This animation starts by spanning space, down to earth and the polar ice cap, in particular. Mating season is in full swing, for the penguin community. Each Emperor Penguin is singing their heart out. The song is a little personal. Each of these penguins has their own heart song, used during courtship.
The plot does have some factual basis, although of course penguins do not sing, as you or I do.
It is a fact that the male Emperor penguins keep the eggs warm and safe, whilst the females go off in search of food. They do call out, on their return so that they can be reunited with their partner.
Happy Feet has quite a lot of fact thrown in with the fiction, but the main musical plot is just lovely nonsense, of course.
Norma Jean is singing her heart song, in an attempt to find her man.
Once Memphis enters the scene, singing an old Elvis standard, you have the perfect couple. This couple's egg, which eventually becomes Mumble, the main character in Happy Feet has one big problem. Within a short space of time his parents realise that he will never be able to sing a note. Well he can, but not in tune.
However, he may be a dreadful singer but he can dance like no other penguin. Sadly, in this penguin world, great dancing will not compensate for the lack of a good singing voice.
Mumble's other problem is that he is different. Happy Feet includes a couple of morals in the plot such as:-
- Every one has a place and use, however different they are.
- What's new isn't always bad.
- We should be open minded.
- Everyone should be caring.
- We must protect the environment.
The fish are disappearing and no-one knows why. Is it because Mumble's so odd and different he has offended the gods? Where are the fish going? Can Mumble bring back the fish?
On the whole, the plot can be a little confusing for young children. It is a little scary for such children also, at times. In the beginning of the film Mumble is a cuddly baby penguin that is very attractive to young children. However, the winter scenes at the beginning, the whales and the seals in particular, may be unnerving for young children.
In the cinema Happy Feet was not recommended for children under 4 years of age.
I loved Happy Feet as much for its musical score as anything else. It included old Queen and Beach Boy hits which I love. There was also Prince's Kiss, and many other well known songs.
The animation and graphics were superb and the sound effects stunning. Maybe it was being in quite a small cinema but, when the music and dancing was on the screen, the sound was everywhere. For once the Odeon did not have the volume set to deafening. It appeared as if the characters where right beside you or behind you tap dancing away.
The characters are also quite magical. Mumble as a baby penguin was adorable and, as a gawky teenager, was cute. The elephant nose seals, ordinary seals, sea birds plus the whales, had just the right amount of scariness, with a comedy outcome.
As usual the multi-faceted voice of Robin William's was excellent.
There were some Latino type penguins which added another element to the humour and supplied different music.
The special effects were such that, on the big screen, you felt you were flying through space at times, diving into the water or swimming about. The Ice Kingdom where the penguins live had such a realistic feel it was weird. At times the penguins looked so real I could not believe they were not. This was also true of a helicopter and its occupants. The computer graphics were amazing. They have certainly come a long way in recent years.
The mass dancing penguins at the end of the film reminded me of Riverdance, which I guess was the intention.
Although the cinema was only half full, I would say that the majority of customers thoroughly enjoyed this film. Maybe the adults, more than the children, in some cases
Personally I can recommend Happy Feet as a thoroughly good, afternoon's entertainment, which I would happily watch over and over again. If you want family entertainment then go for it, but keep an eye on young children.
The running time was just over 2 hours.
This film is a Warner Bros, Village Roadshow film. The cast includes the voices of, Robin Williams. Nicole Kidman, Brittany Murphy, Hugo Weaving, Miriam Margolyes and Elijah Wood.