Released: December 2nd 2011 (UK)
Directed By: George Miller
Starring: Robin Williams, ELijah Wood
Certificate: U (UK)
Everyone’s favourite singing and dancing penguins are back in a fun family adventure that will have even the grumpiest of parents singing along. Returning stars Elijah Wood (The Lord Of The Rings, Green Street), Robin Williams (Mrs Doubtfire, Patch Adams) Elizabeth Daily (Happy Feet, Rugrats) and Hugo Weaving (The Lord Of The Rings, The Matrix) all lend their voices to bring the penguins to life. New voices includeAlicia Moore (Pink) who replaces Brittany Murphy as the voice of Gloria after her tragic death in December 2010. Matt Damon (The Bourne Series) and Brad Pitt (Se7en, Fight Club) join the line-up as well as Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, The Smurfs) and a wide cast of actors and actresses voicing the various penguins in Emperor Penguin land.
Happy Feet 2 returns audiences to the magnificent landscape of Antarctica. Mumble (Wood) the famous dancing penguin is happily partnered with the penguin he loves more than any other, Gloria. (Pink) Mumble and Gloria now have a son of their own, Erik (Daily), who is struggling to find his place in the Emperor Penguin world. Old friends Ramon and Lovelace (both Williams) return along with some new faces including ‘flying penguin’ Sven (Azaria) and the hilarious Bill and Will the Krill. (Damon and Pitt) But new dangers are threatening the penguin nation, and it’s going to take everyone working and dancing together to save them.
Directed by George Miller who co-directed the first one, Happy Feet 2 is an acceptable sequel to the 2006 original. The animation is as beautiful as ever if not better than the first one. The detail that goes into creating just one flake of snow was incredible, as well as creating the gorgeous arctic scenery. There is also a return of the live action sequences, which were a highlight of the first.
Lacking in a decent storyline that jumps around more than necessary too often, this is where the film is let down as it keeps switching between the penguin’s story and the krill’s story. What the film loses in its storyline, it makes up for in the soundtrack. With a wide selection of songs from all genres, the music ranges from charming to powerful and to fun.
The main highlights would have to be the intro medley, which uses snippets of songs from popular music and the outstanding contribution from Pink throughout the film, in particular her moving song ‘Bridge of Light’ which is also used as the theme song for the film. Other notable songs include more of Queen’s music, the irritating ‘Dragostea Din Tei’. Also ‘The Ballad of Sven, Rawhide’ and the song that will have everyone singing it days after they leave the theatre ‘Papa Oom Mow Mow’
The voice acting is superb as usual but praise has to go to Damon and Pitt for the utter hilarity that occurs through their on screen persona, Will and Bill the Krill, two Krill who break from their swarm to discover the meaning of life and ultimately prove that even the smallest creature can change the world.
Happy Feet 2 feels bigger, deeper and sometimes happier than the first instalment but lacks in the charm that made the original such a success. The 3D element was good when it was used properly but was not used enough throughout so it could have done without the extra dimension.
Though not as exceptional as it’s predecessor, it still tells a beautiful tale of how friendship, determination and working together can beat all the odds.