'Happy Feet Two' doesn't really fly

November 18, 2011 

Tippity tap. Penguins love music and dancing.

That includes big dance numbers with soaring vocals. We learned that in Happy Feet in 2006. Mumble — the main character — couldn’t sing. As you remember, all he could do was dance and acceptance came from another tribe of the Antarctic birds.

Now Mumble is all grown up, married to the best singer of them all, Gloria. Now everyone sings and dances. Their cute kid Eric can’t find his rhythm. Eric not only doesn’t sing but he also doesn’t tap.

Discouraged, the boy slips away and manages to find the same tribe that helped his dad. Only now they’re led by a penguin that can actually fly. Eric is convinced he, too, can fly.

-- Local show times, theaters, trailer.

If only his movie could fly.

The kiddos will like it for awhile, but it’s a bit too long and by the end, like you, they’ll be squirming in their seats.

Unlike the first flick, Happy Feet Two does have a couple of plusses. Not passing-grade plusses, but enough that I’m going to give it a much higher rating than it deserves.

Those of you seeing this in 3D are going to be impressed. It may be the best I’ve seen since the 3D craze began a few years ago. In most 3D films, I’ll take my glasses off once in awhile to see if we’re really seeing three-dimensions. In many cases, the producers will stick non-3D scenes into the mix.

Writer/director George Miller — who did the first Happy Feet — did not. Every scene comes in three-dimensions, and the style and technology used are very, very good. It also doesn’t distract from what passes for a story which happens in some multi-dimensional films.

In a side-story mostly written by co-writer Paul Livingston, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon voice Will the Krill and Bill the Krill. Like Scrat in the Ice Age series, these guys dominate the movie. Miller should have focused on them and bagged the penguins. Through some "kriller" dialogue, Will decides there’s something better than being close to the bottom of the food chain and is on a mission to move up the evolutionary ladder.

Bill goes along to protect him from himself.

The puns, word play and fun of their story are seriously funny but will be lost on the kids. Maybe it’s Miller’s way of rewarding adults for sitting through a very boring movie.

Mr. Movie rating: 3 stars

Rated PG for mature themes. It opens Friday, November 18 at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Walla Walla Grand Cinemas

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on video.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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