WARNING: Do not continue reading unless you want to be spoiled on key parts of the movie, Happy Feet Two.
Who doesn’t enjoy a cute animated film, filled with adorable fluffy creatures? I sure do! However, as optimistic as I like to be going into an animated movie–and particularly movies aimed at kids–I do tend to walk in with low expectations. (I realize though that perhaps sometimes I’m a bit too hard on these kid movies.) Anyway, maybe it’s because I don’t remember too much from the first movie–I mean it has been a while–but somehow I felt this was a lot better than the first movie, and I feel like it’s usually pretty rare for a sequel to top an original.
The summary on IMDB.com pretty much says it all: “Mumble’s son, Erik, is struggling to realize his talents in the Emperor Penguin world. Meanwhile, Mumble and his family and friends discover a new threat their home — one that will take everyone working together to save them,” however, for those interested in specifics, I’ll touch on them a little bit. For the most part, I think the funny scenes are better off watched than explained, I’ll at least briefly detail the main parts of the movie.
The opening of the film seems pretty familiar–lots of singing and dancing. Mumble is still a terrible singer, and he now has a child with Gloria who is just as much of a misfit as he was. I actually found it kind of amusing that his son, Erik, is terrified of dancing. In fact, I found even more amusing what his son’s talent turns out to be at the end of the film, but I’ll get to that later.
Erik is sick of being a misfit and pretty much decides to run away from home with his two penguin friends in tow. The three kids follow Ramon back to the paradiseish island he originally came from in the first movie–he too is also sick of feeling like a misfit–and Mumble starts tracking down the kids by following their footprints with the full intent of bringing the three home.
Ramon, as well as Erik & Co. make it to Ramon’s “hometown.” Ramon quickly learns from his old about the new “hot penguin” in town whose status outshines his former ladies’ man title, known as “The Mighty Sven” (or just Sven, really). Erik also ends up immediately starstruck, and by the time his poor dad catches up with him, he only cares about what Sven has to say because Sven can do something no other penguin can–he can fly. I couldn’t help but chuckle throughout the movie and have a couple of inner “aww” moments every time I saw Mumble try to impress his son and show him that even though he can’t fly, he’s still “cool.” I guess it’s because I feel like it’s something that I’ve heard happen in real life as well, parents trying to be “cool” enough for their kids.
To make a long story short, throughout the film we catch bits and pieces of Sven’s story. Sven’s entire breed was apparently wiped out by disasters, and he is the sole survivor. He was found by some humans and was cared for. He and Lovelace meet on this ship when Lovelace is rescued from an oil spill and given hospitable treatment by the same humans. (If anyone’s wondering, yes, Lovelace is still a bird with a strange personality and now he’s wearing a crazy-colored sweater given to him by the humans.) The pair of them decide to jump ship when Sven looks in a porthole window at a man eating a chicken and they incorrectly assume that they will eventually meet the same fate and become dinner.
The next important plot point of the movie is when changes in weather cause the polar ice caps to shift; the place where Mumble and the kids are from gets completely sealed off by huge glaciers, and the challenge then becomes feeding the trapped colony as well as trying to find a way to get them out of their unfortunate situation. Sven helps at first; he uses his charisma to gather all the penguins from Ramon’s homeland to create a system where fish get passed from penguin to penguin until it reaches the trapped colony. This solution is short-lived, however, because a heavy snowstorm comes in that freezes over a good stretch of ocean, causing the helping penguins to now worry that they too will starve, and so they conclude the operation. At some point before things freeze over, Lovelace was able to grab the attention of (apparently the same group) humans on a ship and bring them over to the trapped penguins. They try to help at first, but unfortunately they too had to retreat because of the heavy snowstorm, and a thick blanket of ice prevents them from being able to get close enough to return.
Also in the midst of all this chaos, we learn that Sven is pretty much a coward and he disappears when the humans arrive to help because he was afraid they would capture him and turn him into a meal. He is later asked to teach penguins how to fly out of their trapped land, and he is eventually made to tell the truth and confess to everyone that he is not really a penguin at all, but a Puffin bird. This of course shocks and disappoints everyone, and “The Mighty Sven” flies away in shame; we pretty much don’t see him for a while.
In the meantime, Mumble is busy trying to work out other solutions so that he can rescue the trapped colony of penguins. One thing he tries to do is lead all the penguins that aren’t trapped in a tap dance, trying to create a mini-avalanche that could pile enough snow for the penguins to get out from, but unfortunately this plan sort of backfires because too much ice breaks at once, and Mumble also sprains his ankle. For some odd reason the penguins don’t really seem inspired to continue dancing without Mumble leading the pack, so Mumble ends up needing to find a new option.
Mumble and his son go and hit up some elephant seals. (I didn’t mention this before, but way at the beginning of the movie Mumble saves the life of some elephant seal, and the seal tells Mumble that he owes him one.) Mumble asks the elephant seal for help with the whole pounding of the ice thing, but unfortunately he’s arrived at a bad time because it seems Mr. Elephant Seal is in the middle of fighting another male elephant seal for dominance, and so he initially refuses to help.
Now, remember how the whole story is supposed to be about little Erik figuring out what his true talent is? (Oddly enough though, I felt like it wasn’t really that huge a part of the story at all.) It turns out that Erik’s talent is to sing opera. Haha. Erik sings an operatic appeal to the elephant seals and moves both the seal pack and his father. Soon after, the seals come to help pound at the ice, the trapped colony eventually becomes free, and the story pretty much ends with everyone living “happily ever after.” Oh, and I thought the finale musical number was actually pretty entertaining to listen to.
There’s also a sort of side story that is more like a mini story within the main Happy Feet story involving two krill, Will and Bill (voiced by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon). The scenes containing these two little shrimpy looking creatures was very funny. In fact, I think they’re the main reason why I enjoyed this film so much, above all else. There was one brief scene where it was a little weird because it seemed to make Bill seem a little on the “sweet” side, if you know what I mean, and there was also another scene where I thought Bill had gone to the dark side and was going to hurt Will or something, but overall these two little krill were so funny to watch. I think their scenes were ten times funnier for me because I knew Brad Pitt and Matt Damon were voicing them, and the only reason why I knew they were voicing them (normally I have no idea who the voice actors are, and I also usually don’t do prior research about it) was because I saw their names in the opening credits. Perhaps my imagination is too active, but I could totally tell that Brad Pitt was Will and Matt Damon was Bill, and they were absolute goofballs in their krill roles.
Anyway, for those wondering, here’s my review for the movie:
Casting: N/A – animated
Re-watch Factor: ***
FINAL VERDICT: B+
I enjoyed this film a lot. I don’t think there was too much dancing or singing as much as comedic dialogue this time around, but I still think it was a fun film to watch.
Well, I’m going to attempt to write at least one or two more movie reviews, so stay tuned!