I really, really, really wanted to like “Happy Feet Two” more. Fresh off of laughing my ass off at “Puss in Boots”, I was expecting the same sort of witty repartee and adult innuendo. But while the 3D visuals are excellent (especially the krill swarms), Happy Feet Two is just too damn serious for me.
The script needed a good reworking because the story is all over the place (I was actually lost at times!) with the conflict either forced or left unresolved. In a nutshell, Mumble (Elijah Wood) is all grown up, married to Gloria (Pink), raising children and trying to survive global warning. And that’s pretty much it. While there are some interesting potential subplots, they are all strangely left unfinished. Mumble’s parenting problems with his son Erik (Ava Acres) and a possible rivalry for his son’s respect from a flying penguin named Sven (Hank Azaria), are both interesting stories that are simply dropped. Only the addition of two new characters Bill the Krill and Will the Krill, voiced by real life besties Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, made for some funny moments. (The inside joke referencing Pitt’s multiple adoptions had one woman’s laughter resounding throughout the theater) But for the most part, I just felt sad about global warming and the real plight of the penguins, seals, and other arctic wildlife. It was hard to lose one’s self and relax and enjoy, when the storyline involved the extinction of these beloved animals. And things got more morose when Mumble’s penguin son Erik, sang one of the saddest arias in opera “‘E Lucevan Le Stelle” from “Tosca,” which always just makes me wanna cry. Not exactly uplifting idea for a light-hearted animated film, folks!
In addition, there just isn’t enough dancing! Savion Glover‘s animated dancing is so amazing in the first film, that I happily anticipated that it would be the centerpiece of this one as well. Instead there are only two major numbers in the whole film. One standout in the film is Pink, replacing the late Brittany Murphy, as Mumble’s wife and Erik’s Mom Gloria. Unless there is a Randy Newman song in some other soundtrack, I see a Best Song Oscar for the moving and uplifting song “Bridge of Light” that she sings. It is so inspiring that it instantly became my new theme song. If you saw “Happy Feet” you will want to see this sequel to find out what happened to our beloved Mumble and Gloria. But don’t expect a tons of laughs.