Happy Feet Two (2011)

Directed by George Miller
Written by George Miller, Gary Eck, Warren Coleman & Paul Livingston

A few years ago the film Happy Feet came out and really didn’t make too many waves. It was not a failure and it was not a bad film, but my reaction to the film is that it was very forgettable. Apart from the vague plot description of a penguin who doesn’t fit into a singing community finds his standing by dancing. It was charming if I recall and completely passable family entertainment, but not something that I would necessarily consider for a sequel. So I begin to wonder as I head to the theater what could possibly be in store. Where could they go with this story since the conclusion of the previous installment?

Well now the dancing penguin Mumble (Elijah Wood) is a father with the beautiful Gloria (P!nk). His little boy Erik, actually voiced by the little girl Ava Acres, like his father, is struggling to find his place in the community of singers and dancers. Another strange penguin, Ramon (Robin Williams), leaves the penguins but is followed by the young Erik. They encounter another community of penguins under the arm of Sven (Hank Azaria), who is actually a puffin. But upon their return, they find the penguins trapped by a huge iceberg that drifted among the melting ice caps. So they team up with unlikely friends to save them from grand peril.

The strength of the first film, the charm of the musical numbers, is also one of the strengths of its sequel. The producers choose more hip hop, albeit very segmented, to entertain the current audience, but in reality it feels strange and out of place when so segmented. If you are going to use these songs, let them play out. But really that is a minor complaint when the music is pretty great. The film is a little sow moving in the beginning. There is some entertaining musical numbers but I found it hard to see the film moving in any productive way, introducing characters aplenty.

However, two of these characters, Will and Bill the Krill (Brad Pitt & Matt Damon), were my two favorite in the film, even if they only served a peripheral purpose. I think a lot of it had to do with them being voiced by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, but their interaction was funny every time as Will struggled to break free from the swarm of Krill and do things his own way. Theirs certainly reflects the general theme of the film, which is to dream big and work had to find your strength and contribute in a meaningful way to the world. They also prove the strength of friendship and family.

The heart and moral of the film makes it passable entertainment. It doesn’t have any higher ambitions than to provide simple entertainment for young and old and a nice little message for the little ones, which is not anything to shake your head at when it comes to animation. I mean that is what it is there for. Sure, there are some films that rise above the genre to become special films, but the same could be said of every genre. I definitely do not mean to demean the animation genre because it is one of my favorite. I figure by the time the end of the year comes, which is soon, and when I look back on the films I have seen this year, I will forget most of what I saw, much like the first, but I am glad to have spent the time here for the laughs, musical numbers and the heart.

 

Adam Kuhn

Adam Kuhn was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, where he attended Saint Charles Preparatory School. He studied History at the University of Cincinnati, where he was a contributor of The News Record, the twice-weekly, independent student news organization. He has been writing film reviews and blogging since 2009.

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