Happy Feet 2

If you didn’t know any better, you might be tempted to think there were only five months between the original Happy Feet and its sequel… not five years. How else could you explain how unimaginative and rushed Happy Feet 2 seems?

The first of the two hit theaters way back in 2006, so writer/director George Miller had plenty of time to come up with something, um… interesting, but it seems like were right back where we started– mired in a penguin-filled, pop tune-infused, morality tale about how ‘it takes a village’ and ‘underdogs always win’.

Mumble (Elijah Wood) and Gloria (Pink, replacing the late Brittany Murphy) are raising their cute little penguin baby Erik, but the little fella always seems to be making a mess of things and embarrassing himself. When he sets off from the herd (pack? gaggle?) with two of his buddies, dad Mumble goes off after him.

While they’re gone, global warming hits, causing a huge iceberg to break loose and trap the entire rest of the Emperor Penguin flock (colony? bevy?) in a their humble ice crater abode without any food.

There’s also a subplot involving zany Adele penguins Ramon (Robin Williams) and Carmen (Sophia Vergara), plus a head-scratching bit with puffin-impersonating-a-penguin Sven (Hank Azaria).

…which brings us to perhaps the strangest (though arguably most entertaining) bit of the whole movie– Brad Pitt and Matt Damon voicing Will the Krill and Bill the Krill, respectively. The two little, shrimp-looking guys have absolutely no connection to anyone else in the movie and seem to be there solely to spawn some kind of spin-off DVD franchise or something. Odd. Funny, sure… but odd.

Otherwise, if you’ve seen one Happy Feet, you’ve seen ’em both. The varied collection of ‘hip’ tunes (“Rhythm Nation”, “SexyBack”, “Mama Said Knock You Out”, and “I Want to Know What Love Is” are all featured prominently in just the first five minutes), the eco-friendly message (global warming replaces pollution and over-fishing), and the plethora of cute-as-penguin-fluff penguins combine to make a hit-and-miss (mostly ‘miss’) kids’ flick that will be forgotten by the end of the year.

Do yourself a favor and take the kiddos to Hugo or The Muppets instead. They’re both infinitely better, and (bonus!) neither have Robin Williams hitting you over the head with a faux Spanish accent.

2.5/5 stars