Reviewing the Reviews: 'Happy Feet'

93449__feet_lPeople love singing animals. (As former EW staffer/current Daily Show writer Tim Carvell observed in our 2003 Guilty Pleasures issue: "There is something inherently wrong (yet so right) about a mouse singing in a high-pitched, mousy voice. It is simply the most human, civilized thing an animal could do. Also, I really like when they wave their tiny paws for emphasis.")

And critics, for the most part, are loving them some Happy Feet. The Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s Colin Covert raves, "With its wondrous visuals and toe-tapping score, [George] Miller’s fable is designed to entertain all ages, but it avoids the triple-dipped sugar coating that gags grownups. Like a Grimm’s fairy tale, it has passages of darkness woven into the fabric of charm and wonderment."

addCredit(“Happy Feet: Warner Bros.”)

Those "passages of darkness" are, however, a point of contention. The Village Voice‘sJordan Harper prefers his penguin movies light: "Mumbles (ElijahWood)… can’t sing, but he’s born with the gift of tap, thuseverything’s on track for a cute story about being yourself. But thenthere’s Robin Williams. Children, innocent as they are, may not yethave grown to loathe the actor’s shtick, but you might like to knowthat he has two — yes, two — roles in this film. And even the weeones may start to notice something’s amiss when the movie’s theme goesfrom ‘be yourself’ to ‘we must regulate the overfishing of theAntarctic oceans.’ No, for real."

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Kirk Honeycutt, on the other hand, seems to reallylike his fowl films to run deep: "In the barren, hostile Antarcticwilderness where these hardy yet somewhat comical birds make theirhome, Miller is unafraid to go for what can only be described as aneo-biblical epic. In his depiction of a plague and a pilgrimage, aGod-like penguin appearing in the sky, the portrayal of the story’shero as a prophet rejected by his own kind and even the gospelorientation of several songs, Miller boldly reaches for spiritualthemes. Happily, it all works."

While I’m not sure if my favorite person at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, actually recommends the film — "Happy Feet is colorful, energetic, fast-moving, visually eyepopping and slightly soulless" — I do know that the Chicago Tribune‘sMatt Pais does not. "Catch it: If you enjoy lines like, ‘Put yourflappers in the air’ and ‘I like big tails and I can’t deny.’ Yeesh,"he writes.

Confession: I totally laughed at that. I’m buying tix as I type.

Comments (6 total)
  • Ed

    This is one of those previews that makes me cringe because it’s such a cheesy when the penguins sing. YUCK!

  • Patti

    Do you know why I am going to see this movie?
    Harry Potter trailer! Woo Hoo!

  • Phil

    Ok, I actually saw Casino Royale last night, and I have it give it TWO big thumbs up!! Personally, Daniel Craig is the sexiest spy to ever slip into 007’s fitted tux. The movie was kick ass & I hope it does well at the box office, BUT i have to admit, as cunning and smashing as Bond may be, I feel Daniel Craig will face a difficult challenge in capturing the box office top spot from these animated penguins. And many of the male college demo that would normally be all about a sleak Bond thriller MIGHT be going to try and catch Borat this weekend, which would split that audience, leaving the family friendly HAPPY FEET taking the top spot on the box office chart Sunday night.
    F.Y.I. Skip Prince’s new single from the “Happy Feet” soundtrack and give Jason Mraz & Chrissie Hynde’s cover of “The Joker” off the soundtrack a listen!!!

  • bluenote

    Oh, mercy God. “I like big tails and I can’t deny!” I hyperventilated, that was so funny!

  • anne

    A) Honeycutt is perhaps one of the best names ever. It could only be better if he was Killian Honeycutt!
    B) That review was hilarious if he was serious about all of that.
    C) Basically I’m going to see this because Elijah Wood AND Hugh Jackman do voices! I don’t care if they don’t technically appear on screen together, it still makes me happy (feet)! (hehe)

  • ashley_cg

    I went to see Happy Feet on Friday night and I loved it! It was hilarious! It had me laughing from the very beginning! Not only were the penguins themselves funny, I loved how they randomly broke into song! It was basically a musical starring a bunch of penguins. Dancing penguins are bound to make an awesome movie!
    I thought the storyline stayed the same. I mean, the movie took a different direction when he started to solve the fish mystery, but he was trying to prove that even though he couldn’t sing, he was just as good as all the other penguins…maybe even better. I enjoyed the movie and I would reccommend other people to go see it. The songs, the animals, and the dancing made for an adorable movie that I loved!

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