive to Gloria, his love interest. Along the way he runs into penguin eating birds and penguin eating mammals and almost alien-like man made machines.

This is a musical comedy animation and the songs are classic rock and the dance routines are Broadway-theater clever and these songs and dances never stop throughout the film.

Mumble is a loser in the eyes of his peers, and feels a lot of pain. But he is also heroic and brave and optimistic and he never gives up. Those traits do not let him down. Mumble can pass on an important message to young people. It's your attitude that can carry you through successfully in life. It is not always about physical attributes and physical beauty.

Robin Williams voices Ramon, one of the small Latino penguins, and also Lovelace, the film-flam psychic of the Latino penguin colony. Robin Williams' two characters are over the top which is perfect for the normally over the top Robin Williams. This comedic element keeps the film from taking its adult themes too seriously.

FYI – There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.
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This was a great film for all ages
I_amindeed5 December 2006
Finally saw this on Sunday when it previewed in the UK (out on full release Friday). The cinema was packed with kids ranging from babies to teenagers. Our group had kids from 3-15 in it as well as the parents. We all absolutely loved it; what I thought was so good was that the kids in the party all reacted according to their ages. The little ones just thought the penguins were cute and the chase scenes etc were thrilling. But the older ones thought the film had a deeper message and really enjoyed it.

I would normally be fairly bored at a kids' film and have just gone to take the kids - but all the adults were fascinated the whole time. We all agreed that it was easily the best animated movie of the year. I would recommend it for any age of kid. The audience in general obviously loved it judging by the laughter but by the enthralled silence at the dramatic parts.

Most families obviously consist of children of different ages - so it is not easy to find a film that appeals to teenagers as well as 3 year olds. This one did - an had the adults enthralled as well. I am not surprised that it beat Casino Royale at the Box Office in US 2 week ends running.

The green message was great - I think it is really important that children should be aware of not littering etc, respecting the planet, from a young age. Having said that, I'm not sure the kids really got that message but it might have had some effect on the older ones.

Have read some stuff on here saying kids should not be taught liberal values or not be made aware of them. Liberal values like tolerance and fairness etc. The film didn't promote those values more than a lot of kids' movies but even if it had I can't imagine why anyone would be worried about that so I'm not going to give it serious consideration.

The film I went to see was basically a really exciting adventure story with excellent acting - you really felt for Mumble - he wasn't just a stock character. I thought Elijah Wood did an excellent job in that role. Quite a few people on the internet are asking - why use such famous actors for Happy Feet - why not have an unknown voice cast? Obviously having a very big name cast of A listers costs far more and so reduces the profits - at least that might appear to be the case. Here is one reply I found - "some of the famous actors out there are famous (and expensive) for a reason- they're good at what they do. Elijah Wood really is pretty amazing at playing a sympathetic lead; Nicole Kidman has a fantastic singing voice to go along with a sweet stage presence...." The visual effects were really breath-taking, probably the best animation I've ever seen. But the film also had an intriguing story with some depth - it wasn't just a bland cutesy film.

I strongly recommend it for children, especially when you think of all the predictable rubbish that Hollywood often serves up for family films.

Up-date - I am very pleased that it won the Oscar for Best Animated; I thought that it was clearly the best animated film of the year - and also I was pleased to see the Academy award originality and depth as opposed to a pleasant but rather bland, mix-as-before Pixar product.
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Feets don't fail me now!
dfranzen7019 November 2006
Happy Feet, directed by the man who gave us both Babe: Pig in the City and Mad Max, is just the kind of feel-good animated film that works on a few different levels; it'll make you laugh, it'll make you cry, and it'll inevitably, unquestionably, make you tap your toes or bounce your leg, right there in the theater. It's charming and exquisitely detailed, and it succeeds where it really counts: It makes you really feel for the lovable lead penguin, Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood).

Mumble is an unfortunate penguin, you see, because was born with no singing ability, and in his penguin tribe one attracts a mate through the use of song. The poor flightless bird can only look on helplessly as his fellow hatchlings croon their little hearts out. Amazingly, though, Mumble can tap dance, a big no-no in the penguin community. Soon, with no heart song to guide him, Mumble isn't permitted to graduate from school, to the chagrin of his Elvis-like dad (Hugh Jackman) and his songbird-like mom (Nicole Kidman).

