Friday, November 11, 2016

Family Movie Night: HAPPY FEET

Welcome to another installment of FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT, where we give our recommendation on a family-friendly movie to enjoy. Today we look at an Academy Award winning family friendly film from 2006, George Miller’s HAPPY FEET.

Happy Feet is the 2006 winner for Best Animated Feature and is directed by acclaimed director George Miller. The film is about a penguin named Mumble who can’t sing (something all penguins can do) and develops his emperor penguin characteristics slowly. This film has a star studded voice cast including Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Robin Williams, and Hugo Weaving. This film is quite pleasant and entertaining throughout but is really just kind of a nothing feel-good film at the end of the day.

On the positive end, the voice cast and music in this film are delightful. They draw you into the various characters and situations and make you kind of groove along to a movie that is about music and dance. It’s incredibly uplifting and pleasant. The film also shows our characters having a lot of fun. There are certainly plenty of challenging situations in the story (and I think it tries to say something about humans interfering with the life styles of animals pretty ineffectively) but there is a vibe of real fun and enjoyment that makes this movie incredibly pleasant to watch.

I think George Miller really drew a main character in Mumble, in partnership with Elijah Wood, that the audience can attach themselves to and appreciate his struggle. There are moments of happiness and sadness for him throughout the film and you do feel the emotional levels in those by virtue of the fact that you connect with and care about this main character.

The real negatives in this film are that it really never elevates its story beyond a very basic coming of age/Footloose-ish tale. It really wasn’t all that intriguing and watching this movie is pretty much just a mildly entertaining sounding way to kill some time. Moreover, looking at this film now, the animation in it is quite weak. They did some neat things with the water but in the era where we’re at now the penguins just don’t look quite right and the water and ice environment didn’t look quite right either.

Overall, Happy Feet is a fairly inoffensive and mildly enjoyable way to spend an hour and a half. Mumble is a compelling character and the film has catchy and fun music. It has a certain “cuteness” that will also appeal well to kids. This is worth checking out some time for a nice and relaxed casual family movie night.

Ryan’s Score: 7/10

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