‘Happy Feet’


If anything could tempt an adult to go see a dancing-penguin movie, it’s the phrase “from the guy who brought you Babe.” That movie got everything right about talking animals, but alas, George Miller does not live up to his earlier work here. Happy Feet starts out well enough on an iceberg, where penguins sing until they find another penguin whose tune matches theirs. (It’s clear that the filmmakers, along with the rest of the world, saw March of the Penguins.) Memphis (voiced by Hugh Jackman) and Norma Jean (Nicole Kidman) link up over a Prince duet and have a chick named Mumbles (Elijah Woods). Chick can’t sing, but he’s born with the gift of tap, thus everything’s on track for a cute story about being yourself. But then there’s Robin Williams. Children, innocent as they are, may not yet have grown to loathe the actor’s shtick, but you might like to know that he has two—yes, two—roles in this film. And even the wee ones may start to notice something’s amiss when the movie’s theme goes from “be yourself” to “we must regulate the overfishing of the Antarctic oceans.” No, for real.