Happy Feet

Happy Feet-Elijah Wood

Rating: 2.75 of 5 ★★¾☆☆ 

He’s so accidentally cool

I finally saw Happy Feet. Normally I don’t watch animated movies in theaters, simply because I don’t enjoy them enough to make it worth the effort. But Elijah Wood was in this one and I have inherited a fondness for him from my sister and an old roommate who both adore him.

The first half of the movie was cute and fun and full of energy. It was everything the trailer promised it would be, penguins finding love and singing. Because they were penguins it was adorable. Robin Williams and his band of merry men were hilarious and brought a spark of life that the film had been missing up to that point.

Then it got to the second half and the film completely changed tone. I had heard people complain about the environmental aspect of the film and I didn’t understand that. What could possibly be wrong with a conservation message in a penguin movie? I’m a big proponent of taking individual responsibility for preserving the environment, not just because it’s the only one we’ve got, but because the impact we have on our eco-system is not insignificant and should not be ignored. I sometimes get on a rant too. My issue wasn’t that there was an environmental aspect of the film, it’s the way it was handled.

What was a light, fun, spontanyus film took a dark and depressing turn that wasn’t any fun at all. It was a completely different tone and I found it disheartening. Not because of what the message was saying, but because such an amusing film suddenly had the life sucked out of it. How do you turn back from that? Can the film redeem itself and be fun again; everything I enjoyed and hoped for from the preview? The answer is yes it was redeemable. And maybe that’s part of the point; that the damage we do does suck the fun and life out of the world for its other inhabitants and we have to take responsibility for that, but when we do it can be salvaged.

Still a part of me thinks, if you’re going to do Fern Gully, then do that – don’t try to be a romantic comedy of an animated film at the same time. Because it doesn’t work that well. With apologies to Mr. Miller, pick a tone.

Directing: ★★☆☆☆ 

On a less severe note:
There were several Australian actors who all managed their accents very well. I wouldn’t have recognized Hugo Weaving if I didn’t know it was him and he has a very distinctive voice. Elijah Wood was actually, I thought, the only one who sounded like himself, which isn’t meant as a criticism.

Performances: ★★★☆☆ 

Also, do you wonder where would Fight for Your Right (to Party) by Beastie Boys would have fit in? I do.

Writing:★★☆☆☆ 
Characters:★★★½☆ 
Production:★★★☆☆ 
Overall:★★¾☆☆ 

February 8, 2007


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