Happy Feet Two

I’ve been trying to think of a way to put this into words… I mean, that IS the trick of this whole thing after all.

“Happy Feet Two” is very pretty to look at, it has the requisite amount of “messages”. There are funny scenes and characters, and a decent enough storyline for an animated film. All the parts SHOULD be adding up to a better movie when I do the movie formula math in my head, but they don’t.

Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe its too calculated, too formulaic, over-produced.

Whatever it is, it doesn’t connect with me, and as a result it winds up feeling superficial.

I realize the first one won the Oscar for best animated picture, but it never drew my attention enough to want to see it. So this is my first forray into the Happy Feet-verse. “Happy Feet Too” tells the story of a colony of Emporer Penguins, particularly Erik (Ava Acres), the child of Mumble (Elijah Wood) and Gloria (Pink) from the first “Happy Feet” (Gloria was voiced in the first by the late Brittany Murphy). When Erik and some friends wander off, Mumble tracks them down. While they’re gone, however, a glacial shift caused by the melting of the antarctic cap cuts off their entire colony. Thus it’s up to Mumble, the three chicks and a cast of assorted other animated antarctic aquatic animals to save the day.

The only way they know how. By singing and dancing.

This certainly isn’t the first animated musical, and it’s not the only one to have dance numbers. Somehow though, none of the songs connected with me. I’m pretty sure they’re all cover versions with occasionally changed up lyrics, so it was like watching the animated equivalent of “American Idol” or “Glee”. A karaoke kiddie film replete with whirling cameras and pull back crane shots. I’m sure that that’s not accidental, that appeals to a great number of people… I’m just not one of them. Like a modern song that “samples” an old hit, the tune is there, but I miss the soul.

To me, “Happy Feet Too” illustrates just how difficult it can be for animated films to appeal across the boards. I mean, it has a lot going for it. Music, and comedy, it has a host of celebrities lending their voices, and they all do a fine job. It’s occasionally funny, and has a couple of exciting moments (although I hesitate to use the term “action sequences”). But if you’re just off that much, cute becomes cloying and sweet becomes sugary.

I do have to make note of the one portion of the movie I really did like a lot… Brad Pitt and Matt Damon play an existential krill and his sidekick who swim out of the safety of their swarm and seek to learn about the world they live in. At one point Pitt’s krill tries to “move up the food chain” by becoming a carnivore. Although their storyline was almost completely disconnected from the main story, I found them to be the funniest and most enjoyable part of them film.

Glossy, slick and wrapped up in musical numbers, “Happy Feet Two” is enjoyable enough, but ultimately not very memorable.

B-

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4 thoughts on “Happy Feet Two

  1. There’s a bunch I could say, but probably won’t LOL…First of all, I don’t usually read reviews until I see a movie, I guess that might not make sense to some, but it’s “how I roll.” I will admit to occasionally scrolling down to the bottom of your reviews & looking at the grade. I decided I was fairly safe reading this because regardless of the storyline, I will see this & probably the first one again when it comes out on DVD. Ok, let me say the obvious, it’s a kid’s movie, it is meant to be “predictable” with the plot turns and conflicts moving things in such a way that children get it & aren’t super freaked out. The other, what I feel is obvious point, but maybe not, is that the “side-kick/buddies” in animated films are always the ones adults especially are drawn to (they also pull the most away from the movie having their own subplot which can be expounded upon later for another movie or TV show, I sometimes liken them to the bridge of a song :) ), some examples are: Timon & Pumba in The Lion King, Victor, Hugo & Laverne, the gargoyles in Hunchback, Flounder, Sebastian & Scuttle in The Little Mermaid, the secondary toys in Toy Story. So it makes sense that you’d be drawn to the krill. My suggestion to you, see the 1st one, it’s really pretty good if you can keep in mind it’s a kid’s movie, it’s fun, feel-good & is meant to make those who don’t really think thy will, tap their feet a teeny tiny bit. I’m not usually a fan of sequel animated movies, but am looking forward to seeing this on DVD, because it has most of the first cast & well, it looks fun! LOL…ok, I’ve gone on far longer than I’ve intended, but just wanted to make a point that all movies can’t be reviewed from an adult’s perspective, borrow a kid next time (I’m not saying you gave it a bad grade, cause you didn’t, but you may just bump it up to a “+” or an “A-”) ;)

    • LOL.

      I often do “Borrow a kid”, but unfortunately, I’ve found they’re not the most selective viewers. Their reviews come back even more poistive than mine do, and I’m Captain Good Grade.

      I may see the first, as I checked out the Rotten Tomatoes blurbs (which I, like you, wait til seeing the movie – AND til writing them up now) a lot of reviewers were bemoaning how this one wasn’t as good as the first one, which made me think the first one must be pretty good.

      If you’re a fan of the first one, I’d like to hear what you think when you DO see it. Dont hesitate to ever use the search and drop a comment on an old post, ok? I get comments alerts and see anything posted.

      Aside from that though? On reviewing from “An Adults Perspective”? I’m still pretty immature, plus I’m a big fan of animated movies, so I think I gave it as fair a shake as its gonna get! :D

  2. I never did connect with the first (neither did my boys.) It was like Moulin Rogue with Penguins and for me, the songs really didn’t coincide with the story. Wasn’t like a natural flow into the music. Of course, there was some great music in the first, but just seemed like the movie is built around the songs and not vice versa.

    We’ll probably wait for Netflix to watch #2.

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