Happy Feet’s Charm Doesn’t Solve the Problem of a Shallow Story

happy-feetExtremely cute, yet eventually forgettable; those will be your initial feelings after watching “Happy Feet,” the newest animated film from Warner Bros. that features A-list voices with a D- story.

While there are plenty of giggles to be had during the course of the film, most of them will be by the younger audience, leaving the older viewers with a mixture of slight smiles and sighs of disappointment by the film’s end.

Despite that disappointment however, one would have to have a pretty cold heart to say that the world of Happy Feet isn’t an adorable one. The closest thing it could be compared to in real life would have to be either finding a puppy under your Christmas tree or even better, finding two. Yes, it’s that cute. Regardless of its aesthetic appeal however, the movie is lacking something to tie it all together, most obvious, a deep and engaging story.

It’s not that “Happy Feet” is a bad film, because it’s not. From start to finish, the film is sprinkled with charm, charisma and wit; however, there just isn’t enough to keep adult audiences watching. For instance, while Elijah Wood [Lord of the Rings, Sin City] puts in a solid performance as the voice of the main character, Mumbles, Robin Williams [Dead Poets Society, Robots] steals the show as Ramon, Lovelace and Cletus, but isn’t around enough to keep the laughs coming on a consistent basis.

Instead, the movie flops around, concerned with following Mumbles on his boring journey and achieving the ever so important “happy ending” [making it feel generic by the end], and fails to focus on the relationships between these gorgeous little penguins that are witty, charismatic and cool; all at the same time.

Much like “Everyone’s Hero” and “Over the Hedge,” “Happy Feet” is a prime example of Hollywood spending too much time getting A-list talent and not enough on writing a story that everyone can enjoy. The kids will love it, simply because of the lush environment and likeable characters featured throughout, but adults and teenagers will leave disappointed and go home looking for an old copy of “Finding Nemo” or “Monsters Inc “to get their animation fix.

intervention“Happy Feet” might get some smiles from the children in the audience, but the subject matter is geared more towards the adults who take these kids to the movie. This film is based on the premise that the penguins are starving and are at the brink of extinction. We even see how man has encroached on their habitat when one of the characters nearly chokes to death on a plastic soda can ring. Kids bought the toys and when this movie came out on DVD fast forwarded to all the singing and dancing scenes – particularly when the penguins all dance to Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish.”  But a happy-go-lucky movie this isn’t.

Yes the themes will go over the kiddies heads, and with the lack of a well written plot, will only annoy adults. It would be better to download the soundtrack. There is definitely more satisfaction in listening to that than seeing the film.

-Donna-Lyn Washington

About Patrick Hickey Jr. 13222 Articles
Patrick Hickey Jr. is the Founder, Editor-in-Chief, Master Jedi and Grand Pooh-bah of ReviewFix.com and is the author of the book, "The Minds Behind the Games: Interviews with Cult and Classic Video Game Developers," from leading academic and non-fiction publisher McFarland and Company. He is currently the Assistant Director of the Journalism Program at Kingsborough Community College and is a former News Editor at NBC Local Integrated Media and a National Video Games Writer at the late Examiner.com. He has also had articles and photos published in The New York Times, The New York Daily News, Complex and The Syracuse Post-Standard. Love him. Read him.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.