Happy Feet Two

These footsies ain’t smilin’

Happy Feet Two

(C) 2011 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

Directors: George Miller
Starring: Voices of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria
Time Out rating:

George Miller made one of the finest children’s films ever with 1998’s Babe: Pig in the City – a whirligig fantasia that upended saccharine kids’ flick conventions and challenged enough comfort levels that it was all but declared a national menace. It doesn’t matter who the target audience is; we need as much subversiveness in the arts as possible. So it’s been upsetting to see Miller mostly toe the commercial line in the Happy Feet films. If anyone could make something profound out of a singing-and-dancing-penguins picture, the director of the kitchen-sink-obliterating Mad Max series should be it. But there’s too much of an eye on the market in these movies – on toys and video games, on attracting as wide an audience as possible with demographic-appealing names from Brad Pitt to Sofía Vergara to Pink – counteracting any distinctions that Miller’s fervent imagination brings to bear.

Happy Feet Two picks up with emperor penguin Mumble (Elijah Wood) and his friends in mid–production number (‘Mama Said Knock You Out’ and ‘SexyBack’ are part of the Moulin Rouge–ish aural stew). But one young chick – Mumble’s son, Erik – is working with two left feet. So begins a find-my-purpose quest that involves an attention-hogging Svee-dish puffin (Hank Azaria), a towering iceberg that traps the majority of the emperor population, and some claw-your-eyes-out ethnic shtick from Robin Williams, once again doing insufferable double duty as Adélie penguins Ramon and Lovelace. The 3D Antarctic landscapes are certainly pretty, and you’d have to be a stone to be entirely unmoved by the species-uniting finale set to a cover of the Bowie-Queen collaboration ‘Under Pressure.’ But the trek to get there is sluggish at best, torturous at worst. March away, penguins. Far away.

Happy Feet Two opens nationwide on November 26. In Tokyo, only Shinjuku Piccadilly, Toho Cinemas Roppongi Hills and Toho Cinemas Nishiarai are showing the subtitled version

By Keith Uhlich
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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