Mumble heart belongs to the best singer in his age group, Gloria (Brittany Murphy), but without the gift of song he can't hope to woo her. Worse, with the penguins' food supply running out, some of the other birds begin to blame Mumble's foot-tapping, that somehow he is angering the great god Guin. The sad-sack penguin is then drummed out of the penguin corps, shunned for his lack of song and strength of feet, and he runs into another penguin colony, one that uses pebbles to woo their females instead of song, and makes new friends - a Latino-sounding quartet that's high on life, full of zest and pizazz and charisma, everything that Mumble's old group isn't.

Then Mumble hears from some predator birds of mysterious "aliens" who probe and attach tags to their victims. Mumble thinks these aliens might have something to do with the lack of fishies for everyone to munch on, so he and his new pals head off on a Quest to find these aliens and ask them to stop stealing all the fish.

Some of the scenes are beautifully imagined, including attacks by sea lions (quite harrowing, actually, until its denouement), vultures, and killer whales, not to mention every time Mumble and/or his posse leap off a cliff and slide down the side like avian sleds. Or through ice tunnels. Or through the water itself, shooting like streaming jetliners with mile-long contrails. Gorgeous animation.

At its heart, the movie is about how it's okay to Be Different. It's about how older folks sometimes hold prejudices that are as illogical as they are insulting, and how they'll often pass along those prejudices to their children, sometimes through direct actions and sometimes by dint of their inaction when wrongs are being perpetuated.

Robin Williams takes on four roles in this movie: the Narrator (where he's excellent and not at all hammy), Ramon and Cletus (two of the feisty new penguins), and Lovelace, a self-professed penguin guru to whom penguins go to have their problems solved. On the one hand, Williams is delightful doing what he does best, improvising rapid-fire comic patter to get laughs; on the other hand, he's Robin Williams, and although there are differences between his voice characterizations, they all bear a strong resemblance to one another. As with most animated films, the movie is well-cast; Jackman is particular has an appealing Southern drawl (ironically, he and Kidman are Aussies playing penguins with southern accents).

In the wake of the phenomenal, surprise success of March of the Penguins, Happy Feet makes your heart soar from start to finish. It'll be very difficult not to shed a tear at the mistreatment of Mumble by his peers and his elders, and it'll be near impossible to thoroughly enjoy this dazzling animated offering.
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A Joyful Masterpiece
pgear8316 January 2007
George Miller's Happy Feet is an exuberant, beautifully animated film and, by a wide margin, the best CG film ever made. The photo-realistic characters and Antarctic landscapes provide the backdrop for a story of brilliant originality. The film's plot is somewhat based in reality - but with a surreal twist. The movie is a spectacular jukebox musical in which Emperor penguins serenade each other with songs from some of the royalty of music (Queen, Prince, "The King" Elvis Presley) in order to find a mate. One penguin, Mumble, cannot sing but expresses himself through tap-dancing. For this abnormality, he is ostracized by his fellows, blamed for the misfortune of famine and eventually banished from his home. He then goes on a perilous quest to find answers that are not otherwise forthcoming.

In addition to the music and spectacle, the greatness of Happy Feet is found in its ideas. Miller (producer of Babe) has made another great film for children (though certainly not only for children) because he knows that the great children's stories do not merely pander to and occupy them but attempt to convey something about the nature of the world, something that is not necessarily pleasant. The themes of Happy Feet are as timeless as they are important. Tolerance and respect for those different from you, compassion, respect for the environment and for the dignity of all its inhabitants; these are not political issues but ones of the greatest moral importance and essential to the survival of the human spirit. In a world that sometimes seems to be becoming increasing intolerant, in a world that may be standing on the precipice of environmental disaster if something is not done, I find a great deal of hope in this story. These animated penguins, who show more humanity than most human actors do on celluloid, may just have what it takes to bring out the basic goodness in the people who see them, to "appeal to our better nature," if you will.

On another level, I see Happy Feet as a great parable about the generation gap, with Mumble and his friends as the children of the world. Their differences and uniqueness frighten their elders, who may be falsely pious or else just set in their ways. Yet Mumble does not hold a grudge against them. In the end, Mumble not only makes the world better than it was when it was given to him, but actively draws those same elders into this new world, redeeming them and allowing them to help in its creation. All with the power of song and dance!

