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Emperor Penguin Mumbles (voice of Elijah Wood) is born different to the others: he can't sing, which is how penguins find a mate. His special talent is tap dancing, or happy feet, as he calls it. Considered an outcast by all the other penguins except his mum, Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman) - even his dad (Hugh Jackman) is ashamed - but Mumbles finds a soul mate in Gloria (Brittany Murphy). Even she can't save him from Noah the Elder (Hugo Weaving) who casts him out. But then he meets with the kooky Adelie Amigos, led by Ramon (Robin Williams) who quickly take to his happy feet and introduce him to Lovelace the Guru (Robin Williams), who eventually leads them to the 'aliens' who are littering their world, and taking all their fish. Mumbles now has a mission ...

Review by Louise Keller:
With its cast of thousands, Happy Feet is a spectacular extravaganza of a musical that breaks the ice both technically and literally. Visually, George Miller's fantasy is a dream, with its saturated colours, technical gee-whizzery and adorable singing, dancing penguins that lure us into their unique icy world. It's an adventure, musical, romance and coming of age story all rolled into one, and audiences of all ages will be captivated. At the story's heart is the story of one little penguin who dares to be different and finds a way to make a difference. Beyond the cute factor, there's an ecologically sound moral, although the integration of humans into the story is its weakest point. While the film may lack the kind of emotional depth we encountered in Babe, it is a truly magical experience.

'It just ain't penguin,' says Hugh Jackman's Penguin dad Memphis, when Elijah Wood's baby Mumble taps his penguin feet in a burst of happiness display. If you saw the Oscar winning March of the Penguins, you will be familiar with the nurturing process when the mother penguin leaves the precious egg to incubate in the male penguin's care. It is the moment when Memphis drops the egg, that the damage is done, and the musical gene common to all penguins skips its way into a dance gene instead. There are singing classes in search of a heart-song, followed by wonderful scenes in which Mumble teams up with the cuter-than-cute Adelie Amigos Latino penguins (headed by Robin Williams) who sing up a storm. All the voices work beautifully - Jackman as the Southern Memphis, Nicole Kidman as the breathy Norma Jean, Brittany Murphy as Mumble's diva girlfriend Gloria, and Wood as the unselfconscious penguin who dares to believe.

The music is cleverly conceived and we have great fun as the penguins slip and slide down the icy slopes, endure the terror as the whales snap their jaws and watch in wonder as they dive into the waters in formation and perform impressive gymnastics. It's a triumph for Animal Logic who has brought the penguins to life and the scene showing thousands of penguins tapping their feet in harmony is a delight. The innovation is inspiring, in this happiest of happy films that will make audiences smile all through the summer.

Happy Feet on DVD includes an interview with George Miller by two young fans.

Published April 26, 2007

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(US, 2006)

VOICES: Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, Robin Williams

PRODUCER: Bill Miller, George Miller, Doug Mitchell

DIRECTOR: George Miller

SCRIPT: Warren Coleman, John Collee, George Miller, Judy Morris


EDITOR: Christian Gazal

MUSIC: John Powell


RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2006


SPECIAL FEATURES: Interview with George Miller

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: April 26, 2007

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