Friday, November 17, 2006

Happy Feet review

I love animated movies. I think 10 times more creativity and time goes into animated movies and it shows. I do however prescreen animated movies for my kids as I am a fan of anime (wonderfully done and usually bloody Japanese animation) and more “adult” cartoons. I now have another reason to prescreen my movies: Ferngully is no longer the worst indoctrinationist kids’ movie I have ever seen. Happy Feet is.

But first, the good parts. It’s gorgeous and extremely well done, and the voice acting is flawless.

The not so good is that for a certain age group, the movie is extremely inappropriate. For one thing, one premise of the movie is that penguins attract mates through their singing. A few songs chosen: “Kiss” by Prince (you don’t have to be beautiful to turn me on, I just need your body baby from dusk to dawn”, and “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men. Yeah, slightly inappropriate there.

Now, the really bad.

At first, I thought the storyline was good. It was about a penguin (Mumble) who instead of sings (which he does badly), dances. For this he is shunned, and he eventually meets a group of penguins who accept him for this and actually think it’s kind of cool. I can deal with that kind of storyline.

But then Mumble returns to his colony, bringing his dancing buddies with him and subverting his fellow youth. The elders get really upset, because they think Mumble has created the new food shortage by offending the great Penguin God with his un-penguinlike dancing. Mumble doesn’t agree, so in order to prove it’s not his fault he goes in search of who is really causing the shortage of fish, which of course turns out to be overfishing by MAN.

He tries to chase the fishing trawlers but fails, and is spit up by the ocean onto a beach somewhere. He’s taken to an aquarium where he tries to talk to the humans but fails because they don’t speak “Penguin”. He eventually figures out that he can get the necessary attention with his dancing and the humans start “listening”. Somehow, by some miracle that the movie doesn’t explain, he is let back into the wild with a radio transmitter and finds his colony. He convinces all of them to dance to get the attention of the humans following his transmitter. The humans find him and the penguins dance for the humans who figure out, “oh, they’re trying to tell us something!” All of this is interspersed with film of real humans (very artfully done actually) and these real humans tape the dance and it gets sent around the world.

Because of this display of intelligence, the humans figure out the penguins are starving and due to overwhelming public support of the penguins’ cause, the U.N. BANS ALL FISHING, and eventually all eating of fish. And this is the great big happy ending, showing the penguins happily devouring THEIR fish.

Yes, it is and environmental nutjob and PETA wet dream. I wasn’t kidding.

Am I exaggerating? Unfortunately NO. I wish I was. I had high hopes for this movie. I’m just glad I pre-screened it before taking the kids.


Just call me Mel, everyone else does.