MOVIE Happy Feet
PLOT SUMMARY Dancing penguin is exiled from a tribe of singing penguins, meets friends along the way, returns to save the tribe (and the planet).
MOVIE EQUALS March of the Penguins plus Hans Christian Anderson times Fame plus Stomp plus Silent Spring
DIRECTED BY George Miller
WHO LAST DIRECTED Babe: Pig in the City
WAS THAT ANY GOOD? Answering that question would require me to see a live-action movie with a talking pig.
STARRING Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Robin Williams Hugh Jackman, Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, and Hugo Weaving. And Steve Irwin.
ARE THEY ANY GOOD? It's animation, and the only one whose voice is scene-killingly obvious--but still funny--is Williams (of course). So overall, yes--and since even Robin Williams usually stays in character and isn't stealing scenes as badly as he normally does when doing voicework, it's pretty enjoyable overall.
IS THE CGI ANY GOOD? Yes. Yes it is. The subtle atmospheric effects were darn near photo-realistic. (Or maybe they just matted in real clouds and blowing snow like they matted in real people.) Though it seemed the animators had some problems translating the subtleties of Savion Glover's high speed tap dancing to a penguin's anatomy--and who wouldn't?
YES, BUT IS THE STORY ANY GOOD? You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss ten bucks good-bye. That's better than a lot of movies these days. Beyond that, though, the first two-thirds is a by-the-numbers take on the story of the Kid Who Doesn't Fit In But Falls In Love With The Most Popular Girl In School, but then watch out for whiplash as the last third morphs into "Save the Cheerleader. Save the Pengies." except minus the cheerleader. The moral hammer was pounding so hard I kept waiting for the scene to freeze and for Al Gore to walk out and start lecturing.
IS IT REALLY AN ANTI-RELIGIOUS, TREE-HUGGING, LEFTIST COMMIE INDOCTRINATION FILM? Um, no. The three-eyed aliens worshipping The Claw in Toy Story is about the same level of commentary on organized religion--which is to say, little to none. The pro-fishing-ban subplot is an interesting message for what's otherwise being pitched as a feel-good family film, but it's done in such a way as to likely cause more eye-rolling in the audience than a sudden increase the membership of Greenpeace.
DID YOU LIKE IT? Overall, yes. It needed some semblance of a plot to be worth 98 minutes of my time, and moving beyond the simple "I don't fit in, but by just being myself, everyone will eventually accept me for who I am" plot has been done so much that it needed more than just that. Everything wrapped up a bit too fast and neatly at the end, but the novelty of the approach, the excellent music, and the frequent one-liners kept me interested throughout. The singing & dancing numbers probably could've been cut down a little bit, the extended chase scenes could've been, shall we say, much less extended, and the U.N. montage could've been almost completely excised, and I wish they hadn't chosen to stunt the physical development of the main character, but overall, I was entertained throughout, which is what I'm generally looking for in a film.
BUT WILL mightygodking LIKE IT? It all depends on the mood he's in. If he's out looking for toe-tapping rhythms, some fun mashups and juxtapositions of 60's-90's tunes and a few off-color jokes told in an outrrrrrageous Hispanic accent, he'll probably come away considering it relatively innocuous but enjoyable. If he's just gotten done posting a rant on global warming, the benefits of compact fluorescent light bulbs, or using dead humans as fish food, the live-action scenes of the UN debating a total fishing ban in the southern oceans and too-too-white scientists trying (and failing) to learn the latest hot dance moves from the Penguins might warm the cockles of his heart. But if he's just gotten through reading his LJ friends list and is desperately looking to escape the emo and be blown away by Oscar-quality film-making, over-the-top action-adventure, or a touching boy-meets-world drama, he's likely to come away disappointed and chomping at the bit to put together another infamous movie review.
IF THIS MOVIE WERE AN ICE CREAM FLAVOR IT WOULD BE Rocky Road with granola sprinkles
WORTH Weekend matinee
Feudalism: Serf & Turf