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November 21, 2006 > Happy Feet-A Movie Review

Happy Feet-A Movie Review

by Rajiv Samagond

Just in time for the winter holiday season comes a Happy Feet, a funny movie about a young penguin in Antarctica with an unusual gift for dancing. This two hour movie is produced by Warner Bros. Pictures and directed by George Miller.

At the bottom of the world, where Emperor Penguins live, it seems that importance is measured by how well you can sing. Enter Mumble, a baby penguin who is a terrible singer but loves to tap dance. Thought to be weird by fellow penguins, his father adds to the critical chorus by commenting that dancing “just ain’t penguin.” Mumble is the only one in his class who doesn’t graduate and penguin leaders - The Elders - say Mumble’s oddness is causing a shortage of fish which threatens their survival. In his defense, Mumble says he has seen a boat catching many fish in very large nets but the Elders are incredulous and he is banished.

An odd group of fun-loving un-Emperor-like penguins – called the Adelie Amigos – make Mumble’s acquaintance. Talking in a strange accent and cracking jokes about Mumble and the people of his community, they are impressed by his tap-dancing skills but refuse to admit that Mumble is a superior dancer. Mumble is introduced to an all-knowing guru called “Lovelace” who answers any question for a pebble. Lovelace always answers questions with silly answers such as, “It’s too cold to answer your question.” The Amigos and Lovelace are, in my opinion, the funniest part of the movie.

This unlikely assemblage embarks on a journey to find an answer to why fish supplies are dwindling. Traveling to the edge of the ice sheet, they find large boats that cut through the ice. Swimming alone in the open sea, the tide carries Mumble to a distant land where he is found and put in an aquarium where he displays his tap dancing skills. His captors decide to return him to the wild with a tracking device attached to his back. Mumble tells all about his encounter with “aliens” and convinces the others that communication is facilitated by tap dancing, beginning a tap dancing craze.

When researchers arrive to study Mumble’s community, videotapes of the dancing penguins become a worldwide sensation. After much debate, all fishing ships are removed from the Antarctic Circle to protect the dancing wildlife; Mumble, the outcast who remained true to himself, is a hero!

The new technology of Happy Feet is so advanced that most animals portrayed are startlingly life-like. Although my preference is past animation hits such as Finding Nemo, Mumble and fellow penguins are irresistibly cute; Happy Feet will provide an enjoyable afternoon or evening for moviegoers this holiday season.

Happy Feet is rated PG for mild peril and rude humor.

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