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Happy Feet Two

Happy Feet turned out to be one of the surprise hits of 2006, earning close to $400 million at the box office and widespread critical acclaim in the process. We knew a sequel for the tap dancing penguins would be imminent, we just didn’t expect it would take nearly five years. Does Happy Feet Two manage to keep the rhythm up, or does it have two left feet?

Elijah Wood returns as the fast-footed penguin Mumble only this time around, he’s no shunned outcast. The entire colony of emperor penguins has adapted his unique style of dancing. All expect for one, that is; his son, Erik. Like Mumble when he was just a hatchling, Erik has yet to find his purpose in life. He runs away, determined to find and answer and meets The Mighty Sven, a penguin who can somehow fly! Thinking maybe he is destined to fly as well, Erik looks up to Sven as his mentor. Meanwhile, the Earth is rapidly changing and causes an iceberg to break free and trap the penguin colony within the ice. Mumble, Erik, and a few other penguin hatchlings are the only ones who managed to be away when it happened so it’s up to them to find a way to free the rest of the colony before they starve to death.

Happy Feet Two has a more involved story than the first that doesn’t simply involve singing and dancing for no apparent reason. In addition to the penguins’ troubles, the film introduces two new krill characters, Will and Bill, voiced by Brad Pitt and Matt Damon. Living their entire miniscule existence within the confines of the massive krill community, Will decides enough is enough and ventures outside into the deep ocean. Like Erik, he wants to see what’s out there. Bill, on the other hand, was perfectly fine back with the others but decides to stay with his best friend, as dangerous as that may be.

The film constantly switches back and forth between the two stories and because of that, it suffers as a whole. Happy Feet might not have had the best plots around, but it was fun and thrilling to watch the penguins sing and dance. That was the main draw of the franchise and exactly what Happy Feet Two primarily lacks. Yes, there are some great performances, but they are few and far between.

Thankfully, the ending manages to make up for its weak start. Maybe it was the great use of Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” or maybe it was the marvelous cinematics, but the last 15 minutes or so were fantastic. While it didn’t completely redeem the film, it definitely made it more watchable.

Happy Feet Two may fail to live up to its predecessor, but it’s still an enjoyable kids movie that features a decent soundtrack and some rather cute dancing/singing penguins. You don’t have to see the first movie to enjoy the second, and it’s probably better if you didn’t. That way you won’t be disappointed that it’s not as good. 

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Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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