Martin Teller's Movie Reviews

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Happy Feet

Posted by martinteller on April 21, 2007

One side effect of owning an HD-DVD player is that now I’m renting movies I wouldn’t normally bother with.  Buying them, too… I like Road Warrior (oddly enough, also directed by George Miller) well enough, but I’m thinking of cancelling my pre-order.  Happy Feet does look spectacular in HD, and the animation is superb, but otherwise… blah.  If I’d known Robin Williams was in this, doing not one but TWO of his incredibly irritating ethnic voices, I might have reconsidered the rental.  When the movie periodically uses popular songs to evoke a sense of elation, it comes off as extremely contrived, although there is some small amount of joy in synchronized penguin dancing.  There’s a Moulin Rouge effect (note the presence of Nicole Kidman) where you first think “Hey, I love this song!” and then you suddenly loathe the context in which it’s being presented.

Most of the gags, dialogue, and emotional beats are entirely unoriginal and, like Pixar films, we’re supposed to appreciate them as fresh simply because they’re being filtered through anthropomorphized creatures.  Speaking of Pixar, it’s kind of funny to think that if this was Finding Nemo, everyone in Happy Feet would be a vicious murderer.  Or if it was Cars, I suppose they’d all be roadkill.

The movie does take a truly bizarre turn in the final stages, and the various messages are well-intentioned, if somewhat sloppy.  Still, not much here for an adult audience.  Rating: 5


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