Since I have a long break before nursing school starts up, I've been watching alot of movies. Thanks to my mother's Blockbuster Online account, I'm basically able to watch an unlimited amount of movies with no further charge. So I've been basically glued to the television set this week, watching movie after movie after movie. After seeing so many films, you come to realise how bad and overrated most movies are. Very rarely do I end up watching a film that I find not only memorable and engaging, but that affects me on a much deeper emotinal level. Happy Feet is not one of those movies.
After hearing rave reviews from critics and friends alike, I finally decided that I would give the film ago. Besides, the concept of dancing singing penguins seemed kinda cute. Maybe it would end up being like Cars or Finding Nemo, where I actually pat myself on the back for giving the movie a chance. I made up my mind, and figured that Happy Feet would be a good time. Unfortuantely, the film is so murky and badly put together that I find it hard to believe people embraced it at all. I could have written a better script!
The first problem is with the story itself. The entire thing takes far too long to get off the ground, and when it finally does you're bashed over the head with themes that feel like they came straight from the 'Save the Whales' foundation. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against using enviormentalism as a major theme in a movie. Infact, some of my favorite films, including the work of Miyazki, use those ethics to great storytelling effect. Unfortuantely, Happy Feet doesn't have enough of a story behind to make you care about anything it's trying to express. It wants to be taken seriously in the end, but how can anyone take the film seriously when you have a bunch of badly developed Mexican penguins busting out some of the lamest wise cracks I've heard in a very long time. This script should have never seen the light of day.
Here's an entirely different look on the movie. Apparently this guy really liked it! Maybe you will too (the first review is for a differnet movie, but the vid is only three minutes long).
Another issue I had with the film was the badly slapped together stereo-types it wants us to accept as characters. Incredibly one-dimensonal and completly boring, the film doesn't even attempt to be orginal with its inhabitants. Hence the dreadful Mexican penguins that I had mentioned earlier. Not even an all-star cast could save these shallow computer-generated images from inevitable hollowness. One of the biggest let-downs was Elijah Wood's vocal peformance as Mumble, who seems about as enthusatic as a stoned actor in a recording studio after an all nighter. Come on Elijah! You can do better then that!
To the movie's credit, the visuals were simply stunning! By far one of the best looking animated films ever made, if not the best looking animated film ever made. There are some shots that will take your breath away, and leave you craving more. The movie doesn't even seem to understand the beauty of its own surroundings, as it drops you into yet another brain dead penguin dance number. There are barely any quiet moments throughout Happy Feet's runtime, since it insists on constantly engaging the audience in hyperactive action scenes which barely have anything to do with the main plot as a whole. Looking back at one of Walt Disney's greatest animations "Bambi" proves that you can make a kid flick without resorting yourself to ADD style structuring. I wish more animated movies were like "Bambi". The world would be a better place.
I really wanted to like this film, but I couldn't help but be reminded how full-length animation has lost all of it's creativity and zeal. There is not a single moment in this romp that isn't spoiled by eratic directing and a poorly plopped together script. Happy Feet did not make me happy in the slightest.
Rating: C- (only because the animation was breathtaking)