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Happy Feet Two Review

Mumble, the hoofing emperor penguin from the first Happy Feet (voiced again by Elijah Wood), now struggles to make a fatherly impression on his own chick, Erik, who has instead found his role model in a mysterious beaked penguin, Sven (Hank Azaria, doing burlesque Swede), who has become a messianic figure through his unheard-of ability to fly. Happy Feet Two fills its speaking parts with a cast of A-list vocal talent—Brad Pitt and Matt Damon play a codependent couple of shrimp-like krill—and has a CGI'd critter cast of thousands. It has more morals than a stack of Aesop's Fables, too: Aside from now-standard kiddie flick eco-hysteria, we learn that individualism and breaking from the herd is good, just so long as you return to the herd eventually to engage in interspecies collective action. (Mumble organizes to rescue his fellow emperors when an iceberg turns their colony into a prison.) Really, the movie has absolutely everything except the light touch required for unaffected charm—the mugging is savage—a single piece of memorable original music, or a production number that's celebratory rather than trampling. It's hard to believe this same George Miller directed the tender "If I Had Words" number in Babe; as it is, the short flamenco face-off in DreamWorks' Puss in Boots has considerably more choreographic zip than anything that happens in 99 minutes here.


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