Mumble is cute. The animation looks great on this disc.
Too much singing. Too many annoying characters.
Mumble the penguin has got some big problems. He' s a dancer in a world filled with amazing singers. Such is the set up for the Academy Award Winning Happy Feet.
Tap dancing is all Mumble wants to do yet that is impossible because all the other penguins are great singers. In addition to this, there is currently a fish famine which many of the Emperor Penguins blame on Mumble. Sadly, this gets our furry friend kicked out of Emperor Land and into the the far reaches of the North Pole. Realizing that he must find out the reason for the lack of fish, Mumble sets off on a journey to help his people. Along the way, Mumble makes friends like the Adelie Amigos and the lovely Lovelace, and it is through many trials and tribulations that he realizes he is going to have to dance, not sing, his way into a romantic interlude with the woman he loves (apparently, these animals sing to one another in order to bring about a relationship). This movie is filled with many singing numbers, a lot of comic voice stylings by Robin Williams and a plethora of amazing animated shots.
At it's core, Happy Feet is a film about being true to yourself. About taking those things that make you different from the others around you and using them to show the world just how special you are.
There are two of these in this section. They are "Mumble Meets a Blue Whale" and "A Happy Feet nt." These are both very well done and could have easily found their way into the movie. They keep the same zany, slapstick vibe of the film going, and I think my only complaint is that they are too short. I would think that a DVD of this nature would be packed with deleted scenes (even if it was just still drawings set to a voiceover track). The color and look of these two sequences is quite pristine and I got the impression that these were created just for this release.
Dance Like a Penguin: Stomp to the Beat
Savion Glover who choreographed this movie and also danced as Mumble, takes us through this story, while showing how he did certain scenes. We see his body in the motion capture suit and then we see him go to work, dancing around, and then these scenes are juxtaposed with their animated counterparts. He talks about the themes of the film, how Mumble had to sing with his feet and he also takes us through the whole process of using tap dancing to develop this character on screen.
Widescreen Version. Presented in a "Letterbox" widescreen format preserving the "scope" ratio of it's original theatrical exhibition. Enhanced for Widescreen TVs. This DVD looked awesome. I can only imagine how it will play in one the next generation formats, but if this Standard DVD is any indication than home theater enthusiasts have a lot to be excited about. The best way to describe this release is lush. The way the snow looks, the way the animals move around on the snow, it is quite impressive that all of this is completely from the imagination of the people thinking this stuff up. Lastly, the colors on this release have an almost fabric-like texture to them. There are times where it seems like you can actually pull the characters off the screen and into reality.
Dolby Digital. English, French and Spanish Dolby Surround 5.1 EX. The audio on this release is also top notch. Getting passed the fact that I wasn't crazy about the songs, I thought that the ambient noises were part of the reason why this film won an Academy Award. Everything just sounded right. The airy, snow-like sounds among the glaciers, the stillness that the filmmakers would sometimes allow at certain moments, and the overall feel that this movie had, I never felt like I wasn't watching what I was supposed to be watching. Now, if only they could do something about all that singing.
There is an embossed, cardboard cover that goes over this DVD's amaray case. We see Mumble and the rest of the penguins on this as they flail around and kick up their feet. The back features more images of Mumble and the other characters dancing around, with a clear blue sky and snow all around them. There is a small description of what Happy Feet is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. This is the kind of packaging that should definitely grab parent's and children's attention.
In theory, I should have loved Happy Feet. I should have loved the ideas and themes that were behind the very heart of this story. I should've fallen in love with all of these characters. While I loved Mumble, I just found every other animal sorely lacking anything that I could attach myself too. I didn't enjoy the singing, I didn't enjoy Robin William's antics (he should have only done one voice), I didn't enjoy the way this story was told. This was quite a surprise to me because when I sat down to watch this movie I expected to fall in love with it. I expected to be blown away by how well put together it was. Sadly, I never was.
Anybody who has followed any of my reviews knows that I don't like musicals. They take me out of the story and constantly remind me that I am watching a movie. The fact that I didn't like these songs at all (too modern for my tastes) makes me think A) I just didn't get this film or B) I was simply the wrong person to review this movie. I will say that the animation was great and that on DVD this thing looked pristine. It is truly amazing what can be done with computers nowadays.
That said, I think too much of Happy Feet relied on being cute and quirky when it just should have told it's story and stuck to it's central idea of being proud of being different.