But this isn’t just another chocolate-boxy exercise in animation geekery, these guys have realised just how important a good story is to the movie’s ultimate success. Aside from its fun but rather gimmicky premise, the film has solid dramatic bones. For one thing it has the kind of epic scope that few animated films would dare to take on. Sure, we’ve seen a lot of the component parts of the tale before – the lone outcast on a quest to save an ungrateful people, a son in search of his father’s approval – but they’ve managed to make them seem fresh again.
As pretty and interesting as it may be, the film’s most memorable aspect is the fabulous soundtrack. An eclectic mix of old and new, it includes everything from The Beach Boys to Prince to Queen, not to mention an unforgettable rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” sung by Robin Williams. And the filmmakers haven’t simply bunged the tunes on top of the finished film – they have integrated them into the action and added all kinds of special touches to these much-loved songs. Animated or not, Happy Feet is a musical in the true sense of the word.
Even with all this action going on, the filmmakers have still managed to squeeze in the crowd-pleasing staples that have made animated films into a multi-billion dollar business. There’s plenty of cheeky humour, with Robin Williams leading the charge as the hilarious Ramon, not to mention enough cute ‘n cuddly critters to sink a battleship. The film’s trailers have concentrated largely on the baby penguins, and they are every bit as adorable as they look.
Not that the film is without flaws. The filmmakers have simply tried to cram too much into too little time. There are simply too many songs, too many subplots, too many characters and far too much complexity for such a young audience. The environmentalist message is laudable, but they have taken it too far, overstretching the boundaries of both interest and credibility. The film’s rushed, oversimplified conclusion is totally at odds with the brilliance of the rest of the film.
Though it ends on a somewhat sour note, Happy Feet is still one of the best animated films since Finding Nemo, the gold standard of kiddie movies. At the very least it will give kids (and adults) a remarkably true-to-life glimpse of the fascinating world of the Antarctic, with all its unique creatures and breathtaking beauty. And anyway, who could resist a dancing baby penguin?
- Alistair Fairweather
The kind of all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza that shows us just what animated films have been missing for the last few years. Now if only it didn’t try to ram its message quite so far down our throats.
Just another typical Tom Cruise action film, with nothing to get too excited about. The film is loaded with action-film stereotypes and cheesy one-liners. Read More »
Add your review
Hands of Stone is a bland, unlikable portrayal of a real-life boxer that struggles to hit the highs of Rocky IV let alone Raging Bull or the original Rocky. Mark this one down as “for boxing fanatics only”. Read More »
Add your review
South AfricaCity Press
Johannesburg CBDResourcing Solutions
HousesR 6 900 000
HousesR 6 015 000
HousesR 4 950 000