Five years on from the surprisingly successful, Oscar winning original, Happy Feet Two sees Mumble (Elijah Wood) finding new problems when his son Erik can’t find a way to express himself through song or dance. Instead, the little tike sets his sights on learning to fly.
The original Happy Feet was quite the surprise success back in 2006 – pulling in almost $400 million dollars and that lucky Oscar – essentially because Cars and Monster House were particularly ineffective competitors.
And Happy Feet Two continues in that middle of the road vein. The animation remains the star of the show and director George Miller (yes, the man behind the Mad Max series) uses the freedom of CG to keep his camera constantly in motion – delving deep into the ocean and covering those dance sequences with aplomb.
But the film itself is a curious beast. I’m unable to discern what possessed a group of filmmakers to present a bunch of singing and dancing penguins with celebrity voices but the result rarely feels less than strange, while the human characters that appear sparingly are just downright odd.
The film does have its moments, chiefly any involving Will and Bill the krill – voiced by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. Will’s existential musings and subsequent escape from the swarm mixed with Bill’s outright terror at change make for a marvellous comedic clash and the film is weaker when they aren’t on screen.
Elsewhere, Robin Williams does two voices that sound much like Robin Williams, Elijah Wood is low key as Mumble and Hank Azaria steals the show as possible penguin Sven. The dance numbers are certainly sweeping, with the finale especially epic, and there are a couple of decent songs (helped by the inclusion of Pink) but the whole is only fitfully entertaining – making you wish for a little more krill.Extras: A shot doc on Antarctica, plus one on the animation and some singalong clips. You’ll also find the rather decent Sylvester and Tweetie short which ran in theatres.