Happy Feet 2
Get into the groove with this animated family film starring Elijah Wood and Robin Williams
It’s back to the icy Antarctic for this feel-good tale about a colony of music-loving penguins. Mumble (Elijah Wood) is now father to his own cute and fluffy little penguin chick. Where Happy Feet followed Mumble’s struggles as the sole tone-deaf member of a community of accomplished singers, his son Erik’s troubles are in the toe-tapping department.
When Mumble’s efforts to help Erik find his dancing feet end in humiliation, Erik runs away and ends up stumbling into a neighbouring colony presided over by The Mighty Sven – a penguin with a thick Scandinavian accent, a set of flailing golden fronds and a curiously striped beak... Sven has achieved what is surely impossible for a penguin – flight – and prides himself as something of a motivational guru. Mumble arrives to take Erik home, but not before he has been mesmerised by Sven and his empowering catchphrase, “If you want it, you must will it. If you will it, you will have it.” So the stage is set for a struggle between a young penguin’s dreams and a father’s well-intentioned guidance – a struggle which plays out against a fragile world threatened by climate change.
As you’d expect, there are some catchy numbers, with black and white dancers boogieing along to everything from 'We Are The Champions' by Queen to a family-friendly version of Justin Timberlake’s 'SexyBack', reworded as 'FluffyBack'. Pink makes an appearance as Mumble’s belle Gloria, delivering soulful ballad 'Bridge Of Light'. Further fine vocal talents come courtesy of Robin Williams who returns in the roles of Latino wouldbe romantic Ramone and the stripey-jumpered Lovelace – a kind of Barry White of the penguin world. Brad Pitt and Matt Damon also pal up as double act Will and Bill, microscopic crill whose antics provide an entertaining undercurrent to the main action. The scriptwriting team have gone to town on the puns, with one-liners such as “it’s a crill world” and “you’re one in a crillion”.
Exploring themes of acceptance, family ties and self-discovery, Happy Feet 2 has many echoes of its precursor (which won one of Heartland’s Truly Moving Picture Awards). In terms of plot, it struggles a little to feel original, and as sequels go it’s more akin to the Shrek films than the Toy Story trilogy. Still, it’s a winter heart-warmer.
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