Takes its audience for granted and consistently stoops to adopt the cheaply-earned emotional tactics and hoary clichés of barrel-scraping reality TV.
George Miller’s sequel to his 2007 animated feature Happy Feet represents, sadly, a serious case of diminishing returns. The cute, tap-dancing penguins are still in place, but the satisfying narrative and character development of the first film has been replaced by a bombastic onslaught of sound (much of which is delivered at full-volume by Pink; seemingly recruited to murder classics of the pop pantheon) and a jumbled, fractured narrative structure that has all the subtlety and shading of an episode of The Xtra Factor.
Although the protagonist is supposed to be reticent mini-penguin Erik (Ava Acres), no real insight is ever provided into his character, and plenty of potentially interesting themes are jettisoned by a director all too eager to get to the next big show-stopping moment and rush headlong through a surfeit of underdeveloped, disconnected plot strands.
Happy Feet Two is not without commendable elements, though they're few and far between. It’s an undeniably immersive visual experience replete with snaking, swooping camerawork and dazzling technical effects (particularly the underwater imagery). One sequence – a stand-off between penguins and elephant seals – comes close to being genuinely moving, while Brad Pitt and Matt Damon provide pleasing interplay as a couple of krill who are poles apart personality-wise but destined to be together.
There’s just enough here to keep the kids entertained, but young cinemagoers deserve better than this incoherent, deafening mess. As the likes of the Toy Story trilogy, WALL-E, and even the first Happy Feet have demonstrated, animated, family friendly fare can, and should, be intelligent, well-structured and multivalent. Happy Feet Two takes its audience for granted and consistently stoops to adopt the cheaply earned emotional tactics and hoary clichés of barrel-scraping reality TV.
The first film was surprisingly enjoyable. Can Miller repeat the trick?
Nice visuals and a few chuckles, but there’s way too much going on. And can we have a mute button for Pink, please?
A shambles that’s somehow both terribly lazy and hernia-inducingly overcranked at the same time. Disappointing.