‘Happy Feet’ a warm-hearted sequel

2011-11-22T13:44:00Z ‘Happy Feet’ a warm-hearted sequelLinda Cook The Quad-City Times
November 22, 2011 1:44 pm  • 

If the original, Academy-Award-winning "Happy Feet" left you with your toes tapping, then you'll leave this one with happy feet, too.

In "Happy Feet Two," Mumble (voice of Elijah Wood) has a wife named Gloria (singer Pink) and a son named Erik (Ava Acres) who isn't the crazy-legs dancer his father is. When his father coaxes him to dance, he goes upside-down and "has an accident" right there in front of hundreds of other penguins.

Erik, stinging with embarrassment, takes off with his dad's buddy Ramon (Robin Williams) and two other young penguins. They meet The Mighty Sven (Hank Azaria), who claims to be a penguin who can fly. (Those who are interested in birds will recognize Sven as a puffin.) He is friends with Lovelace (Williams again), who has changed attire: This time, instead of wearing a plastic six-pack holder, he's wearing a sweater, and there's a sound reason for that which I am not going to spoil here.

Instead of romping around on solid ice, the penguins are splashing around in a lot of water this time. The melting ice creates shifts in their environment and leaves them stranded in a kind of valley from which there is no escape. Mumble and Erik, on higher ground, try to figure out a way to help the trapped penguin community, and they have some serious moments with an elephant seal who tries to bully them.

Meanwhile, as comic relief to the penguins' plight, two krill named Will and Bill (voices of Matt Damon and Brad Pitt) set off on a journey of self-discovery. They don't want to exist simply as whale food any longer and decide they can become predators.

Once again, the message is about being yourself and the importance of interspecies cooperation. There are even nods to these universal themes in the dialogue and songs, which range from "Rhythm Nation," "Under Pressure" and "Rawhide." In one scene, Erik delivers an extraordinary tune from the Puccini opera "Tosca." You'll find it either ridiculous or incredible. (I liked it because it's so unexpected.)

I saw the movie in 3-D on the IMAX screen, but I don't think you need 3-D to enjoy the charming characters in this morality tale that's meant for all ages. Get your feet going and take in this warm-hearted sequel about the importance of working together to save each other - and our planet.

 

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