Director: George Miller
Writers: George Miller, Gary Eck, Warren Coleman and Paul Livingston
Cast: Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, Sofia Vergara, Hugo Weaving, Alecia Moore and Hank Azaria
Studio: Warner Brothers
“Happy Feet Two” involves the penguin Mumbles, the subject of the previous picture, who is now grown up and has a son. His son is named Erik and like his old man, doesn’t have much rhythm which I guess is kind of a problem when you’re one of thousands of penguins who need to keep in step, after all, you don’t want to ruin the dance routines for whomever might be watching. Erik and a few outcasts travel away from his penguin brothers to find their identity. Out in the ice, they discover another colony of penguins led by a charismatic Swedish Puffin named Sven whom they all assume is a flying penguin. Sven acts as kind of motivational speaker, especially when the penguins have trouble finding a mate.
The problem of Mumble’s tap dancing was already solved. They lived happily ever after in Antarctica since the “aliens” moderated their fishing. The climate change is a really good idea. But after the movie, it feels like it’s just another sequel. Well, the movie never fails to its cast. Elijah Wood and Robin Williams did the same thing in the first movie but still good in this sequel. The newbies, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon are both fun even though they are playing the most extraneous characters of the film. Pink and Common are good replacements. What happened to Fat Joe? And the last but never the least is Hank Azaria who nearly steals the show.
New characters also got introduced to expand the scale of the story now to involve the smallest of life forms with two Krills, Will and Bill, the former adamant in striking out on his own and to evolve from a non-conformist environment where they swim around and be sitting ducks to larger prey, while the latter is the voice of rational thought, and comfort, joining Will only because he has but one friend. And on the other end of the size spectrum, we have the Leopard Seals with nasty, combative attitudes, whom you’d identify as key to the plot in the third act once Mumbles starts to tap his happy feet.
Nonetheless, they aren’t so creative with resolution and once again it is through the fate of the colony that Erik finds his purpose. Food is yet again the colony’s problem, as a breakaway ice sheet seals the penguins in on all sides. If you’re guessing rescue means teaching the Emperors how to fly, let us reassure you that it is fortunately not so straightforward, but rather a multi-species effort which includes the Adeles, the walruses and the krill underneath the sea- the last of which are really unsuspecting allies in the rescue effort.
It’s a massive undertaking no doubt, even more so for the animators who have truly outdone themselves in terms of scope. One can only imagine the work that must have gone into every detail bringing together so many species and so many individual beings together in one frame, so kudos to the team for their exceptional work. Yet amidst the visual cornucopia, Miller seems to have forgotten about Erik and his supposed coming-of-age journey- and anyone looking for a similarly touching tale as that of Mumble’s in ‘Happy Feet’ will probably be disappointed.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!