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Review: ‘Happy Feet Two’ should have been about krill

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (6 votes)

Happy Feet Two

There's a long tradition of horror stories set in Antarctica. H. P. Lovecraft set In the Mountains of Madness in the white continent, featuring a race of giant cave-dwelling albino penguins who shrieked “Tekelili!” over and over.

Happy Feet Two continues the tradition of Antarctic penguins repetitively crying out horrific noises. Instead of shout-outs to Edgar Allan Poe, however, these penguins cry out dated pop songs. The horror, the horror.

Story

The hero of the original Happy Feet, mutant freak bird Mumble (played by Elijah Wood), having saved the world from global warming through the power of dance, is raising his chick, Erik (Ava Acres), with penguin wife Gloria (Pink). He is doing an absolutely horrible job of it, and Erik decides to run away, with two fellow chicks in tow. Mumbles takes out after them. Unfortunately, global warming is revived for the sequel, and it sends an iceberg to ram into Emperor Penguin Land and trap everyone but Mumble and the three chicks in a small valley of ice.

Eric has decided he wants to fly after meeting Sven the celebrity flying "penguin" (Hank Azaria) – actually a puffin who is on the wrong side of the planet. There's a plot-specific reason for this; the filmmakers otherwise stick to Antarctic fauna. Lovelace, the fat penguin from the first movie (played by Robin Williams as an ethnic stereotype), works as Sven’s promoter of sorts. Sven uses his celebrity to gather an army of penguins to try to help the trapped Emperors.

There are two completely inconsequential subplots, one involving the other Robin Williams ethnic stereotype penguin trying to win the affection of a lady penguin (boring as well as inconsequential), and one following a pair of Antarctic krill who have left their swarm to seek adventure. These krill are pretty much the highlight of the movie.

Humor

One thing that continues to pop up in reviews of animated movies in recent years is how little new movies are relying on toilet humor. Apparently, the makers of Happy Feet Two have decided to rectify this situation. Within minutes, there is a scene involving a penguin urinating on the camera. The scene then cuts away to a reaction shot, then cuts right back to more urine! It is absolutely horrible. Admittedly, there is only one more scene involving toilet humor in the movie, but it involves a character’s head being defecated upon by skuas. It is also incredibly horrible.

It's really just those two tiny moments, but they are pretty unforgivable. There are some decent jokes. At one point, a penguin must frantically play air guitar, which even makes sense in context. In another scene, a baby penguin inexplicably becomes an expert free runner, which makes no sense. Actually, that last one is not a good example. It made me laugh, but not entirely for the right reasons.

The best jokes come from the pair of runaway krill, Bill and Will (Matt Damon and Brad Pitt). Conservative critics of Happy Feet were convinced the whole singing and dancing penguins thing was about being gay. Bill and Will play with these critics; at one point Bill suggests they start a new swarm before Will reminds him they are both male. They also ponder existentialism. Will longs to be free, but Bill asks what, exactly, is free, Will?

Character design

The first movie's freaky character designs really got under my skin. It’s like the designers read the Wikipedia article for cute, but had trouble understanding it. Occasionally, it all comes together, and you get adorable penguin babies. Conversely, the female penguins are probably considered abominations against God by most major religions. Don’t even get me started on Mumble, the giant penguin man-child. Why is he the only one that looks like that? He scares me. Lovecraft would have taken one look at him and exclaimed that was exactly what he was describing.

The stand-outs are Bill and Will the krill. The designs are both realistic and appealing, a hard feat to pull off for what are essentially tiny shrimp.

Conclusion

There was some kind of environmental message, which I guess is important, and something about the importance of individuals, which I suppose is also important, but this movie just is not good enough to bear the weight of all its messages.

All in all, needed more krill. If they had just cut out the penguin stuff and made Bill and Will the Krill instead, this would be a positive review.

Note: Again, the screening I watched was in 2D. However, I can guess that my comment on the 3D would have been, “Eeyurgh! Why is that baby penguin PEEING ON MY FACE!”

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Penguin stories haven't come a long way since Scamper the Penguin have they?

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (3 votes)

George Miller's best furry movie is still, by far, 'Babe', and I think it's highly significant that Miller only produced it, rather than actually direct.

Your rating: None

I've just started reading Lovecraft, some of it is really good. Admittedly others have been quite dull and far too predictable. This was a very amusing review.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

Lovecraft is a personal favorite; he was also a very racist man, as will be pointed out a lot to you if you call yourself a fan of his.

In the Mountains of Madness was one of his better; I didn't want to read it at first, because it is his longest work, and Lovecraft's prose can be just as maddening as his monsters.

In other news, I missed a Kill Bill crustacean-based parody title in the last official sentence. However, that's probably a good thing. Bill and Will the Krill has a nice rhythm to it. The Further Adventures of Bill and Will the Krill is a terrible spin-off sequel idea I would totally be okay with.

Your rating: None

I don't see why people do that, focusing on some irrelevant aspect. I most noticed, so far, in The Rats in the Wall where the cat is called Nigger-man. I had the same thing when I listened to Queen and got told Freddie Mercury was gay. That has nothing to do with if the music is good or not and whether Lovecraft was rascist or not doesn't affect whether he could write well.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None

We may disagree on ... certain things, but here, we're on the same page.

Lovecraft doesn't even get horribly racist outside of his letters; on one hand, August Derleth did him a favor publishing them. On the other hand, he didn't.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

Heh. Reminds me of Neil Gaiman being interviewed about the failed Sandman film project, partially due to Jon Peters ignoring the original story and wanting to insert a giant mechanical spider into it. (Which he tried to insert into several films, finally doing so in Wild Wild West. Kevin Smith's encounter with him about the Superman film is hilarious.) As Gaiman put it, "Hollywood executives really love the smell of their own urine. What they really like doing is urinating in things. And then going 'Hmm now this smells really good.' And being really puzzled when the rest of the world goes 'No, actually it smells like pee.'"

Your rating: None

Well, that was entertaining!

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

"Antarctic penguins repetitively crying out horrific noises. Instead of shout-outs to Edgar Allan Poe, however, these penguins cry out dated pop songs. The horror, the horror."

It is cheaper to pay royalties and licensing to outdated washed up pop stars. If there used todays pop music, the cost will be millions more. Then again do you rally want to hear penguins sing Lady Gaga?

Your rating: None

Oh come now, crossie, this was harsher than usual. Personally, I knew Happy Feet was a movie that wouldn't have a decent sequel if the director cried for it.

Your rating: None

Well, yeah. I had a bit too much fun at both movie's expense.

I usually think my reviews tend to get a bit gushy-positive, actually.

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About the author

crossaffliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy

Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.