Happy Feet Two

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Happy Feet Two
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Genre: Animation
Musical
Comedy
Starring: Elijah Wood
Robin Williams
Hank Azaria
Alecia Moore
Brad Pitt
Matt Damon
Sofia Vergara
Common
Hugo Weaving
Richard Carter
Magda Szubanski
Photography: Color
Release Date: November 18, 2011 (United States)

December 26, 2011 (Australia)

Country: United States
Australia
Prequel: Happy Feet

Happy Feet Two is a 2011 computer-animated family film directed, produced and co-written by George Miller. It is the sequel to the 2006 film Happy Feet, and features an ensemble voice cast that includes Ava Acres, Elijah Wood, Hank Azaria, Robin Williams, Sofia Vergara, Alecia Moore, Meibh Campbell, Lil' P-Nut, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Common, Hugo Weaving, Richard Carter, Magda Szubanski, and Anthony LaPaglia. In this movie, Erik, the son of Mumble and Gloria, must stop the Apocalypse of Antarctica.

Kennedy Miller Mitchell and Dr. D Studios from Sydney, Australia, produced the film, which premiered in North American theaters on November 18, 2011 in Digital 3D and IMAX 3D. The film was released with a Looney Tunes short called I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat starring Sylvester and Tweety. A different short, 'Daffy's Rhapsody", was slated to premiere with this movie, and was switched in production. "Daffy's Rhapsody" instead premiered with Journey 2: The Mysterious Island in 2012. The film received mixed reviews and grossed just $150 million against its $135 million budget, becoming a box office bomb and resulting in the closure of Miller's Dr. D Studios.


Plot

An evil iceberg is plotting to destroy Antarctica. Meanwhile, Erik, son of the penguins Mumble and Gloria, is unable to dance like the other penguins. Erik and his two best friends, Bodicea and Atticus, follow Ramón to Adélie-Land and find that Adélie-Land has been ruled by a puffin con artist named the Mighty Sven, who survived the loss of his native fishing grounds due to his "miraculous" ability to fly and hired Lovelace the Rockhopper as his partner in-crime. Sven and Lovelace choose Erik to stop the apocalypse of Antarctica, causing the other penguins to deem him as a demigod. They then proceed to tell the others that they were saved by humans. The two eventually flee (under Sven's mistaken assumption that the humans were going to eat them) and end up on Antarctica, where Sven performs his first miracle by revealing moss to the local penguins. Sven uses his power of "Sven Think" to help Ramón find a mate. Ramón instantly falls in love with Carmen, another Adélie penguin who is uninterested. Mumble follows the chicks' footprints to Adélie-Land and orders them to return to Emperor-Land, but they refuse. Sven sends Erik back to Emperor-Land with Mumble.

Meanwhile, a couple of krill are in the midst of a swarm. Will is an adventurous and existentialist krill determined to discover what lies beyond the swarm. His implied partner, Bill, reluctantly follows him to ensure his safety. Once separated from the swarm, Will and Bill realize that krill are at the bottom of the food chain, created to be eaten. Inspired, Will ventures out to evolve and "move up the food chain" by eating a real creature instead of being eaten.

Mumble tells Erik that he is unique to the world and that he will someday find his calling, but Erik is oblivious. While trying to cross a perilous ice bridge, the penguins encounter Elephant Seal Bryan the Beach Master and his two young sons, who refuse to let the penguins pass. Suddenly the ice gives away and Bryan is trapped in a deep crevice below the ice. Mumble sets out to free Bryan by luring a leopard seal to chase him down. Seeking acceptance from Erik, Mumble is devastated to learn Erik attributed the feat of courage to Sven Think. Bryan returns to the southern elephant seal beach.

When the penguins return to Emperor-Land they discover that a large iceberg has trapped the emperor penguin population below large walls of ice. The Amigos and the Adélie penguins to bring fish to the doomed Emperor penguins. Meanwhile, Mumble, Erik and Atticus deliver meager supplies of fish to the trapped penguins. Erik attempts to deliver a fish to Gloria by flying and nearly tossing himself over the edge of the iceberg. Mumble scolds Erik for his beliefs, saying that no penguin can fly and that none of the emperor penguins will be able to escape. Gloria sends Mumble off to hunt for fish, calming Erik and the rest of the hysterical Emperor-Land. In the process, Bill becomes inspired to create another swarm of krill but Will refuses, preferring to adhere to his new predator lifestyle.

The next morning, a large flock of skua attack the trapped Emperor-Land. Noah the Elder encourages the penguins to stand up to the birds through perseverance and unity. When all hope seems lost, Bo returns with the entire Adélie-Land, led by Sven, to aid the trapped emperor penguins. Sven orchestrates a cooperative effort to feed the trapped emperor penguins through hunting and bringing back a flow of fish from the sea. Meanwhile, Will becomes increasingly agitated with Bill's behavior and leaves him into the Adélie feeding swarm, to join "fellow predators". In the process he is attached to a fish carried by Sven and down into the trapped Emperor-Land.

