If I were to tell you that the incredibly popular director of the Mad Max franchise was the sole man responsible for the creation of Happy Feet, would you believe it at first notice? I understand if you won’t, but that is quite literally a fact. Mad Max is a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, dark, and brooding film with a desolate, broken world and violent, broken people inhabiting it. However, with the creation of Happy Feet, George Miller has brought that same sense of isolation and loneliness to a family film that is much more pleasant to watch, especially because it’s a story about Penguins, and everyone sure does love Penguins.
How to Stream or Download Happy Feet
You can stream it or you can download the film from a digital store of your choice. Click on the Download button that is located at the end of this review. If you like animated films about penguins, check out also Penguins of Madagascar, Surf’s Up, and Surf’s Up: Wavemania.
The Movie Review
There might be more similarities between Happy Feet and Mad Max than one would like to think. This is also a story of isolation, feeling that dreaded sense of alienation from your own people. Mumble is the kind of Penguin who isn’t like the others because he has an immense love and talent for tap dancing.
This difference in his nature and gifts naturally does upset his clan’s elders, who then go on to exile Mumble for who he is. This is how Mumble sets out on a journey of self-exploration, and self-reflection, meeting the Amigos who help him in realizing how he should learn to love himself.
The similarities are quite clear, yet the differences between George Miller’s other work and Happy Feet are what make this such a wonderfully unique film. Unlike the rest of Miller’s filmography, this film isn’t drowning in cynicism or providing us a satirical overlook of the world and its horrifying nature. Instead, it’s a more hopeful story about understanding oneself and unlocking your true potential as a person.
Miller’s direction is clear and simple here, he wants to tell this story from the point of view of the protagonist, Mumble is the film’s go-to guy and it follows him like a shadow. His story is showcased from all sides, of course, the perspective of how others feel towards him, how his love interest Gloria looks at him, and how the Elders feel about him enough to exile him. Not to mention, the Amigos are actual heroes because they help Mumble in understanding his passions.
Of course, this film would be nowhere close to the quality it is, if it wasn’t for the fantastic voice acting. Elijah Wood as Mumble is perfect casting, he brings a sense of softness and yet pride to the character with his performance. Whereas the late Robin Williams as Lovelace is by far one of the most iconic animated film characters to date. You also have Brittany Murphy being great as Gloria, Hugh Jackman’s untouchable charisma with the character of Memphis, and Nicole Kidman as Norma Jean. However, the weirdest and most spot-on casting in the film has to be Hugo Weaving as Noah the Elder.
These actors all made sure that your immersion within the film was never broken, and we root for these characters despite the fact that they aren’t human simply because of the voice acting. On the other hand, another aspect that brings a sense of immersion here is the fantastic CGI work.
This is a completely CGI film, meaning that the entirety of the film is made out of computer-generated graphics. This gives the director more freedom to make his Penguins do whatever he wants to, and yet they still retain their physical movements akin to their real-life movements.
The quality of graphics and visual work here is absolutely fantastic, every character is distinct looking in their design yet they all have realistic looking designs as well. It’s an incredibly hard feat to pull off, and yet they manage to do so with a sense of subtlety. Not to mention, this film has some of the absolute BEST songs in the history of film. It’s genuinely a movie where every single song is a banger, and you can genuinely love the music here if nothing else is to your liking.
The Bottom Line
Happy Feet is a film that isn’t just for kids, it’s for sure a family film but it’s a movie that anyone can watch and feel connected to. It’s a story of self-reflection, growth and self-love that transcends genres. It’s not just another animated film, it’s a well-thought-out film that isn’t just meant to entertain, but to experience and learn from.
- Wonderfully portrayed message.
- Some of the best songs in an animated film.
- Fantastic visuals, every shot looks like a painting.
- Great voice acting by almost the entire cast.
- Amazing writing, the characters feel perfectly in place in their Universe.
- One or two pacing inconsistencies towards the end.