Overall, Happy Feet is a joyous spectacle for the eyes and ears. It was so good that I had to see it a second time in the theater, something I had never done before. It even makes tap-dancing seem incredibly cool. This is a film that cannot be ignored and will not be forgotten.
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Happy Film
jdesando15 November 2006
Tap-dancing penguins could never have been pitched if the mega-hit doc Marching Penguins (2005) had not caught the imagination of every breathing human. Only this time around Happy Feet is not a doc but a high-class animation (from the director of the very humane Babe) and much more anthropomorphic than Marching Penguins because these are tap-dancing penguins.

Besides the themes of individualism and environmental destruction, Happy Feet's special effects take animation as close to 3-D as could be possible in a 2-D medium. One scene with frolicking penguins careening down a mountain has the sight and sound of rapid descent so authentic as to make me cringe at each turn for fear of flying off the snow into the sky. The colors are luminous and the long and helicopter-like shots stunning enough to make you feel you're watching IMAX.

Mumble (voice of Elijah Wood) has no singing voice, so he can't sing a "heart-song," the signature croon of a male to attract a female for life. But as Nature frequently compensates, that boy can dance. A hard-to-accept-it dad (Hugh Jackman) laments, "It just ain't penguin." The adventures of this hippity-hop outcast bring him to a band of diminutive Latinos headed by a savvy Ramon (Robin Williams), who helps him to find his inner heart-song in his feet and eventually the source of fish depletion (the "aliens" are a familiar race of buccaneers—us).

Along the way Mumble finds soulful love with Gloria (Brittney Murphy), a young lady strong in song and belief in Mumble. Speaking of song, much of the score, while replete with pop standards from the likes of the Beach Boys and Sinatra, adapts several gospel tunes to accentuate the theme of a savior being rejected by his own kind.

Happy Feet is a happy film that features cutting-edge CG while it teaches young and old about tolerance and talent. This is the season for the tuxedo crowd—shaken and stirred.
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Impressive, Expressive and Delightful for all ages
crowhawk6018 November 2006
Rarely do I enjoy animated films these days: I find the animation (mostly computer generated) to be colorful but banal, and the action angles are selected by the programmer's eye, not the way a natural observer would have seen the shot (like we saw in classic cell animation of years past). "Happy Feet" is different. The combination of rotoscoping (now advanced motion capture), intense attention to detail and organic POV make this film extraordinarily enjoyable to watch. The sound quality was top-notch, and the music loads of fun for anyone with a pulse. The character voices from Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, Hugh Jackman, and others was perfectly matched to their characterizations. Savion Glover's performance as Mumble's ecstatic feet was not only good as a an animated fanciful Emperor Penguin, but also valid as a fine, skilled tap dancer; one of the finest. The continuity was good, impressive editing, and the message clear: celebrate our differences, adapt to change when necessary, and don't be afraid to take on challenges, even when they seems insurmountable. That's a great message for anyone at any age.
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A visual masterpiece.
yegdad13 November 2006
This movie set the bar at a new level for animation. This is a great companion piece to "March of the Penguins". (In fact, you should see "March of the Penguins" before seeing this one.) While the stock animated movie script still seems be 'cute-yet-quirky animals on quest', this one pulls it off better than most.

Arguably, the film makers tried to cram too many songs into the soundtrack. And the story didn't need to be as long as it was but the overall environmental message was good.

In the end, you'll look how the choices of our 'modern' lifestyles affect the rest of the world.

This movie is definitely worth the watch -- and a discussion with your kids afterward.
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Hilarious and Realistically Haunting at the Same Time
Blotkey11 November 2006
This is the kind of movie that conceals deeper depths and vividly exhilarating emotion overall.

First interpretation: "Ok, it's a movie about a penguin that dances and has trouble finding a mate. How profound can this movie be?" Then the movie revealed themes I never thought they would accomplish such as Religious fanaticism and Human's destruction of the environment.

It reminded me of 6th Sense because it was so twisted yet taught a very important moral lesson.

Robin Williams is the highlight of the movie, his 2 characters are both well portrayed and well voiced.

