Editors' pick

Happy Feet

Happy Feet movie poster
MPAA rating: PG
Genre: Animated
Animated tale about a young emperor penguin who, unable to sing to attract a mate, must explore other talents. The impressive roster of voice talent includes Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman.
Starring: Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, Brittany Murphy
Director: George Miller
Running time: 1:27
Release: Opened Nov 17, 2006
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Editorial Review

When it comes to pleasing a crowd, you can't fail with puppies, pandas or penguins. Which is why anyone watching "Happy Feet," a computer-animated flick about an adorable tap-dancing, blue-eyed penguin named Mumble is going to, well, flip.

At an early age, Mumble (voice of Elijah Wood) realizes he can't sing, let alone come up with the special "heart song" that every able-bodied penguin needs to attract a mate. But the croaky fuzzball sure can hoof, or would that be "pad"? The movie, a mythic adventure in which Mumble is banished from his fellow waddlers before returning with newfound confidence and some awesome snow-floor routines, follows the familiar "Ugly Duckling" pattern. But its terrific songs -- Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, Queen, Earth, Wind & Fire reinterpreted by the likes of Pink, Brittany Murphy and k.d. lang -- are a warm cushion of welcome. Director George Miller imbues every sequence with extraordinary fluidity and visual invention. And the humor is terrific; in other words, Robin Williams is in the voice cast, with three parts, no less. (His best role? A quippy Latino penguin named Ramon.)

What's truly surprising about "Happy Feet" is not its giddily brilliant entertainment, its intimate knowledge of the culture or its toe-tapping music. It's how commonplace these qualities have become in computer-animated movies from 1995's "Toy Story" on through this year's "Over the Hedge." "Happy Feet" may be just one of the crowd, but what a great crowd it is.

-- Desson Thomson (Nov. 16, 2006)

Contains ominous themes of environmental destruction to the planet.