Happy Feet Two

By Kathryn Schroeder
Released: November 18, 2011
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The sequel to "Happy Feet," the Academy Award-winning animated smash hit, "Happy Feet Two" returns audiences to the magnificent landscape of Antarctica in superb 3D.

Mumble, The Master of Tap, has a problem because his tiny son, Erik, is choreo-phobic. Reluctant to dance, Erik runs away and encounters The Mighty Sven-a penguin who can fly! Mumble has no hope of competing with this charismatic new role model.

But things get worse when the world is shaken by powerful forces.

Erik learns of his father's guts and grit as Mumble brings together the penguin nations and all manner of fabulous creatures-from tiny Krill to giant Elephant Seals-to put things right.

"Happy Feet Two" is directed by George Miller, who won an Oscar as the creator of the original "Happy Feet." The film features the voices of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Alecia Moore (P!nk), Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Sofia Vergara, Common, Hugo Weaving, Richard Carter, Magda Szubanski, Anthony LaPaglia and Benjamin "Lil P-Nut" Flores, Jr.

Soundtrack: Happy Feet Two (Deluxe Edition) [Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] - Various Artists

Video Game: Happy Feet Two: The Videogame

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Film Review
As a sequel to the 2006 Happy Feet the second film in the series finds original tap dancing Penguin Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) all grown up and with a son of his own, Erik (voiced by Ava Acres). Opening with a rousing dance number choreographed to the infectious song "Rhythm Nation," originally performed by Janet Jackson, Happy Feet Two starts on a high note. The film then falls victim to the trappings of a simple, less than sophisticated animated film that relies on music and visuals to keep the attention of the viewer, not substance or a strong story.

Erik is not like his father Mumble and can't find a reason for dancing, his first attempt leads to an embarrassing mishap that has him hiding from all of the other penguins in an ice hole. Wanting to escape his embarrassment Erik runs away and follows fellow outcast penguin Ramon (voiced by Robin Williams) to a new area on Antarctica with a whole bunch of new penguins. One in particular, The Mighty Sven (voiced by Hank Azaria), makes Erik believe that anything is possible as a penguin because he can fly! Mumble soon finds Erik among the new penguins, and meets Sven who immediately makes him feel inadequate as a role model for Erik--Sven can fly, and Mumble cannot compete with that, even with his fancy toe-tapping. Leading Erik and his two friends home will find Mumble and the young penguins dealing with something they never imagined as the earth is moving in Antarctica and a great glacier has trapped all of Mumble's group of penguins. Without any food or means of escape it is up to Mumble, with a little help from some Elephant Seals and tiny Krill, to save his fellow penguins, and prove to his son that he is a hero even without the ability to fly.

Happy Feet Two barely gets by as interesting to watch because nothing of great interest ever happens in the film. Erik is adorable, the music and dancing are great, Mumble is downright boring as a character, and the adventure moves incredibly slowly. Happy Feet Two seems more concerned with speaking to the viewer subtly, or not so subtly, about global warming and dangerous practices by humans. Case in point, the melting of ice caps shown more than once, the breaking off of a glacier that causes tidal waves and earthquakes, and the aftermath and trauma of an oil spill on a bird--calling the oil "black death" cements the commentary. There is also the fact that the reason the penguins are stuck and in peril is because of the aforementioned reasons. Happy Feet Two feels just a tad bit political for an adult to watch, for a child it has the interludes of music and the wonderful krill characters Will and Bill to hopefully keep them engaged.
The penguins are impressive, and so are the great expanses of ice and snow and ocean that make up the depth of field in Happy Feet Two. By far the most impressive piece of the animation in the entire film is with the krill characters, Will (voiced by Brad Pitt) and Bill (voiced by Matt Damon). A side-story of small proportions Bill and Will are actually the most charismatic and interesting characters in Happy Feet Two. When we first meet them it is in a swarm of other krill, as they travel in large swarms in the ocean--they are easy bait for predator's. The swirl of orange on screen, as thousands upon thousands of krill are swimming in a rush from a wave on screen is breathtaking to watch. The colors pop off the screen, the 3D actually adds to bringing Will and Bill closer to the viewer and the depth of their fellow krill all the more richer. The tiny details of the krill themselves are impeccably done, each small leg and the next. While the rest of the film plays nice with the animation, as there is really nothing wrong with it or anything great that merits mentioning, the scenes with Will and Bill, up to the finale when they themselves find a way to dance, are flawless, and memorable.
Musical Numbers
From the opening number of "Rhythm Nation" that blends together such songs as "Sexy Back" (originally performed by Justin Timberlake) and "Mama Said Knock You Out" (originally performed by LL Cool J), Happy Feet Two makes the most out of the music and dancing. The large expanse of penguins, all moving in time with the beat, with numerous ones making a front and center appearance for their respective parts in the songs is irresistibly cute and fun. It would be difficult to not have little fluffy penguins be cute, adding music and dancing only amplifies the effect. As the film continues there will be many more musical interludes, from those that aim to lift your spirits or call upon the love between a mother and her child, or a child's enamor for his father. For adults the use of Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure" is a great inclusion for the finale, as is the beautiful song sung by Pink, "Bridge of Light" (who voices Erik's mother, Gloria) to pull on the heartstrings a tiny bit. Happy Feet Two uses contemporary songs to help tell the story, and the musical numbers are what make it bearable to watch; and t begs for a sing-along version to be released. **Happy Feet Two (Deluxe Edition) [Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] - Various Artists**

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Children and Family, Animation, Adventure
Release Date
November 18, 2011
MPAA Rating
Music Score