Highly recommended. It made me want to go out and save the penguins.
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A well-translated 'individual vs. society' romp
Flagrant-Baronessa21 December 2006
Animated comedies have become what Mike Tyson was to the boxing scene in the 1980's: a safe bet. This begs an upsurge in quality for the market and the otherwise forgettable family fluff films have begun to interweave deeper, more salient issues in their stories. Political messages about environmental problems was perhaps the last thing I expected to find rotating around in a happy, tappy romp like 'Happy Feet' but the fact is they are there, and they are superbly handled, as is much of the film.

Advertising the film as a propaganda vehicle would have been grossly unwise, which is why the simple template story rings true to most people. All that has been put forward in trailers and synopses is the lonely journey of the Emperor Penguin Mumble (Elijah Wood), who is an outcast owing to his poor singing voice and tapalicious feet. The rest of the tight-knit, conformist community all rely on special heartsongs to appeal to mates, and not being able to carry a tune is a fatal misstep for Mumble. When he finally finds friends in Ramon's (Robin Williams) foreign group of Adelie penguins, it becomes clear that there are more things threatening the penguin society on Antarctica – the most prominent of which being human overfishing.

One third into 'Happy Feet', I found myself drifting ever so slightly into indifference as the sprawling surge of R'n'B on the ice wore off. The emperor penguins all sing tunes you have heard before and it is not until Mumble encounters the eccentric party group of Adelies that Happy Feet receives a well-deserved kickstart and starts tapping into good fun. Thankfully, and admirably, it manages to avoid pratfalls, slapstick, pee- and fart jokes and instead the finely-tuned humour rests on the wealth of meticulous animation, juxtaposition, absurdist situations and snaptastic one-liners from Ramon's crew as they take Mumble in and introduce him to their kooky, fun-loving society and social guru, "Lovelace". This is seen in stark contrast from the emperor penguins' community on the humour side of the tapestry, and the funniest gag in the latter is Kidman returning from the long fishing journey and telling her baby Mumble lovingly that she "has got something for him", and proceeds to vomit into his mouth. Priceless.

Happy Feet is an ambitious animated comedy. It's ambitious in its scope; there are epic aerial shots of the vast icy glacier, even from outer spaces, it treats salient issues like the effects of overfishing, it takes well-deserved jabs at organized religion, in which the elder emperor penguins represent the archaic values and traditions that they mindlessly adhere to. It features a star-studded cast, it sees seamless intercutting of live action footage and stars (I spotted an uncredited Ewan McGregor cameo, look out), and it is dedicated to Steve Irwin. Certainly 'Happy Feet' carries all of its ambitions quite well, some becoming accolades like the effective punch at conformity in which all the penguins literally look identical except for the fuzzy, fluffy Mumble, while others fall flat thanks to its shortcoming cast.

It should only be so hard to provide voicework for an animated character, and Elijah Wood does it effortlessly as the fumbling, bumbling toddler-like misfit Mumble, who even looks like him with bright baby blue eyes. Nicole Kidman stars as Mumble's mother, with a ridiculously over-the-top voice, and she tips over into overacting at a few points. In the beginning we are given the well-condensed introductory story of how she met Mumble's father Memphis (Hugh Jackman) with a heartfelt heartsong, and she gets to reprise her romantic duet singing of Moulin Rouge opposite fellow Aussie. All of the aforementioned actors, as well as Robin Williams and Hugo Weaving, perform well in their respective supporting roles – all except the unforgivably redundant Brittany Murhpy as Mumble's perpetual love-interest (who is a bad singer to boot), a plain annoying and unlikeable character backed by an equally unlikable actress.

Owing to its mindblowing animation (which has been absolutely honed in the past few years) and treatment of salient issues, 'Happy Feet' could not have been made five or even four years ago. The former is translated into unspeakably beautiful sequences of underwater chases and ice slides while the latter manifests itself in apt environmental warnings. Although I was mostly entertained, there were a few too many purposely "aww" moments crammed in and certainly it does not quite dethrone the majestic 'Ice Age' (2002) as the best sub-zero comedy ever made. There, I've now said so little in so many words.

