International Writers Magazine: Film Review
Directed by George Miller
With the voices of Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood,
Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, Anthony LaPaglia and many more in
a cast of thousands
Sam North review
year we all trooped into the multiplexes to see March
of the Penguins and came out amazed at their indomitable
will to live and survive the harsh elements of Antarctica. Now
we have sing and dancing Penguins and if this doesnt fill
the multiplexes all over again there is no justice in this
world at all.
One look at the
credits at the end of this American-Australian production and youll
realise that almost half of Sydney must have worked on this animation
production. The attention to detail is astonishing and as much thought
has gone into the songs as the storyline and the whole thing packs a
Memphis (An Elvis impersonating penguin) woos J with his heartsong in
the mating season. If there is one thing thats important in the
Emperor penguin world is finding your heartsong, the one special song
that will lure that one special female into your orbit.
In penguin world once the bride has produced the egg, she quickly hands
it over to the guy and heads on out to party. The guy has to stand with
the egg between his legs for months in the freezing snow and wait for
it to hatch. Memphis in a distracted moment lets the egg roll away and
although he gets it back, has he damaged the chick inside forever? Will
it even hatch?
Mumble eventually arrives a tad late and he is a bit different. He cant
sing. He can tap dance however and Memphis isnt a happy penguin
about this. Not at all.
Mumble is doomed to loneliness. He doesnt fit in and he is shunned.
His one talent, tap, isnt appreciated at all, especially by his
Separated from his own breed he encounters the X group of penguins and
his life begins to change. Of course it helps that Robin Williams is
masquerading as a penguin here and once he gets going singing My
Way in Spanish you just know that one day soon Mumble will get back
home and win the girl of his dreams.
Only it isnt quite that simple. Mumble is also blessed with a
brain and questions. When he sees a huge lifting crane sink to the bottom
of the ocean he wants to know where it has come from and then there
is the question of aliens are they eating all the fish?
Are they invading Penguin world? He is like any child who just asks
why until he gets answers.
Feet is not just a cartoon. It has a serious message. The Antarctic
is the last pristine place left on earth and with the pressures
on humans, some 6.5 billion of us now, we are just gobbling up all
the resources that will leave Penguins and Seal Elephants and other
creatures with nothing to eat. We have all but wiped out Tigers
and big game throughout Africa with our greed, the penguin, with
their thousands of years of traditions is under threat too. Not
just from a diminishing food chain but pollution too and this is
graphically brought home. The scenes when the Penguins discover
the human settlement are truly awesome and scary too.
The animation is
truly astonishing, the beat relentless and there are some good laughs
along the way as Mumble finds er his feet. The music ranges from Boogie
Wonderland to Hip-Hop and you never saw a group if hipper penguins.
The tragedy, when Mumble finds himself in an Aquarium, is all too real.
(As one, who grew as depressed as the penguins themselves watching them
in the Valencia Aquarium in Spain, no Penguin should be held in captivity
for our stupid gaze.).
Adults and kids will be amazed by Happy Feet and the message
is a serious one. Robin Williams gets to play two roles and this film
really comes alive around his characters. His Lovelace, the penguin
love machine is a hoot. But Brittany, Elijah and Nicole and the rest
give as good and although long for an animated feature, you will be
uplifted by the sheer dynamics of this wonderful movie.
© Sam North December 2006-12-03
Sams new book on the coming flu pandemic Another
Place to Die is out now
and available from all good on-line bookstores.
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