Happy Feet (2006)

While Happy Feet starts off like The March of the Penguins, it goes on to a more global view of the birds that live on the frozen continent. While it uses quite a few stars for the voices, Robin Williams was the only one that stood out.

The plot starts as a young penguin named Mumble can't "find his voice." While his singing is painful, he makes up for it in his dancing (hence the film's title). When he doesn't fit in with his flock, a series of adventures ensue. The rest of the film then revolves around two unrelated themes that I think were competing at times: it's ok to be different, and man destroying the environment. For a not so serious animal musical, one theme would have been plenty.

In Happy Feet, the real star is the computer animation. Traditionally, ice and water have been challenges to animators, with their complicated surfaces and shadows. This film does an excellent job with both. The scene with the killer whales was very realistically done, although it would have too much realism for very small children as the hungry mouths keep snapping at the penguins.

While several of the musical numbers dragged on way longer than needed to advance the plot, I still enjoyed Happy Feet. For those looking to "chill out," it showcases the state of the art in animation.

Overall Grade: B

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