Saturday, May 5, 2007

Happy Feet

Since I just reviewed Cars, I might as well review the movie that beat it for the Best Animated Oscar this year. Take a dancing penguin, Elijah Wood, and as many social/political issues that you can cram into a 2 hour movie, and you have Happy Feet. Those filmmakers were smart. They could've gotten plenty of other actors to voice Mumble, but they got Elijah Wood, which drew in the Elijah Wood fangirls. (I got dragged--erm, went along with a friend who went for that reason.) The dancing penguin factor brings the kids in, and the social/political issues keep the parents from falling asleep, and then it makes them want to buy it so their kids can watch it over and over and learn about enviornmental issues.
In the world of Happy Feet, all penguins sing with beautiful, professional quality voices and have a "heart song". When they find another penguin whose song fits with theirs, it means they're supposed to get married. Mumble (Elijah Wood) can't sing and doesn't have a song. Instead, he tap dances. So all the penguins pick on him. Except of course, for the most beautiful girl penguin, Gloria (Brittany Murphy). She likes him. (*cough*Pebble and the Penguin*cough*) Meanwhile, all the fish are dissapearing, so the old penguins decide to blame in on Mumble, who, by their logic, must be causing all the probelms since he's DIFFERENT! Also, Mumble's dad, voiced by Hugh Jackman, hates him.
One day, Mumble winds up meeting a bunch of adelie penguins, most of which are voiced by Robin Williams. He dances, and they like it, so he ditches his family and becomes friends with them. (can you tell that I don't like this movie?) More dancing, more singing, more Mumble trying to get the girl. Mumble finally DOES get the girl by dancing to her heart song, but then he tells her to leave because he's going off on a dangersous quest to find the fish. Another hour of enviornmental issues, Mumble comes back, we get to see thousands of tap-dancing penguins, and then everyone lives happily ever after.
The only reason this beat Cars is because the plot was different. The only reason the plot was different was because they couldn't pick just one issue to address. The only thing I really liked about the movie was the animation. I honestly don't know if they filmed real people or animated them. The landscapes of antartica made me think I it was a live-action movie at times. The penguins were animated very realistsically, except that they were tap-dancing and singing. It's one of the greatest animation jobs I've seen in an American movie. The only, and I mean ONLY animated thing I didn't like was Mumble. When emperor penguins are born, they have lots of fuzzy white feathers. When they're around a year old (I think...) they have completely lost their feathers. The ENTIRE movie, Mumble had his fledgling feathers. He spent weeks, if not months trying to get the fish back and talk to the people, and he still had feathers! I know that the filmmakers did this so we could tell Mumble apart, but if they made no attempt to give the other penguins special features, why only do it for Mumble? Maybe they thought it would be too stereotypical. They could be right, but to me, it just looked stupid.
Rating: 2 and half stars because that was some of the best animation I've seen since FF7: Advent Children.

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