Movie Review: Happy Feet Two

Mike Finkelstein’s body was overloaded today by a severe influx of cuteness when he was surrounded by fluffy baby penguins.  They ran up to him from all sides, hugged him all at once, and then sang him an array of today’s most popular Pop tunes.   He died happy.  Here is his review of “Happy Feet Two”.

PLOT: After the events of HAPPY FEET, Mumble (Elijah Wood) is all grown up and respected in his community.  But it turns out his son, Erik, is having the same problems he did figuring out how he fits in.  When severe ice shifts threaten to wipe out their entire society, it’s up to the father and son pair to save the day and see how important they really are, both in life and to each other, all with the help of a few old friends and a penguin who can fly.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW: HAPPY FEET was both a critical and financial success for a number of reasons: it had astounding animation, a meaningful, direct storyline about trying to find your purpose in life, a fantastic voice cast (including the craziness that is Robin Williams) voicing some very memorable characters, and…oh yeah…you were basically surrounded from all sides by ridiculously cute, fluffy penguins that sing and dance!  Obviously, a sequel to such a movie is a no brainer, but while most of the above factors are mimicked successfully, HAPPY FEET TWO suffers from a huge case of sequel overload.

This time around, we have Mumble (Elijah Wood), now a father, trying to connect with his son, Erik.  Erik is having the same problems Mumble had when he was little—he can’t sing or dance, and feels like an outcast.  But as Mumble tries to get close to his son, a massive ice shift comes along and traps all the other penguins, including his wife, Gloria, without any food or water.

That in itself is enough for a movie, but we’re not finished yet…to add to that, as the rescue commences, Mumble has to deal with The Mighty Sven (Hank Azaria), a hero penguin who can fly, overshadowing him in Erik’s eyes.  To add to that, Mumble has to save an Elephant Seal that he accidentally almost kills.  To add to THAT, everyone from Ramon to Sven to Lovelace has their own personal issues to deal with!  Oh, wait…I forgot to mention the complete side story of Will and Bill the Krill…but you see where I’m going with this…

Don’t get me wrong…HAPPY FEET TWO has a lot to keep you intact and entertained.  First off, the animation is gorgeous to watch.  George Miller took his time to craft everything meticulously, and it shows.  Also, for the first time in a very long time, the 3D is visually spectacular.  On ice, you felt like you were a part of the landscape.  Under water, whenever the Krill were on screen, right by the ‘camera’, I shrunk back in my seat because I felt like those scaly little things were going to touch me.

As for the characters, from the first frame, your senses are overloaded with cuteness, and you just feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  There are some great musical numbers (penguins still keeping up with pop culture), every time you see a familiar friend, you smile and laugh (although, most of that has to do with Robin Williams’ ridiculous improv), and Will and Bill were a welcome addition to the group.  While they didn’t really have much to do with any of the characters besides what seemed to be a forced lesson at the end, it was hysterical to listen to Matt Damon scream like a little girl and Brad Pitt say lines like “I’m gonna chew on something that has a FACE!”  You could tell they had a blast recording their parts, and we have fun with them.

But again, we get back to the problem of sequel overload.  Yes, everything was beautiful and cute and entertaining, but by the end of the movie, something was lacking.  We jumped around too often and had too way many strings to tie up, and the focus and message of the first film was nowhere to be found.  Instead, characters upon characters were trying to get their few precious moments of screen time, and we were treated to a number of different lessons about friendship and every little bit helps and the environment.  Sadly, it all just kind of gets lost in each other.

you have no soul, there is no way that you won’t enjoy HAPPY FEET TWO on some level.  The animation and 3D are stunning, and the characters are still just as fun as they were the last time around.  But, just like THE HANGOVER PART TWO, BATMAN AND ROBIN, and countless others before it, there are too many side plots to deal with in one two hour span.

On the other hand, just remember the cute and fluffy overload…

GRADE: B

Mike’s LIKES:

1) CUTE FLUFFY PENGUINS: Oh. My. Goodness.  The cuteness level here is enough to take down a MMA fighter.  If you go in here and aren’t feeling all squishy and cuddly within 30 seconds, you have no soul.

2) 3D: I am not a fan of 3D at all, but here, it was damn good.  The images were vivid and came to life right in front of me.  I even jumped back at one point!  Oh, and at the end, my friends and I were having fun trying to pop the bubbles…

2) BILL AND WILL THE KRILL: Yes, it was filler, but some of those lines made me laugh my ass off.  Knowing it was Brad Pitt and Matt Damon voicing them made it even better.  I couldn’t stop imagining Damon screaming like a little girl in the sound booth.

3) ROBIN WILLIAMS: The man is a genius in all realms of acting.  He has some of the best moments as Lovelace and Ramon, and the movie is 20 times better because he is in it.

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) LOST A BIT OF FOCUS: HAPPY FEET has a direct storyline that never falters: Mumble and him finding out who he is.  Here, we are a little more scattered: Erik, Mumble and Erik, Sven, Ramon and Carmen, Will and Bill, global warming, etc.  In other sequels, it would have been a case of overload.  Here, it takes a far back seat to cuteness, visuals, and just being a kid’s movie.

2) POLITICAL STATEMENT?: It didn’t bother me, but I’m very curious if the relationship of Will and Bill the Krill is going to  cause any controversy…Comment below after you see it and let us know what you think!

EXTRA FACTS:

1) The film will be released along with “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat”, the first of a group of Looney Tunes shorts to be released in front of Warner Bros films.

2) Elizabeth Daily, who voiced Mumble’s son, Erik, is known for playing a number of animated characters, including baby Mumble in HAPPY FEET, Tommy Pickles from “Rugrats”, and Buttercup in “Powerpuff Girls”.

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