'Happy Feet Two'
Director: George Miller
Rated: PG for some rude humor and mild peril
Starring: Elijah Wood, Pink, Robin Williams
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Common Sense Media rating: On for 6+
Moviefone Says: Tap-dancing Emperor penguin Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) is back as a grown penguin with mate Gloria (now Pink, since original star Brittany Murphy died in 2009); they have a young chick named Erik (Ava Graves) who has yet to find his own "happy feet" or singing voice. When Ramon (Robin Williams) decides to leave Emperor land for his Adelie turf, he's followed by Eric and a couple of other young'ins. Mumble follows the kids and when they return home they discover a natural disaster has trapped all of the Emperor penguins in a valley of snow. Throughout this global-warming catastrophe, the penguins often break into elaborate song-and-dance routines to hit songs. Kids may not pick up on the environmental message, and the story isn't nearly as good as the original's, but the animation is superb and the father-son plotline is a sweet reminder of why parents should always support their kids' dreams. Plus, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon play Will and Bill, two krill facing an existential crisis about their purpose in the sea. They're hilarious.
Did You Know?: Mumble's dancing moves were choreographed by tap maestro Savion Glover!
Parent Concerns: There's not so much to object to, but there is some mild peril -- especially as the iceberg strikes and later with the elephant seals. There is also some brief flirting and double-meaning jokes between Ramon and Carmen (voiced by Sofia Vergara). When they first meet, he says to her: "You-Me-Egg-Now!" but she rebuffs him for most of the movie.
Here are three talking points to extend your moviegoing experience.
1. Global Warming: Like the original movie, 'Happy Feet Two' has a strong environmental theme. The global climate crisis wreaks havoc on the penguins' habitats. Who else is adversely affected by the melting and shifting icebergs? How is Sven's situation particularly tragic? Kids, what can you do to become aware of your impact on the environment? Discuss ways your family can reuse more and waste less.
2. Family Values: Just like Mumble was embarrassed about his inability to sing, young Erik is self-conscious about not having the gift of dance like his dad or of song like his mom, until the end of the movie. What is the movie's message about living up to parents' expectations? When does Erik finally discover his gift? What do Erik and Mumble learn about each other while dealing with the habitat emergency?
3. Soundtrack Of Your Life: Most of the musical numbers in the movie are based on top singles like Queen's 'Under Pressure' or Justin Timberlake's 'SexyBack' with slight lyrical changes ("sexy" becomes "fluffy" in the case of JT's signature anthem). What do you prefer -- covers of well-known songs, or original songs ala Disney movies? Is it weird watching penguins take on such popular hits?
Three to See: Animal Adventures
1. 'Puss in Boots': Shrek's lovable rogue warrior cat pal gets his very own spinoff in this action-packed adventure featuring familiar fairy tale characters.
2. 'Finding Nemo': One of the best father-son films ever. Fabulous undersea animation, memorable characters and a touching story make this an all-time fave.
3. 'Rio': Kids and parents will love joining Blu, a sheltered macaw who travels to Rio de Janeiro with his faithful owner to meet and save his one-and-only mate Jewel.
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