family holiday tradition with screenings of “Santa vs. The Snowman” and “The Polar Express.” This year's holiday movie, “Happy Feet” benefits the Museum of Discovery with an entertaining lesson in physical and social sciences.
Using last year's Oscar winning documentary
“March of the Penguins” as a prologue, this Warner
Brothers animated feature details the saga of Mumbles
Happy Feet (voiced by Elijah Wood), the son of Memphis
(Hugh Jackman) and Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman). Mumbles was
hatched during a difficult gestation period and is
born with a horrible voice. Given that penguins woo
one another with their song, Mumbles' prospects in
forming a family dwindle.
When he attempts assimilate into penguin society during a social ritual, his obnoxious voice upsets the festivities and Mumbles is exiled. Alone and abandoned, Mumbles takes comfort with a group of outcast penguins. By living in a different environment, Mumbles perfects his unique tap dancing talent, which upsets the conformed status quo of his former penguin community. Fortunatley, Mumble's good nature helps save the community that made him an outcast.
Elijah Wood and Mumbles Happy Feet become one character in this movie. The animators create an uncanny resemblance between the actor and the computer generated character. Brittany Murphy reveals an incredible vocal range as Mumbles Happy Feet's love interest, Gloria. Robin Williams voices two characters, a Chicano penguin named Ramon and Loveless, an evangelical guru with the tendencies of Sunday morning television preacher, Pastor Mack Carter.
“Happy Feet“ works as an interesting feature for
both adults and children, much like the successful
elements of the original “Shrek” and “Monsters
Inc.“ The children will enjoy the stunning visuals
and hearing the music of The Beatles, Stevie Wonder,
Prince and the Beach Boys for the first time. Adults
will enjoy the stroll down amnesia lane, but pick up
the subtext of global warming, and group dynamics.
“Happy Feet“ is directed by George Miller, a director
more noted for the violent Mel Gibson “Mad Max“
movies from the 1980s. Miller and his special effects team created
beautiful scenery. One particular shot features the beauty of the Northern Lights.
Unlike the condescending environmental message movies claiming to be non fiction,
“Happy Feet“ shows how one's natural behavior and good intentions can transform the world
in a positive manner.
Ever since Bambi's mother got shot, humans have had a
bad name in animated features starring animals. “The
Ant Bully“ and ”Open Season” were fun motion
pictures with a quirky sense of humor, but “Happy Feet“ appeals to mankind's more noble motives. ”Happy Feet“ is a glorious motion picture that