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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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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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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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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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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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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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A beautifully charming, yet also surprisingly smart animated entertainment.
vip_ebriega8 February 2008
My Take: Stunning animation and terrific musical numbers worthy of Gene Wilder make for a great time at the movies.

After MARCH OF THE PENGUINS, a movie/documentary about real-life penguins and their Antarctic perilous journeys, which was released just previously, audiences might have already seen enough penguins, even just for this year. But another penguin fairytale is just at hand, with its trailer already out at the time. HAPPY FEET, by the looks of the trailer, may just be a corny animated movie which relies heavily on the cutesy than a proper story and more elaborate creativity. I missed HAPPY FEET on the big-screen, but I was sound surrounded by the fact that it was a hit. Of course, the appeal of famous actors like Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy and a soundtrack of famous pop songs (old and new) performed by the best of computer-animated penguins. If you think as much I did back then, well wrong are we.

I didn't think I was going to hate HAPPY FEET back then, but I didn't expect much from it. But, when I finally saw, the surprise was sudden. Armed with the usually reused charms of talking animals, HAPPY FEET takes some of the things much further, turning it into an actually clever musical adventure, where there are a lot of singing, dancing, but doesn't lack the importance of good characters and a somewhat charming storyline. Sure, the story gets quite corny and silly, sure too much of the singing and dancing will get some of the viewers bogged down. But the penguins never get boring. In fact, viewers might find themselves forgetting that the characters are penguins, due to their much diverse personalities that almost makes them human. Pity on the humans of course, since most of them are reduced to blue-eyed, motion capture drones, but no matter, HAPPY FEET has a place for them just as well.

The success of its genius come from the fact that, on the helm, is director George Miller who, as you might remember produced the highly-acclaimed talking animal movie BABE then directed the sequel called BABE: PIG IN THE CITY, which were the smartest in this somewhat popular sub-genre. Miller, unlike some others who might get the job, gives his "kid's movie" characters with much maturity, giving them more appeal to the old as much to the young. Although the preachy message might have been more improved, there couldn't be much more of a thing to be done with it, so let's leave well enough alone. The voice actors all do well, blending in with their characters and do quite well with a specially hilarious and yet cohesive script.

Does HAPPY FEET change to world, as it might have been described in the movie? Definitely not. But it doesn't have to. It does what it was intended to do, and transforms it into a more remarkable result. For its success (and its penguins), I'm grading this "happy feat" a *****.

Rating: ***** out of 5.
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Makes you wonder why more films don't have tap-dancing penguins in them - 82%
Benjamin_Cox3 March 2008
Going over the last few movies I've seen, I noticed a worrying pattern. "PS - I Love You", "Monster's Ball" and "The Horse Whisperer" are very female-friendly, dramatic movies with little room for light humour. So I was looking forward to this as nothing says 'light humour' more than tap-dancing penguins and once you get used to the rather unconventional set-up, "Happy Feet" reveals itself to have a traditional fairy-tale at its heart and a stark ecological message wrapped around it. Oh and lots of funky musical numbers.

Elijah Wood voices Mumble, a fluffy Emperor penguin who is unable to sing like all the other penguins in his community. His parents Memphis (Hugh Jackman) and Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman) try their best to encourage Mumble to sing but his real talent lays in tap-dancing which upsets the elders who then force Mumble into an icy exile. Stumbling across a group of Adelie penguins with Hispanic accents, Mumble finds his gift for dance is treasured instead of feared and his quest for acceptance is complete. But Mumble isn't content with that - determined to win the heart of Gloria (Brittany Murphy) and the acceptance of his own kind, Mumble and his new amigos are joined by Rockhopper penguin Lovelace (Robin Williams) in a quest to discover the reason for the shortage of fish which threatens the extinction of all life in the Antarctic.

Like I said, it's an unusual world we're introduced into but once you're used to the sight of singing penguins and Broadway-style dance numbers, "Happy Feet" has plenty to offer for viewers of all ages. Kids will love the fast-paced action scenes, the comic touches between the Adelie Amigos (primarily supplied by Robin Williams as Ramon) and the sheer energy and enthusiasm of Mumble as he taps, moonwalks and boogies his way through the film. Whether the message that being different is OK will go down is up to them - it's pretty much rammed down your throat from the off so only the stupid can miss it. Adults will appreciate the ecological moral of the story as well as the truly fantastic levels of animation. At times, it's impossible to tell what is live-action and what isn't - until the montage of bickering humans appeared, I thought it was all animated. It's so good that you forget its a cartoon and although I'm reluctant to admit it, it looks better than anything Pixar has so far produced including their latest effort "WALL-E".

It might be "The Ugly Ducking" on ice but "Happy Feet" is as good a family film as I've seen in recent months. The music is superb and performed with reasonable competence though Murphy's voice cannot match that of Freddy Mercury during her version of "Somebody To Love". But unless you're in a straight-jacket, you'll find it impossible to stop yourself tapping your feet or even singing along with our feathered friends on screen. It's cute, it's smart and it looks absolutely fabulous. The only real issues I have are with character recognition - nearly all the penguins look the same with the exception of Mumble, Lovelace and the Amigos. The other problem is with Williams - voicing two characters in the same film was always going to lead to them sounding similar and throw in his trademark machine-gun delivery and it's very difficult to understand what he's actually saying - Ramon is practically incomprehensible though Lovelace is much clearer. But "Happy Feet" is still a quality family film, filled with enough adventure, excitement and reflection to satisfy younger viewers and their parents.
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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 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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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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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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This Was Not A Good Movie!
leighabc12321 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Yes. There was a lot of singing and great 3D animation. But the entire plot of this movie was horrible! A father penguin drops his egg son. The son cannot sing like the other penguins. But he can dance. The son penguin loves another female penguin who can sing well. They end up together. But before this happens, he gets advice and helps out a know it all bird named Lovelace. There is so much going on in this movie and too many serious messages for a child's movie. But if you get the DVD, you can see the entire 1936 cartoon, I Love To Singa. There are actually clips of this shown during the movie "Looney Tunes. Back In Action." Now I give that cartoon 10 stars!
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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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Happy Feet = Brainwashing Propaganda
jaredmobarak26 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
There will be spoilers, however, I highly recommend you not waste your money on this atrocity anyway, so please read on.

Let me preface this rant with the fact that I am neither religious nor political. I could care less that liberal Hollywood treats their movies as agenda pushing media because I like a good story. The Constant Gardener really played with your sensibilities about what is happening in African countries and whatnot and how America is the cause, etc. However, the film was about love and the union between two people, and how one tries to honor the other after death. The political undertones were second fiddle to the touching story and beautiful construction, making it my favorite film of last year. Unfortunately not all films can use a strong story to thinly veil an underlying theme or moral, sometimes they must wear their politics on their sleeves. Once again I have no qualms with this as I'll see the trailer and decide not to bother. It is a despicable thing that has been done with the new animated children's film Happy Feet. Not only do they advertise it as an ugly-duckling type tale of redemption, but also completely target it to children. I equate this travesty of cinema to Camel Joe pitching smokes to kids; it is truly appalling.

Through the first 45 minutes or so I was with this movie. I enjoyed the against all odds yarn, the animation was nice, the music fun and entertaining (not to mention the Moulin Rouge- like use of it to advance the story), and the reigned in absurdity of Robin Williams was hilarious. Sadly, the film took a huge dive to garbage very quickly after. All of a sudden the emperor penguins become an evil cultish Catholic Church banishing their young "heretic" whose blasphemy has caused a shortage of sustenance. His evil ways have made their God take away their fish and livelihood and he must be excommunicated. I should have seen signs of this when, after deftly allowing us to tell our protagonist apart from the rest by his blue eyes, they grew the penguins up and made his fur stick out completely from the crowd; Mumbles the penguin was a disgrace, and an outsider who decides to use science and fact to prove his superiority over the simple creationists he was raised with. Now I hate the Catholic Church just as much as the next disgruntled Catholic, but come on here. Do little children need to be force-fed an anti-parable about the evils of the Right?

The liberals behind this film don't stop at the allegory between penguins and humanity, however, no, they take it even further. Once Mumbles goes on his mission to prove humans are taking the fish and not God, he is eventually captured. Upon awakening, he finds, to his dismay, that he is in a zoo, surrounded by brainwashed penguins—slaves to fish feeding time —and multitudes of human watchers that ignore his cries for help for his species back home. My gag-reflex was tested when the filmmakers cut sharply from Mumbles' face to the cityscape where the zoo resides, to Earth, and then to space. Oh for shame, what are we doing to these penguins? Only when a little girl sees his tap-dancing do the humans "awaken" to the atrocities they are committing with nature and free him to go search for more penguins. Now we have a melding of real live actors with the animation, people traveling to Antarctica to see these wondrous tap-dancing creatures. After a crisis of faith is averted, the humans are tickled by the showmanship of these animals and start dancing themselves. What's worse are the cut scenes shown next of people in board rooms discussing how humanity is destroying this creature's ecosystem and what can we do to stop it? This is a children's film and the creators should be ashamed of themselves.