7 out of 10
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Fabulous Movie!!!
rockerbaby-115 December 2006
I really appreciated that this movie was as adorable as it was. If you are looking for a movie that will make you want to laugh and cry, and will definitely have you thinking (about taking dance lessons & about the world as it is now) then this is the movie for you. While the movie has some dark turns, it tackles the environmental issues that the whole world is being confronted with in a way that is neither overbearing, nor too old for children. Not only did this movie make me want a penguin of my own, but it made me want to help our world stop over producing, and start preserving. More importantly, if you want to take kids to see this movie, its perfect. There's a good chance they will be waddling like a penguin for a week!
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First half is much better than the second
ela-heyn20 November 2006
Overall, I enjoyed this movie and don't regret having gone to see it. I feel like the animators, actors doing voices and Savion Glover (hope I spelled that right!) wasted some of their efforts on an inferior-quality script.

I admire the environmental theme, but felt like it was being shoved down our throats .. with no real solutions suggested, either. Some portions of the script were not explained well .. like how on earth Mumbles got back from the zoo to his family. Okay .. and why can't Mumble molt correctly, and why does his face look different from all of the other adult penguins? That's never explained, either.

I laughed and smiled my way through the first half of the movie, and it felt like the second half dragged on endlessly and made little sense. :-< I was expecting to love this movie a lot more than I did.
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Breathtaking and Beautiful
silalus6 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Happy Feet begins by introducing us to an achingly beautiful world and then takes us on an extraordinary hero's journey filled with laughter, tears, and unconditional love. It is a rare modern epic that goes far beyond the scope of most recent movies, family or otherwise, with amazing visuals, wonderful music, and simple but meaningful themes. Be warned: you might actually find yourself responding to this film on an emotional level that could be a little embarrassing. You might leave dancing- or simply breathless.

The film weaves the fantasy of a musical world inhabited by penguins, a poignant and beautiful dream in which each emperor penguin searches for love by singing a unique "heartsong". Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) is hatched into this world as one very special individual. Unlike the others of his kind, Mumble seems to be without any singing ability at all. Instead he is compelled to express what lives in his heart through an incredible gift for tap dancing (granted to the character by the great Savion Glover through motion capture). Ever positive despite rejection from his community, sweet Mumble is caught up in a remarkably deep adventure story that grapples with concepts of identity, love, and tolerance while instilling a basic sense of environmentalism.

The enormity of this story is quite amazing. The brilliant George Miller (creator of diverse and artful films from Mad Max to Babe) succeeds in creating what may be one of the most lovable characters ever, and then drives him to the edge of hell and back. Drawn along in Mumble's wake, we often laugh and sometimes cry with the character as he stumbles into a group of loyal friends (two of which are voiced fantastically by Robin Williams), showers his soul mate with unconditional love, and ultimately seeks out answers to environmental issues that are far bigger than one little penguin. Nothing, though, could be bigger than Mumble's heart. Unless you are made of stone, you will fall in love with this character, and you'll be cheering him along for every minute of his struggles.

As you come to love Mumble, you will be exposed to elegant themes that are so universal they serve as a kind of mirror. You'll see some of yourself or someone you love in his struggle to prove that being different can be wonderful. You'll remember past feelings and childhood fantasies as he shows that love can be worth absolutely everything. And you'll probably feel at least a little guilty to be a human as you remember the profound and sometimes terrible impact we can have on the many wonderful creatures that surround us. Fortunately there is a good chance that you will also come out feeling empowered to make the world a little better.

All in all, the experience is breathtaking.
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Baby uh-huh, it DOES work
onionhead10115 March 2007
I am 44 years old, and I am actually looking forward to this film's upcoming DVD release more than my children. As a victim of childhood taunts due to birth defects, I side with Mumble and his pain as the other young birds mock his differences. When Gloria's heart song Boogie Wonderland is finally answered by Mumble's feet song, the rest of his young Emperor sisters and brothers break into dance with him, embracing him, chanting his name in joyful unison--simply stirring. To anyone who has been ridiculed or spat upon, it is a moment of sheer triumph. I can't remember feeling this good about any other film in recent years. Beautifully animated and acted, this is a joy.
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most bizarre children's movie I've ever seen
joesgirljeri23 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I gave this movie a 2 because it was interesting to look at; one of the most spectacular CGI films I've ever seen. That was worth about 5 minutes of my time. The rest of the film was a complete waste.

This was the most poorly put-together children's feature-film I've seen in a long time. I saw the previews for this a long time ago and was excited to take my young daughter to it because she loves animals and movies. We were sorely disappointed.

