I was not a big fan of 2006’s “Happy Feet” and became even less of a fan when it went on to win the Academy Award that year for Best Animated Feature (beating-out “Cars”, a much, much better film).
Unfortunately “Happy Feet Two” is an even more painful viewing experience than the original.
“Happy Feet” (in case you don’t remember) was the story of a young male penguin named Mumble who couldn’t sing like all the other penguins. Instead his thing was dancing. He was thrown out of the colony for being different but, by the end of the movie, he’s a hero and everyone realizes that dancing is fun.
In this 3D sequel Mumble (again voiced by Elijah Wood) and his wife Gloria (the singer P!nk, who takes-over the role from the late Brittany Murphy) are raising their own son – Eric – who can’t dance. He doesn’t have a great relationship with his father and he and two other young penguins wander away from their families and discover a new group of penguins led by Sven, who everyone thinks is a flying penguin and a great hero. Mumble finds the kids, by while they’re gone there’s a shift in the icecap and all the penguins back home, including Gloria, become stranded. So Mumble, Sven and the kids have to figure out a way to rescue them before they all starve to death.
Meantime, there’s also a subplot involving two krill named Will and Bill (voiced by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon) that is a total waste of time. The writers obviously were trying to duplicate the success of the Skrat vignettes from the “Ice Age” movies. Instead we get these very unfunny, distracting and annoying interruptions, over and over, with these two characters saying such lines as “I’m one in a krilllion”. They may be the most poorly written animated characters in any film this year. I kept praying for them to be eaten.
As for the main story – it’s completely misguided and uninteresting. Sorry folks, having hundreds of animated penguins singing and dancing to pop sings doesn’t make for an entertaining feature length movie. This would have been much better as a half-hour holiday special (which I would have avoided). And there’s actually more singing than dancing in the film. They should have called it: “Happy Beaks” – except that some of the muscial numbers will make you cringe.
There’s no suspense or drama (what – thousands of cute little penguins are going to die in the end?). At least the first “Happy Feet” was unique when it came out in ’06. The only reason this was made was because the original grossed $200 million domestically. The writers and director George Miller have nothing to say with this sequel.
Robin Williams is back in dual roles but neither of his characters gets much screen time. Hank Azaria voices Sven, who has a huge secret that we in the audience know from the first time we see him at the beginning of the film. So later, when all the penguins finally learn the truth, there’s no payoff for the audience.
And another thing I hated about this film (as I did with the original) is the use of real humans in several scenes (using motion capture technology). It just doesn’t work here.
“Happy Feet Two” is rated PG for some mild adult language and scenes of peril. It’s harmless enough for all kids and I’m sure the little ones will enjoy the penguins and the songs and the dance numbers. But anyone over 10 will be completely frustrated and bored.
On “The Official Kid Critic Report Card“, “Happy Feet Two” gets a D. It’s one of the worst animated films since…”Happy Feet One”. Good news is, since penguins only have two feet, they couldn’t make a “Happy Feet Three”…could they?