Everyone wants to fit in somewhere.  We all have our strengths and weaknesses and it’s important to recognize both.  It’s been approximately 5 years since the premiere of the first Happy Feet film and considering its major strength was how it appealed to audiences and was a financial success for the studio.  So naturally a second needs to be made.  And now, approximately 5 years later we get the sequel.

In the first film we learned that Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) cannot carry a tune, but he does have a strength, and it’s dancing.  Now, married and with children, Mumble’s son Erik (voiced by Ava Acres) doesn’t quite know where his strengths are in the Emperor penguin world.  On the other hand, Mumble can dance and his mother Gloria (voiced by Pink) can sing.

Robin Williams voices two characters in the film.  The first is Ramon, a short little penguin that craves to be loved.  He’s a charmer but after so much rejection he decides to leave home and search out a mate.  He goes to the Adele penguin homeland and meets the mighty Sven (voiced by Hank Azaria) who can actually fly.  Their homeland is led by Lovelace, the other character voiced by Williams.  Unbeknownst to Ramon, Erik and some of the other kids have followed him there.  Erik takes to Sven and believes he can be different and find his place.  Mumble, in an effort to find Erik comes to get the kids back.

While they are away, a giant ice sheet collides with their homeland and creates an impassable barrier for the Emperor penguins.  It’s left to Mumble, the kids, and whatever help they can get to save their friends and family.

The film is presented both in 3D and 2D.  I had the opportunity to see a 3D presentation and I will say that the 3D is effective and very good in this film.  I felt as though the animation was crisp enough and the scenes were created in a way that brings out the highlights of 3D.  I don’t think that 3D adds any immediate value to the film, but in no way do I feel like it’s not worth the extra couple of dollars.

Heartwarming and inspirational, the film definitely touches on aspects of finding ones place in the world that anyone can relate to.  We’re rooting for little Erik to find his reason to be happy and what his strengths are.  The film doesn’t have as many songs as the first one, but the story is solid and moves at a good pace.  George Miller, the director had a strong sense of how to take this story and weave together a strong family film that will appeal to audiences of all ages.

The vocal talent of the cast is excellent.  Every character on screen does a good job of putting emotion into the words and that comes across on screen very well. Two of my favorite new characters are Will (Brad Pitt) and Bill (Matt Damon) the krill. The two of them are krill and Will decides that there must be something beyond the giant swarm of krill that they live in and the two set off on their own adventure. The scenes with them are written well and very funny.

For those families out there that would rather go see a quality family film about finding your place in the world, and not a film about teenage romance (you know which one I’m referring to), then I encourage you to go out and experience Happy Feet Two in theaters.  I don’t think you’ll be disappointed at all.

FINAL GRADE:  A –

Reel Film News Movie Review by Bill Ayres

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