When did America resort to brainwashing its youth and turning a prophet? Maybe it would be accurate to say a long time ago. I understand if you were to bill this as Green Peace sponsored, liberal approved rhetoric and allowed the parents the choice on whether to subject their children to it. Instead we are given the posters and trailers of a cute little penguin tap-dancing while trying to find his heart song. Now all the kids want to go and experience the fun. Well congratulations to the filmmakers, it seems to have worked making Happy Feet the number one movie in America for two weeks. Next time they start picketing a meat factory for herding cattle to their deaths they can take a look in the mirror and see a person who herded young minds into an ambush of political cajoling. Why let our youth grow old and become educated to the issues when we can get them now in elementary school? Have them come home crying, "are we really killing the penguins Mommy?" (Yes there were many crying kids in my IMAX screening) and learn that they better vote Democrat when they reach voting age because if not then the furry creatures we pay to see at zoos will lose their homes. Happy Feet is a disgrace to cinema and a guerilla tactic by liberal supporters. What kind of world do we live in when our children aren't even safe to watch a cartoon about dancing penguins?
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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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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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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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One-Line Review: Happy Feet (7 Stars)
nairtejas1 September 2018
Other than the flippity-flappity of the lead lovable character it is the subtle references to the ignorant human intervention in nature's food cycle that elevates George Miller's Happy Feet into a superior film, way above the other similar films in its genre, ultimately making you tear up regardless of your eating/entertainment choices. TN.
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March of the Penguins, err... PIXELS
LawrenceOfAlabama20 November 2006
Happy Feet, the newest in the CGI rendered films, features the voice talents of Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, and Robin Williams. (Seems Williams is in every other animated fare thats released) Billed talent aside, it's the music that makes Happy Feet a visually stunning/tap your feet spectacle.

Since Penguins communicate through their voices (what's referred to in the film as a "Heart-Song" the music in Happy Feet is top notch. Covering tracks from Hip-Hop, to classic rock, to Opera. It's not just the catchy tunes that make Happy Feet dance, it's the way they integrate the heart pounding choreography with mash-up style song numbers.

The films several plots are your same song & dance, however one side plot tends to get a little preachy. (Al Gore would give this film a seal of approval). The one feature that sets Happy Feet apart from other CGI Counterparts (Barnyard/Chicken Little/Over the Hedge) is its mix of Live Action and CGI. It's almost difficult to tell whats real and what isn't.

So if your in the mood to chill out at the local cineplex: Happy Feet offers a cool time for all. So MARCH (like the Emperor Penguins) to the theatre and tap those Happy Feet on the back of the chair of the people sitting in front of you. (Trust me it's fun)

run time:98 minutes rated: PG 13 (for some animated peril, and penguin fornication) www.xblradio.com
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Great first half is spoiled by a contrived second
dbborroughs25 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
What an odd movie.Actually this is two movies, one great and the other just okay.

The first half of this film is the story of Mumbles a penguin who can't sing but can dance. This is the source of most of the promos and its what the studio is pushing as what the film is about.Can the penguin find his heart song if he can't sing? Well thats the first half of the movie. The second half of the movie is an odd left turn thats foreshadowed, but doesn't really belong, and thats Mumbles attempts to find the "aliens" and make them stop taking the fish. Its a weird detour that puts mumbles in a zoo.

I really liked the first half of the film. Its an infectious story about finding your place in the world. Sure its been done to death but the characters and the music push this film from run of the mill into something special. Its a great one hour movie.

The second half of this film is another story. Its not the second half of the film its a second film tacked on to make up the running time.The problem is that once Mumbles ends up in the zoo everything is contrived. What happens is done just to get to the ending. It doesn't work. I went from loving the movie to liking it. Yes I know I'm being vague but to really explain why it doesn't work would require explaining the ending and thats not fair. Lets just say that they should have stopped at an hour.

Story aside this is probably the best animated computer film (technically) I've seen all year. Its amazing. Its simply beautiful to look at and its clear that the animators took great pains to make a visually arresting film. The performances are top notch, with Robin Williams pure joy in two roles. And of course the music is wonderful, with some really nice rearrangements that are so clever it takes you a few minutes to realize what the song is.

I highly recommend the first half of this movie. Its magical. The second part has moments, but mostly its contrived nonsense you'll want to push out of your head (though not the ten thousand penguins dancing to Stevie Wonder).

Worth a trip to the multiplex if you can ignore the second half.