A lot of very small children were at this movie because the previews make it look like a cuddly Ice Age-style movie that's funny and heart-warming. BEWARE! There are a lot of adult nuances and inappropriate jokes in this movie. Basically all the penguins think about is scoring another penguin with a groovy "heartsong" and they talk about it A LOT. The killer whales and leopard seals are pretty scary. This is not a kid-friendly movie.

The majority of this movie is nothing more than a "Look what we can do with our new software!" showcase. Penguins dance, sing and swim in formation. Different animals fly, waddle or swim around convincingly. Glaciers break off, cause avalanches and exciting falling/chasing scenes. At first it's awesome to look at but after a while the awe wears off and you start to wonder where the story is.

The characters are nothing short of inane. The "Elvis and Marylin Monroe" parents, the old- fashioned Scottish leader of the big penguins, the Latino party penguins and Lovelace, the televangelist-style leader of the smaller party penguins. So many characters were introduced but none of them had a very well-developed personality or storyline.

After an hour or so of showing off the technology and letting Robin Williamns have as many characters and funny lines as he can reasonably fit into 87 minutes, the story shifts gears and lurches to a conclusion. At this point 6 or 7 children all around us were asking their parents if it was time to go home. This must have happened in test audiences too because the director makes an obvious decision to quit showing off and just hurry up and end the movie. Seriously, the entire adventure, journey to save penguin-kind, reversal of the human problem and miraculous acceptance of Mumble by his friends and co-penguins is crammed into about 20 minutes. Mumble travels from his home, to some big city and back in the space almost instantly; just appearing in one location or another (confusing to say the least). Humans change their minds and stop fishing and the famine is averted..... whew! That was a lot of story to pack into just a few minutes! Finally the action then comes to a shuddering halt and all you're left with is the feeling of "that's it?"

So many stereotypes and morale-of-the-story points were introduced but none of them were very satisfactorily resolved or dealt with. Mumble is never truly accepted by his peers and he waffles back and forth between changing to fit in and just going with whatever he feels like. His mom half-heartedly stands up for him and his dad wavers between guilt and denial. And what's with "dropping the egg"? Mumble was dropped as an egg so now he's a weirdo who can't sing? What was that all about? Different tribes of penguins and different animals misunderstand and dislike each other but.... it's never really resolved. Humans are littering and stealing the fish but the answer is for all of them to tap-dance together?

The thing that disappointed me the most was the complete lack of emotional involvement in any of the characters or story lines. The penguins are close-minded and brainwashed; they dislike Mumble not only because he can't sing but because he's curious and seeks knowledge. Sure the point of the movie is to save all the penguins but you as the viewer don't actually care about them; there is no sympathy for them at all. Mumble saves the world and gets the girl and yet there's no emotional satisfaction; no feeling of fulfillment.

A great movie makes you feel for the characters, gives you something to think about and leaves you with a smile on your face. This movie did none of those things.
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Not as Hapy as I thought it would be.
azuzastreet-118 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Overall, I was disappointed with "Happy Feet", as were my 6 and 9 year -olds.

They thought it was too intense in parts,particularly at the end. I thought it was boring.It was definitely too long for very little ones, as I witnessed in the theater.

On the plus side, the computer animation was TOP NOTCH. There were sequences that were so breathtaking, you would swear you were looking at the real thing! Ditto for the music. It was clearly the best part of the movie.

Dialogue was hard to hear in parts. The plot was thin, and quite implausible toward the end. It sort of does an "Al Gore" at the end also, which for me was a total turn off.I wanted to be entertained, not spoon-fed more environmentalist propaganda. (This was also what bothered my kids.)

And, the biggest disappointment of all, it just wasn't all that funny, or happy!! I thought the title and the trailers, were very misleading.

Overall, it was good looking, and good sounding, but preachy and joyless.
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Let me tell joo something!
crzychx720 November 2006
Happy Feet follows a young penguin, Mumble, who cannot sing like all the other penguins, but can dance up a storm! As Mumble grows into his personality, he helps the others around him realize what is important.

I was only slightly annoyed at Nicole Kidman's voice because it was practically impossible to understand what she was saying half the time. All the other characters were fantastic, and Robin Williams as Ramon was priceless!

