HAPPY FEET TWO
*1/2 (out of 5)
November 18, 2011
Elijah Wood as MUMBLE
Pink as GLORIA
Hank Azaria as THE MIGHTY SVEN
Brad Pitt as WILL THE KRILL
Matt Damon as BILL THE KRILL
Robin Williams as RAMON/LOVELACE
Directed by: George Miller
BY KEVIN CARR
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As I often do with sequels, I reflected on the original “Happy Feat” before starting this review. However, I honestly couldn’t remember much about that film… at least about it’s plot. In fact, all I can really recall was it had some oddly placed song and dance numbers, some very cute penguins and fantastic animation. I also remembered that the original trailer of the fuzzy little penguin tap dancing lost almost all of its cute potential when the penguin was replaced by the awkward and ugly adolescent Mumble, voiced by Elijah Wood.
For some strange reason (which many attribute to the fact that it had a pushy environmental message and was up against the relatively low-rated “Cars” as its Pixar competition), “Happy Feet” won the Oscar for best animated feature. Ever since, I have considered it to be one of the most over-hyped, undeserving CGI hits since “Shark Tale.”
And if this new “Happy Feet Two” gets the same level of treatment from the press and movie audiences, it’s going to be really depressing.
“Happy Feet Two” is everything that is wrong with sequels. It tries to extend a story that was barely solid enough to carry a first movie. It tries to go bigger, better and more obnoxious. It tries to out-cute itself. And it ultimately makes you feel empty inside.
Are there cute penguins? Sure. Is there awesome animation? Yes. But these alone don’t make a good movie. The story is so disjointed and sloppy that it’s hard to encapsulate. The most direct summary I can make is that it’s about Mumble’s son, who gets separated from the herd with a couple other penguin chicks. When Mumble goes out to find the kids and returns home, he discovers that a wayward iceberg has crashed into the glacier, trapping the herd. There’s also a nonsensical yet beautifully animated side story about two krill trying to break off from the pack.
Some might praise these movies because they encourage the viewer to be him or herself, but they actually don’t. In fact, “Happy Feet Two” opens up with a scene in which Mumble’s son refuses to dance. We get the obligatory speech about having the confidence to be yourself, yet the movie seems to forget the fact that Mumble is literally pressuring his son into being just like everyone else. This same lack of logic is found in the krills’ backstory as they try to be unique but end up finding comfort in their own conformity.
So, “Happy Feet Two” utterly fails in its message, which leaves us to look at the film for sheer entertainment value. But the script is broken and shoddy, stringing together unrelated scenes with random and often inappropriate music production numbers, making it boring and alarmingly hard to follow.
George Miller has directed some good movies in the past, but his desperate stab at more accolades and money has birthed a truly pointless film. And no, I don’t count the exceedingly high quality of animation as a plus to this movie. Pretty pictures achieved by unnamed technicians behind computers are nothing if a film isn’t given direction, good characters and at least a marginally sane plot.
Instead, “Happy Feet Two” brings back one of the ugliest penguins that has ever graced the silver screen, making desperate grabs at anything that can spark interest in a brain dead audience. One such trick includes crediting the voice behind Gloria (which was recast after the untimely demise of Brittany Murphy) as “Alicia Moore (P!nk).” Seriously, if you need to be reminded who Alicia Moore is, you shouldn’t care about this credit.
This movie uses a page from the Michael Bay handbook… if the plot starts to fall apart, move the camera around and get really REALLY LOUD! The film doesn’t even try to hold itself together. Sure, it has cute baby penguins and some catchy tunes, but it’s lacking in so many other elements to make it even a partially competent production.
In short, “Happy Feet Two” is like the crazy nastyass honey badger. It really doesn’t give a shit. And neither should you.