First half is 9 out of 10. The second is 5 out of 10. Split the difference of 7 for IMDb purposes
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Boy can that penguin tap!
TheLittleSongbird17 December 2009
Ever since I was a little girl I had an obsession with penguins. I couldn't help it, I thought they were so fascinating and cute. And you know what, I still do. Happy Feet was a film I really wanted to see, and after finally seeing it, I really liked it. It is a shame though that the plot is as thin as a block of ice and the ending is too abrupt and preachy. Other than that, contrary to some of the negative comments, it is a good film. The animation is dazzling; the backgrounds are colourful and the character movements are excellent. The music by John Powell was memorable and fun. Sometimes it brought a sense of fun, sometimes it even enhanced the drama. The characters are endearing. Mumble when he was a child was adorable, and Gloria is a beautiful penguin with a lovely voice. The dancing is a wonder, boy can Mumble tap. I didn't care that Mumble was different from the others, he had a talent of his own and made good use of it. The voice acting is impressive. I don't care for Elijah Wood but he does a good job as Mumble, and Robin Williams is especially funny as Ramon and Lovelace. Brittany Murphy is sweet as Gloria, but I was shocked that Nicole Kidman voiced Norma Jean. All in all, good film, nice premise, lovely animation and music. Shame it crashes down in the final twenty minutes. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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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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By far the worst animated movie i've seen..
SajeevaS18 January 2007
There was hype alright - and way too much of it. I really didn't get the reason as to why this was made in the first place. It was a pure spectacle of bad dialogue and story telling, and the worthless use of A-grade actors. Nicole Kidman sounded like a Paris Hilton wannabe, and the rest of them babble out words to save themselves from boring the audience. The first 40 mins of the film just made me give up, cause there was no longer any reason to watch it. The only incentive to watch this movie is just admiring the cute and cuddly penguins...Besides that, I seriously Don't GET why this movie topped the box office for 3 Damn Weeks!!!
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A realistic and stunning film with a valuable environmental message
Stompgal_8713 September 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I first saw this film with a staff member from my former care home when it came out in 2006 and we both enjoyed it. I watched this again today when I rented it after having already rented 'Happy Feet Two,' which is just as good with some parts better than others.

The penguins, birds, leopard seal, elephant seals, killer whales and backgrounds were realistically modelled and rendered with true-to-life colours. Although the dark scene during 'Somebody To Love' was the least detailed part of the film, it was saved by the beautiful green lighting that resembled the Northern Lights, the lovely singing and the amazing choreography, particularly from Mumble. While he is unable to sing, he can still tap dance very well. He and Gloria were cute as children while Ramón and his Amigos were amusing. Besides 'Somebody To Love,' my favourite musical numbers by the penguins were 'Kiss/Let's Talk About Sex (which was changed to something else to make it more family friendly),' 'Boogie Wonderland,' 'If You Leave Me Now' and 'I Wish.' Further to Ramon and his amigos, it was funny when one of them called the leopard seal, "rubber butt" and also when they tried to run away from him in a way that played with the slow motion cliché. Another cliché that was played with was 'liar revealed' when Mumble was mouthing to Ramon's Spanish version of 'My Way' in order to impress Gloria. This film has some stunning and thrilling scenes such as Mumble jumping out of the water and saying, "Watcha waiting for?" (which made me think he initially sang Gwen Stefani's 'What You Waiting For) thus leading to him and the other penguins swimming underwater to the Beach Boy's wonderfully harmonious and underrated 'Do It Again;' the sliding scene with Mumble and the Amigos albeit causing an apparent avalanche; Mumble and the Amigos being flipped and nearly eaten by two killer whales; and the inclusion of live action elements, especially zoo visitors watching Mumble dancing. I loved Mumble's interpretation of them as aliens and his own language as 'plain penguin' as opposed to 'plain English' due to the visitors interpreting his plea to stop overfishing as squawks. The environmental message of not overfishing and polluting the Antarctic are valuable but Lovelace being choked by the six-pack ring may be distressing for very young children and certain parts of the film may be too daunting for them. They may also find the scene of Mumble being washed up on the beach and put in captivity confusing and I can actually remember a child asking his/her parents if Mumble was dead at the cinema. As an adult, I found the elephant seals confusing because I couldn't tell which was which and I saw that they had similar-sounding names in the end credits. I also found the ending rather abrupt and baby Erik, who has a larger role in the sequel, was hard to spot.

In spite of the abrupt ending and certain parts being distressing, confusing and daunting for very young children, this film deserves an 8/10 for realistic visuals, beautiful musical numbers, impeccable choreography and a valuable environmental message.
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