Happy Feet 2

The second instalment in the chronicles of the musical inhabitants of Emperor Land comes to cinema screens, and once again those inconsiderate human bastards are shitting on Antarctica. Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) and Gloria (P!nk replaces the late Brittany Murphy) now have a baby chick, Erik, who can’t dance, and so is made fun of by the rest of the tribe. Upset, Erik runs away from the tribe and comes across another group of penguins that worship Sven, a penguin (actually a puffin) who can fly. Erik becomes enchanted by Sven’s pseudo-religious rhetoric, and armed with the knowledge that it’s okay to be different, Erik returns home – just in time to witness a global warming-caused catastrophe befall his home and endanger the lives of his penguin nation.

At first appearing unlinked, there’s also the side-story of Will and Bill, (Brad Pitt and Matt Damon) two microscopic krill who leave their seemingly infinite swarm, in the hopes of evolving beyond their place at the bottom of the food chain. Obviously, this ties in with the main plot eventually, but what’s most interesting here is the explicit addressing of their relationship in the dialogue: “Let’s make our own swarm!” “We’re both males.” “We can adopt!” Yes, that’s right, Will and Bill are very possibly a gay couple.

The ‘aliens’ from the first film also return, though do little aside from perform a human-penguin duet of ‘We Are The Champions’ which was quite rousing. The same goes for all of the soundtrack, with P!nk’s vocals accompanying a penguin chorus on ‘Under Pressure’ being the perfect choice for both the story’s climax, and to hit home the environmental moral.

Though this instantly seems a rehash of the first film, along with its messages of acceptance, and warnings of how humans are destroying the ecosystem, there’s enough here to justify a second film. While the first film was about overfishing, this is about climate change, and how we are destroying precious habitat. The use of 3-D cinematography was superb, highlighting just how beautiful nature can be.

Overall, though, it could have been better. There just seems to be too many characters with not enough focus on any single one. Still, you get a penguin urination scene within the first ten minutes – that can only be good, right?

[Joseph Nelson]

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