The humans who saved Sven and Lovelace come to Antarctica again to help the penguins find a way out. However, a blizzard approaches and causes the humans to flee and not return. Erik urges Sven to teach the penguins how to fly, but Sven reveals that he is not a penguin but a Tufted puffin. Mumble, after watching snow fall into a crevice between chunks of iceberg, begins to tap-dance on the ice and lead the Adélie penguins in a dance to force snow between the ice and weaken it. The plan works until several chunks break loose, sending Bo, Atticus, and a portion of the Adélies as well as several chinstrap, little blue and Magellanic penguins into the doomed crevice. Erik and Lovelace tumble towards the edge, and Mumble grabs the thread from Lovelace's vest. The thread snaps and Lovelace falls on Sven. Mumble and the Amigos pull on the thread that Erik is holding onto and pull him up but Mumble injures his foot, unable to dance and lead the Adélies. Ramón realizes Carmen is trapped below and, risking his own life, jumps off the iceberg to be with her and professes their love to each other. Sven becomes aware of the dancing and proves himself to be a worthy dancer despite public outcry against him. He leads the remaining Adélies in dance while Erik and Mumble venture off to the elephant seal beach. Meanwhile, Will went back in search of Bill and reunited with all others.

Mumble and Erik arrive at Elephant Seal Beach where Bryan is in the middle of a fight of dominance between another large male. Mumble pleads to the elephant seals to help free the emperor penguins. Hesitant to return a favor at such a pivotal time of the year, Bryan declines. Discovering his talent in the form of an operatic voice, Erik commends Mumble for his bravery and lectures Bryan for his lack of kindness. The elephant seals travel en-masse to Emperor-Land. The emperor penguins and the seals begin slamming the ice to the beat of Queen's "Under Pressure", joined by Will, Bill, their krill swarm, the Amigos, Carmen, Lovelace and the newly-reformed Sven. Finally, the iceberg crumbles enough for the emperor penguins to climb out of the crevice and reunite with their families.

Bad Qualities

  1. The plot is absolutely confusing and seems to get lost, finds it's path again, and getting losing it's way again multiple times; the film starts off as a rehash of the first film; Erik is unable to dance, making him very different from the rest of Emperor-Land, then the film focuses on Ramón's search for Somebody to Love (get the joke?), then the story switches to a a krill swarm plot about Will wanting to leave the swarm, which is pointless (see three), then Sven is thrown in, then a global warning message is inserted.
  2. On that topic, the film doesn't know what moral it is trying to deliver; it either wants to deliver the same moral from the first movie, the "believe in yourself" moral, or an environmental message.
  3. Some important characters from the first film, like Memphis and Norma Jean, are absent and not even mentioned.
  4. The subplot about Will and Bill is pointless and serves no purpose to the story. The only time it comes into true relation to the plot is in the end.
  5. While Dr. D Studios' animation is amazing to look at, it's doesn't feel that real anymore, which is what gave charm to Animal Logic's animation in the first film.
  6. The reveal that Sven is a puffin is not only cliched, but is also pointless as the audience can already tell he's a puffin.
  7. Barely any aspect of the Doomberg makes any form of sense whatsover.
    • If the the Doomberg broke off the antarctic, it would've either drifted slowly out towards the open ocean or sit still off the coast.
    • The speed of the Doomberg is not very realistic, especially when it's approaching Emperor-Land.
    • On that topic, it should've been slowed down or even stopped by the sheet of ice.
    • It is so abnormal that some sources even imply that this Doomberg is a character.
  8. Like the first film, the story can get boring a lot of times.
  9. The film's logic is even more confusing than the first film.
    • Like the mentioned first film, the penguins sing songs created by humans about things only humans should know about.
    • Sven says Trademark, which is just weird.
    • Will sings We are the Champions by Queen and Bill sings Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. As if Penguins knowing about these songs wasn't weird enough.
  10. The plot features multiple cliches; the "main character is different from everyone else" cliche, the "believe in yourself" cliche, the "liar revealed" cliche (see five), the "father scolds main character after he screws up" cliche, the "environmental message" cliche, etc.
  11. Alecia Moore (Pink)'s performance as Gloria, while decent, sounds barely anything like the late Brittany Murphy.
  12. In the opening, Erik briefly peed after falling over, which wasn't only unfunny, but also chipped any emotion of the scene.
  13. The film's failure killed any potential for George Miller's Dr. D Studios, including an animated Mad Max film.

Good Qualities

  1. The animation is still spectacular and the detailing, while not as real as the first film, is impressive.
  2. John Powell's score is still amazing, alongside the songs used in the film including Bridge of Light, Erik's Opera, Lovelace Preshow, and Under Pressure/Rhythm Nation.
  3. Speaking of Under Pressure, the scene where the penguins and the elephant seals work together to free the the emperor penguins is one of most intense and epic scenes in 21st century animation, complete the Happy Feet Two Chorus's cover of Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie.
  4. The characters are still likeable.
    • Mumble is a caring father.
    • Erik, while a copy of Mumble from the first film, is adorable.
    • Gloria is also as likeable as she was in the first film. And her singing voice is still amazing.
    • Ramón is somehow even more hilarious than he was in the first film,
    • Will and Bill, while pointless, can be funny.
    • Sven's advice to Erik is one of the best qualities of his character.
  5. A lot of funny jokes here and there.
  6. The environmental is at least well intended and subtle.
  7. "Baby penguins. Cute, but ruthless."

Reception

Box office

The film grossed $64 million in the United States along with $86 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $150.4 million. Produced on a budget of $135 million, the film ended up losing the studio around $40 million. Following the film's financially unsuccessful release and the long delay of Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), Dr. D Studios closed down in 2013.

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the film's animation but criticized it's narrative. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 45% of critics gave positive reviews, based on 120 reviews, with a general consensus being that "the animation is as eye-popping as ever, but Happy Feet Two's narrative is too noisily incoherent to recapture the Oscar-winning charm of its predecessor.