Happy Feet (2006)

Elijah Wood (Mumble), Brittany Murphy (Gloria), Nicole Kidman (Norma Jean), Hugh Jackman (Memphis)

Directed by George Miller (Babe)

IMDB Summary: "Into the world of the Emperor Penguins, who find their soul mates through song, a penguin is born who cannot sing. But he can tap dance something fierce!"

Keven and I took the girls to see this on Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by my mom, Jess and Lily. For Juliette and Ilsa, it was their first real theater experience. Eh... we managed.

We prepped them as well as we could, catching their attention with trailers from the website and talking about how the theater would be dark, etc. It helped some, but honestly, my girls are just little wusses. Scared by falcons trying to eat Mumble, scared by seals trying to eat Mumble, scared by orcas trying to eat Mumble -- ok, that last was pretty intense. But Ilsa freaked out when Mumble wound up in a zoo and saw reflections of people's faces in the glass. Apparently, that is enough to frighten a 2-yo. They have yet to learn that the main character in an animated film is safe from harm -- although, a la Bambi and The Lion King, you can never guarantee that mom and dad will make it to the credits safely.

Aside from a few funny sight gags, "scared" remained the girls' dominate reaction. I cracked up in a number of places, most of which were inappropriate for and unintelligible to children -- and most of which were voiced by Robin Williams. The man voiced three parts! Did he get paid by the film instead of by the role? If so, maybe they decided to make the most of his talents.

The use of popular songs in montage, a la Moulin Rouge!, was squarely aimed at adults and provided much of the comedy: "Leader of the Pack," "Gloria," "Boogie Wonderland," "If You Leave Me Now," etc. However, I found anthropomorphizing penguins into sexual beings, complete with chest shading on the females to denote cleavage, a little disturbing.

In the end, a light-hearted and entertaining film became weighed down by a heavy moral -- ow, brick to head -- and an improbable ending. Of course the UN is known for its quick, decisive action! Not that the kids noticed. They were too busy hiding their eyes.


Mircalla said...

Is Ilsa not (nearly) 3 years old?

carrie_lofty said...

She'll be 3 on 17 Dec.