My boyfriend & I took his two kids (ages 7 and 10) to see this movie and we had an amazing time. The story was funny, interesting, and heartfelt. It definitely appeals to both children and adults-I can't wait for it to come out on DVD so that I can watch it whenever I want.
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made me feel like a child again
preacher49611 December 2006
i saw the trailers for this film months ago and instantly fell in love with this film, it should not work as movie on the whole "penguins, tap dancing, musical numbers sung by birds, cgi..but surprisingly it does , the opening ten mins doesn't do it justice as to me it is a retread of march but when it does let loose it does so with gusto, i am not a movie critic nor a writer as is evident but i am a father of 3 children who thoroughly enjoyed the film . now the movie employs adult overtones which are not seen by the children as it does go into darker territory with the seal and killer whales "but" it played to both worlds , i see the world as it is and the kids see the fun , robin williams as usual is ott and the cast as a whole are superb and the morals in the tale are told well....go enjoy listen sing and tap your feet as this is a star that shines on its own in the sky, feel like a child again as i did, this is storytelling at its best......... my toes still tingle now.
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Total Junk
zink-627 March 2007
I saw this with my 5 ear old son, and we walked out about 3/4 way into it. I tried so hard to give it a chance, but the lack of any meaningful story, chaotic music, and substance did me in. I am not saying that children's movies need to have a lot of substance, but how about some kind of story that our children can make sense of, instead of meaningless dancing scenes. I don't understand how anyone (with half a brain) can think this movie is good. There are also so many racial stereotypes - the physically small hispanic flock that the main character visits. This flock evidentially doesn't care about education, as they are content in trying to get in each other's pants. This is a product of marketing, hype, and Hollywood junk. It would be wise not to buy this DVD and rot your child's brain.
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timothydbutler17 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
My four children (ages 3-9) have been looking forward to seeing this movie for months! The trailers made us think it was a funny, happy-go-lucky film filled with dancing, music and maybe a lesson on accepting and embracing differences. We were very sorry to find out that in reality it was a platform for "teaching" children that humans are inherently selfish and cruel to animals and any religious undertones are without merit. It made no sense when the penguins communicate to the humans (or "aliens" as we are referred to in the movie) that they are a scared and gentle species, the humans suddenly turn to the UN who fix everything immediately and perfectly. The plot made such unexpected turns and implausible outcomes that my children and I left the theater confused, frustrated, and without happy feet. It was actually scary and depressing. I am angry that the trailers were used as a tool to trick people into coming to a movie that is nothing like it appears in the advertisements. I feel used and misled.
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Great movie for both adults and kids.
ninjagaiden0076 January 2007
Just as some films can take a wrong turn early on and lose an audience, with only a miracle able to prompt a recovery, so some can grab you from the start and never let go. After about three minutes on screen, I was hopelessly in love with Happy Feet and it would have taken a disastrous collapse to change that. Thankfully, that collapse never comes and the film only gets better the longer it goes on. Without even accounting for the fact that it's been a pretty weak year for animated fare, Happy Feet is a balls-out masterpiece, easily and instantly one of the best non-Disney/Pixar American animated films ever made. It's Planet Earth narrated by way of Moulin Rouge instead of David Attenborough.

The theory goes that each penguin has its own individual "heartsong" which it needs to find a mate. Young Mumble (voiced by Daily when he's tickle and oh so cute, then Wood when he gets a bit older) is born with the worst singing voice in the penguin world, which can make for a pretty tough ride when your parents sound like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis. Compensation for this comes in the form of his love of dancing via his nonstop "happy feet". His mother (Kidman) is supportive but his dad (Jackman) is embarrassed by the whole affair ("It just ain't penguin son"). Marked as a disruptive influence by the elders (including Weaving doing a pretty damn good Scottish accent) and even blamed for the dwindling fish stocks, he's ostracised from the community and takes up with a group of Hispanic penguins on a quest to discover why the fish are disappearing.

