If you took the movies March of the Penguins, Fern Gully, Moulin Rouge and 2010:The Year we Make Contact, dropped them into a blender and hit ‘remix’, you might end up with Happy Feet. Feet is part documentary – using photo-realistic animation, part musical – using pretty much any song from every genre, part spiritual oppression vs. personal enlightenment – using elders and young ones, part environmental crusade – using non-animated humans and part coming of age story – using penguins.
I’m not saying I didn’t like the film. In fact there are scenes that I actually loved. The scenes of ice, snow and animals were at times breathtaking, the music had me tapping my fingers and nearly singing out loud, and the characters were funny and fleshed out. It was just a really different experience. I saw my wife after the film, who went to the not so cool ‘Holiday’, and she asked, “So, did you like it”. I wasn’t sure how to answer. Eventually I said “Yes, but it was weird”. I don’t think I’m giving too much away here, as the movie has been out for a few months by now, but **SPOILER** warning ahead. Some particularly good/cool/weird scenes included:
– an incredible opening number including catchy tunes, the southern lights and panoramic scenery
– Queen’s Somebody to Love sung on an iceberg
– An eerie look at penguins inside a zoo habitat, with disturbing humans watching
– Robin Williams in anywhere from 2-4 roles
– Beautiful underwater penguin acrobatics
– A pretty scary leopard seal
– 2 sweet killer whales
– 5 Latin-American penguins (very funny)
I’ve heard comments from others who have seen the film and read reviews of critics as well. Much of what I’ve seen was negative. The only reason I went was because my 9 year old son wanted to see it. In the end, I may have enjoyed it more than him. The movie had an odd combination of non-politically correct humour, and ultra-liberal-environmental propoganda. The funniest thing is, I thought it all worked.