Robin Williams as Ramón/Lovelace/Cletus (voice)
Hugh Jackman as Memphis (voice)
Elijah Wood as Mumble (voice)
Nicole Kidman as Norma Jean (voice)
Brittany Murphy as Gloria (voice)
Hugo Weaving as Noah (voice)
Johnny A. Sanchez as Lombardo (voice)
Carlos Alazraqui as Nestor (voice)
Lombardo Boyar as Raul (voice)
Jeff Garcia as Rinaldo (voice)
Steve Irwin as Kev (voice)
Anthony LaPaglia as Boss Skua (voice)
Miriam Margolyes as Mrs. Astrakhan (voice)
Magda Szubanski as Miss Viola (voice)
Elizabeth Daily as Young Mumble (voice)
Alyssa Shafer as Young Gloria (voice)
Michael Cornacchia as Skua Bird (voice)
David Michie as Salesman Penguin (voice)
One day Mumble stumbles across a completely different type of penguin group and they appreciate, and even emulate, his dancing moves. His newfound friends, in awe of his coolness, become determined to help him win the heart of his true love, Gloria. But Mumble’s plight is overshadowed by the mysterious lack of fish in the ocean. Determined to solve the mystery and win the heart of Gloria, Mumble goes on a quest to find what’s causing the fish shortage.
“Happy Feet” is rated PG for some mild peril and rude humor.
The animation of “Happy Feet” is also top notch. The penguins and environments all look very realistic. They also managed to add fun touches to make the characters look unique. Mumble has a little bowtie in his feathers. His mother, Norma Jean, has a Marilyn Monroe-like black dot among her white feathers. A lot of the environments also look very realistic. It’s to the point that when real world, live action humans appear in the film, it takes a while to figure out if they’re CGI or real.
The performances are first rate. Hugh Jackman does a great Elvis impression as Mumble’s father Memphis. The same goes for Nicole Kidman and her Marilyn Monroe impression as Norma Jean. At first glance it looks like overkill to have Robin Williams voicing three characters in the film, but in the end it works. He brings something unique and funny to each character’s performance. Meanwhile, Elijah Wood acts as a great straight man for them. Brittany Murphy also delivers a fantastic vocal performance as Gloria. She can certainly sing as she demonstrates with her version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love” and several other songs.
Finally, “Happy Feet” has a pretty good message for kids. It encourages them to express themselves and it encourages them to respect their environment and help keep the ecosystem in balance. Both things are worthwhile messages for a kid’s film.
What Didn’t Work:
I also had to question one of the song choices Tom Jones’s “Kiss” (or Prince’s, depending on your point of view). Do you really need the lyric “I just want your body, baby, from dusk till dawn” in a children’s film? I would have advised against it.
Finally, “Happy Feet” does go into somewhat of an anti-religion rant. The elder penguins warn against Mumble’s “pagan ways” and his angering their penguin god. It was like watching “Footloose.” While I’m all for encouraging kids to express themselves freely, doing it along with a thinly veiled religious attack seemed inappropriate in a kiddie movie.
The Bottom Line: