Directors: Judy Morris, Warren Coleman and George Miller
Original Release: 2006
Choice: Our Girl's
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
And yet, she swore up and down for years that Happy Feet was her favorite movie. A recent interest in penguins has inspired a quest for movies with penguins. In fact, just about anything to do with penguins grabs her attention. When she learned this week that Pittsburgh's hockey team claims her favorite bird as a mascot, she was all set to throw her lot in with them. She was quite upset to learn they are the arch-rivals of my own team (Washington Capitals). This was actually our first time watching Happy Feet since that day in the theater nearly eight years ago. Our Girl was not disappointed.
Mumbles, an emperor penguin chick, can't sing. This is a disaster as, at least for the lore established in the story, members of his species must match "heart songs" in order to mate. But he sure can dance - soft-shoe tap! Unfortunately, that's not enough to impress the rest of the flock and even his own father is ashamed of him. His one true love, Gloria, has a beautiful voice and clearly loves him, too. But Mumbles is blamed for a decline in fish and is banished. He resolves to find out what really happened to the fish, which means seeking out the humans.
Happy Feet is a visually stunning movie. All of the animals and their environment are beautifully presented. One almost feels at times as if you could run your hand through their feathers. The story is formulaic, though sweet and satisfying. The music is great, mostly covers of previously released material - a jukebox musical, it's called apparently. Highlights include a "Kiss"/"Heartbreak Hotel" mash-up sung by Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, "My Way" performed in Spanish by Robin Williams and "Somebody to Love" as sung by the late, great Brittany Murphy. A nice story about "Kiss": Prince initially wasn't going to let them use the song but once the producers showed him footage from the film, he not only relented, but offered to write a new number for the closing credits.