Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars
Penguins are so darn cuddly. So much so that films like “March of the Penguins” and the first “Happy Feet” waddled home with Academy Awards. And lots of money. Add those two facts up and you get “Happy Feet Two.”
With the thumping beat of “Sexyback” on the soundtrack, we return once again to the waddle of penguins (that’s right, kids, a group of penguins is called a waddle) that enchanted us in “Happy Feet.” Mumble (Wood) is grown up and married to Gloria (Pink, taking over from the late Brittany Murphy). They have a young boy named Erik (Ava Acres) who is, shall we say, choreographically challenged. Mumble couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket but he could sure trip the light fantastic. Sadly it appears that, when it comes to dancing, Erik has two left flippers. Meanwhile, out to sea, we come across two daring krill named Will (Brad Pitt) and Bill (Matt Damon). Will wants to see the world, leave the large school of fellow krill they swim with and snack on something other then plants. “I want to eat something with a face,” he declares to Bill. Old penguin pal Ramon (Williams) can’t seem to buy a date, so he decides to head out in the world to find the future Mrs. Ramon. Dejected by his lack of rhythm, Erik follows Ramon. When the two come across a flying penguin named Sven (Azaria) the adventure begins.
Beautiful to look at and featuring strong voice work, “Happy Feet Two” is a musical that suffers musically. While the first film relied on such classic songs as “Somebody to Love,” “Boogie Wonderland” and “Tell Me Something Good,” many of the songs in the sequel are original. And bland. Though I admit I have no idea how you would go about rhyming the word “penguin.” It’s not that songs like L.L. Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” or the Rivingtons’ oldie “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” are better known. It’s just that they’re better written.
The voice cast does very well adding their personalities, as well as their voices, to the characters. Pitt and Damon get the lion’s share of the good lines and they’re comic typing is impeccable. Azaria has fun with Sven while Robin Williams does double duty as both Ramon and Lovelace. Pink is strong as Gloria while other voices (Sofia Vergara, Common, Anthony LaPaglia) keep the story moving. The film slows down some when Mumble tries to group the various wintry wildlife together but is still visually lovely to look at. Again, the original songs make it not that lovely to listen to.