“If you want it, you must will it. If you will it, it will be yours.”
Though I loved the overall message of Happy Feet Two, I found a couple of serious glitches in this energetic and well-meaning sequel to an Academy Award-winning predecessor.
Let’s just go ahead and get the criticism out of the way so we can get to the good stuff.
What I didn’t like about this film is that, plot-wise, there was just way too much going on. The original movie was about a cute little fuzzball who didn’t fit in. Prest-O, change-O and by Happy Feet’s end, horrifically tone-deaf Mumble turns out to be an amazing dancer whose uniqueness has become an asset. Easy to follow. Great message for the kids.
This version of the penguin-out-of-water saga is not so simple. Mumble is grown now and his son Erik is on a quest to…do something important I’ve forgotten because the competing subplots about melting polar ice caps, an entire generation of emperor penguins facing extinction, two bickering krill (Brad Pitt and Matt Damon) on a mission…oh, and that one penguin guy who actually can fly…distracted me from whatever it was little Erik needed to accomplish.
I also am a little unsettled by listening to a white guy (a brilliantly funny guy, by the way) voice a character with uber-zesty Mexican flavor (R-r-ramon) that could have more authentically been voiced by, well, an actual Mexican actor. Lovelace’s “soulful” Barry Whitish demeanor gives me the same heebee-geebees. But that’s just me.
Having said that, I can testify that this movie is a friggin’ visual feast. The 3D animation is absolutely spell-binding and something you really do have to see to believe. There is never a dull moment in this fun and funny flick, and between the eclectic soundtrack, the Savion Glover choreography and the witty one-liners delivered by an all-star cast, Happy Feet Two is wildly entertaining.
I’ll admit that as a Common fan, I was excited to witness his foray into voice-over acting, and he didn’t disappoint. His character brought authentic hip hop flavor to a screenplay that intentionally paid homage to several music genres along the way, including hip hop, rock, and the surprising use of a musical genre I won’t mention here because it would spoil a great little plot twist.
Though very young children may be frightened by some of the more ferocious scenes, this is a great “take and talk” film. That’s where you take a group of youngsters to see the film, then go out for pizza and talk about some of the important themes the characters came to terms with along the way.
The overarching message in this movie is a powerful one more kids really need to learn as early as they are able to comprehend it:
If you want it, you must will it…
Happy Feet Two delivers this message in a way that might metaphorically wrench the X-box controller out of our kids’ hands and encourage them to get busy actively pursuing their talents and their dreams. For the price of a movie ticket and a box of popcorn, that’s a pretty good deal.
by Kathleen Cross for rollingout.com