Happy Feet (2006)

happy feet poster 2006 movie
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 7/10

Strange and unexpected twists

Movie doesn't flow well

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Happy Feet

Studio:  Kennedy Miller Production

Genre(s):  Animated/Family

Release Date(s):  November 17, 2006

MPAA Rating:  PG


I’m never going to be like other penguins…I was born this way!

Mumble is different than the other Emperor penguins.  He was born with a strange waddle and is unable to sing.  With no heart song, Mumble may never find a mate and is ostracized from his community.  When he meets up with a group of Hopper penguins, Mumble learns there might be more to the world…including a strange alien presence that could be taking the fish.  Mumble and his friends are out on a quest to find the aliens and bring back the fish.

Directed by George Miller, Happy Feet is a computer animated film.  The film was widely praised and financial success.  The movie also went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.


Don’t look up!

Happy Feet came out during a wave of penguin mania.  There was March of the Penguins, Madagascar (which featured penguins), and Surf’s Up.  I missed pretty much all of these films…though I like penguins, I have no great desire to watch movies about penguins.  Happy Feet turned out to be a very strange movie.

The story of Happy Feet is where Happy Feet gets weird.  The movie is very much a musical at the beginning with lots of songs and mash-ups of popular music (it reminds me a lot of Moulin Rouge…perhaps because of Nicole Kidman’s ties).  The movie then turns into an adventure for awhile before ending up with a strange human-penguin interaction and an environmental film ending.


Youtube sensation!

The movie also reminds me a lot of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  The whole set-up is the same set-up and it is obvious that the movie is not talking about the fact he can dance.  The whole “I can’t change” and “I want to be loved for what I am” is an obvious metaphor for homosexuality.  The message isn’t bad one, but it feels a bit odd and out of place.

The voice work is pretty strong for the movie, but in picking stars for voice actors, it brings some unnecessary attention to the roles.  I can’t hear any of the Robin William voices without seeing Robin Williams.  I think it is more of a distraction than an addition to the plot.  Elijah Wood plays the lead Mumbles with Brittany Murphy as his love interest Gloria.  Other voice actors other than Nicole Kidman include Hugo Weaving, Hugh Jackman, Steve Irwin, and Anthony LaPaglia.


Let’s get dancing!

Visually, the animation is quite strong.  The movie does a great job getting the penguins movement right…until they start dancing.  The movie reminds me of some clever internet animation or something that belongs in a Coca-Cola holiday commercial.  It is quite weird (especial when the humans recognize it as dancing).  The humans are done my motion capture and look a bit better than some other animated humans.

Happy Feet was a bit better than I expected, but simply in the weirdness factor of the plot.  I didn’t expect the story to go where it went and that was a pleasant surprise.  Happy Feet was a big success and followed up with Happy Feet Two in 2011.

Related Links:

Happy Feet Two (2011)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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