Film Review: Happy Feet

Film: Happy Feet

Director: George Miller

Cast: Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Robin Williams, Hugo Weaving.

Rating: 3/5

It’s got all the animation classics – cute furry animals, a simplistic storyline and the hero as the uncool kid no one wants to hang out with. Here it’s cute, little, blue-eyed Mumble (Elijah Wood) who is born with happy, dancing feet. Which would be a thing to celebrate elsewhere, but here, it’s a community of singing penguins, and the strange kid who cannot sing, but tap-dances his way around, makes everyone uncomfortable.

His parents Memphis (Hugh Jackman) and Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman) try to be supportive but there’s little they can do against the conservative and fuddy-duddy elders of the community. Meanwhile everyone’s worried about fish disappearing from the waters, leading to severe paucity of food. Our little hero is convinced that aliens across the land are responsible for this and sets out to “appeal to their better nature” and request them to stop poaching their food.

There he meets another community of friendlier (and Spanish) penguins who love him for his dancing feet and they form a group that sets out to meet the aliens. This crazy bunch includes a hilarious self-proclaimed guru of sorts called Lovelace, voiced by Robin Williams.

The animation has, as for some reason all animations do, its list of clichéd characters, beginning with the different hero who finally finds acceptance, his true love Gloria (Brittany Murphy) the brightest of the lot, and his bumbling friends who bring in the idiocy and fun to the story.

There are witticisms galore like `Gimme a fin’ instead of `Gimme a five’ and `You did everything penguinely possible.’ The aliens of course, turn out to be humans, who are shown, perhaps rightly, as the cruelest of all species. How our advancing technology affects lives underwater is also shown, as a huge ship’s propeller almost kills Mumble. And the unkindness of caging animals for human entertainment in zoos and aquariums is also portrayed.

Entertaining, as only animations can be, the theatre was packed with excited kids, who were in love with Mumble and his gang by the end of the film. The animation and sound design is first rate and this is definitely a heartwarming film to bring the winter in.

Sonia Chopra

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