"Happy Feet Two" returns audiences to the magnificent landscape of Antarctica in superb 3D. Mumble, The Master of Tap, has a problem because his tiny son, Erik, is choreo-phobic. Reluctant to dance, Erik runs away and encounters The Mighty Sven-a penguin who can fly! Mumble has no hope of competing with this charismatic new role model....
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"Happy Feet Two" returns audiences to the magnificent landscape of Antarctica in superb 3D. Mumble, The Master of Tap, has a problem because his tiny son, Erik, is choreo-phobic. Reluctant to dance, Erik runs away and encounters The Mighty Sven-a penguin who can fly! Mumble has no hope of competing with this charismatic new role model. But things get worse when the world is shaken by powerful forces. Erik learns of his father's "guts and grit" as Mumble brings together the penguin nations and all manner of fabulous creatures-from tiny Krill to giant Elephant Seals-to put things right.
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In the 2006 animated blockbuster Happy Feet, an alienated emperor penguin named Mumbles found empowerment through tap-dancing, and in so doing managed to both attract a mate and stop the overfishing that imperiled his Antarctic habitat. Directed by George Mitchell - the same George Mitchell who gave us the post-apocalyptic Mad Max trilogy and the almost despairingly bleak Babe: Pig in the City - Happy Feet paired its broadly conventional narrative with a darker sensibility not often seen in talking-animal fare.
The film's sequel, Happy Feet Two, finds Mitchell (co-directing with Gary Eck) both more jovial and more easily distracted. The story begins straightforwardly enough, with Mumbles (Elijah Wood), now grown-up and by all appearances well-adjusted, ceding the mantle of self-discovery to his son, Erik (Ava Acres). Boogie fever has swept the once dance-averse penguin nation, but in a cruelly ironic twist, Erik has inherited none of his father's nifty moves. But just as Happy Feet Two appears intent on recycling its predecessor's basic storyline, the film abruptly changes course and embarks on a series of detours that seemed geared more as fodder for throwaway gags and showy set pieces than anything else. The disparate narrative elements, while enjoyable in isolation, never quite coalesce into a meaningful whole, leaving us entertained but unfulfilled.
As before, Happy Feet Two features a variety of buoyant song-and-dance numbers, with Alecia Moore (aka P!nk), lending her formidable pipes to spirited re-workings of "Rhythm Nation" and "Under Pressure," among others. Robin Williams returns for double duty as both Ramon, a diminutive, oversexed Latin lover, and Lovelace, a fiery Southern-preacher type. (Lovelace later adopts a Rastafarian dialect, allowing Williams to achieve the rare culture-caricature trifecta.) His voracious scenery-devouring is all the more impressive given the grandeur of the scenery. Not to be left out of the quasi-Vaudevillian comic shenanigans, Hank Azaria lays on a thick Scandinavian shtick as Sven, a charismatic Arctic émigré who presents himself as the only penguin in the world who can fly. Azaria is a hoot, but the film's best moments come courtesy of the cast's highest-profile additions, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, voicing Bill and Will (respectively) two tiny krill in search of meaning at the bottom of the food chain.
Hollywood.com rated this film 3 stars.
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