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These Feet Where Made for Dancin'
on 29 August 2012
`Happy Feet', more like `Sappy Feet'. The original singing penguin film had a central environmental message that was about as subtle as using a grand piano to crack a pistachio. I don't mind a green agenda in a kid's film, as long as it does not get green around my gills. `Happy Feet 2' could be more of the same. Mumble and co. are back and they have all added the power of dance to their singing routine - imagine `Glee' but with penguins and less saccharin. When a chunk of the ice flow melts the entire colony of penguins are trapped except for Mumble, his son and a couple of other youngsters. Can they enlist the other animals to launch a rescue?
`Happy Feet 2'; cute penguins - check, singing - check, green message - check. More of the same then? Pretty much, but perhaps this time things are a little more subtle. Director George Miller has abandoned just following Mumble and tells the story of the entire colony. This allows him to increase the scale of the adventure and have something that resembles a story. The escapees visit different species in the hopes of finding aid - a message a comradeship and co-operation is told in a way that is far more natural than the forced green impact of the first film.
This sequel also benefits from Will and Bill, the Krill. They pop up, Scratch from `Ice Age' style, every few minutes to tell their own story of individuality, but are connected to the narrative as a whole. Brad Pitt and Matt Damon do a good job with the voice acting, but it is the animation of these sections that is immense. It takes something to impress me with CGI as the standard is so high in modern films - `Happy Feet 2' at times reaches Pixar levels of visual splendour. With some fun songs, great imagery and subtler story, `Happy Feet 2' is a better film than the first, but its basic structure still makes it only slightly above average.