There's nothing about Happy Feet that doesn't work, with every element just another layer of delicious icing on the cake. At its heart it's one of the most glorious celebrations of individuality, diversification and acceptance ever committed to film. But then it gets wrapped in a blanket of breathtaking visuals and a level of artistry that's almost photo-real in its beauty. The voice work is exemplary (Robin Williams does three different characters and doesn't annoy) and it will either have you laughing or on the verge of tears throughout. Then, just when you think it can't fit anything else in, we get a sharp eco-message. And if that's all a little too preachy and worthy for you, then just revel in the sight of tens of thousands of penguins bursting into pop and soul classics every five minutes. Sublime.
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I wish there were a word worse than "abysmal" that wasn't obscene
obscurifer11 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Happy Feet had a strong message, which was, "Gee, what powerful rendering engines the filmmakers had." At the point the camera panned back to show North America, then the whole Earth, with a somber, percussive soundtrack, I leaned over to a friend and whispered, "The End." I realize that over-analyzing a film for children is a certain path to inanity, but you'd think the filmmakers could have done some analysis of how to avoid some of the sheer awfulness thrust upon an unsuspecting audience.

My 11-year-old son, a longtime fan of Spongebob Squarepants, told me that this film was, "really bad." And he liked Barnyard.

Just so it's clear, I believe strongly in biodiversity, conservation of natural resources, recycling, etc., so the political and moral message of the movie would have resonated with me if it hadn't been for the blatant penguinization of Elijah Wood, the sad, weird stereotype penguin ethnicities, and the jarring introduction of humans into the penguin world. Plus, Robin Williams has sort of declined since Dead Poets Society.

This isn't a movie to see. If a friend offers to show it to you for free with popcorn, feign illness.
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I'm sick and tired
sos26264 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sick and tired of going to see a movie for entertainment and being beaten over the head with some political message. Personally I'm all for conservation and cutting back on how bad we're screwing up the environment, but this was NOT the way to go about doing it. This movie had the feeling of a propaganda film SPECIFICALLY designed to try and brainwash the young population.

"Hey lets make a politically heavy-handed animated film but don't give any clue in the trailer that its going to be any different then any other animal film for kids! That way when there parents take them to what they think is Nemo with penguins, they'll really be paying to have their kids brainwashed! We can even get a bunch of big name actors who think the general public gives a damn about their opinion, and since its a message film we can get them to work cheap!"
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Bad Vocals But Happy Feet
Chrysanthepop13 January 2009
Happy Feet' is a delightfully cheerful little movie about an emperor penguin who has an unappreciated gift of tap dancing and his inability to sing causes others to look down upon him. While the penguins suffer from food shortage, he aims to rescue the fish that serves as their daily meal. The animation is excellent. Very few such CGI animated films have looked so real to me but in 'Happy Feet' it is almost hard to tell. The characters are fun (though a little out of place and unnecessary at times). The voice-casting is great with Robin Williams and the Hispanic adelaides stealing the show. Nicole Kidman lends her beautiful voice as the loving mother while Hugh Jackman's dad character is a little clichéd. Elijah Wood and Brittany Murphy are annoying but you get used to it. The story could have been better developed as there are a few plot holes now and then and the ending is a little too optimistic, too unrealistic and too abrupt. 'Happy Feet' is meant to be a family film but it could have been a stronger movie and at the same time remains enjoyable to the family had the story been given a little more focus. There are a range of songs, most of which are popular numbers. Even though the visualizations were fun to watch, they were at times distracting and deviating from the main plot. Yet, 'Happy Feet' was still an entertaining flick and it had that adventurous feel. There was not one boring moment and the viewers wonder how Mumble will rescue the fish from being stolen (I just wished that the conclusion was done differently).
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Broadway Babies Take Antarctica
pacieterra-129 November 2006
Without giving away the plot of this glorious and beautifully photographed animation, this is one film that should break all records for attendance, by young and old.There is an overall message inherent in the film, which is very topical to today's environmental and political milieu. The famous cast of actors and actresses voicing the "happy feet" penguins are very creative and strong. Robin Williams maintains two separate roles, and he is terrific in both. The magical, dancing penguins, (in the thousands), are a miracle of CGI and choreography. One cannot help but think of Busby Berkeley, Riverdance, or Chorus Line, in the precision and joyful abandon that are rendered by all the penguins, young and old. For anyone not liking this technically brilliant, funny, and beautiful movie, there must be a mental disconnect. If you're expecting a childish cartoon with no depth, or don't understand/like advanced animation technology, then stay home and watch simpler fare on Saturday morning television.
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