17 November 2011

Happy Feet Two - Can it get any Better (or Worse)?

I saw an advertisement on the side of a bus for Happy Feet Two. My first thought was 'oh no'! I saw the first movie with my brother and wrote a review which I am republishing below. All I hope is that the sequel won't be as bad as the first - but with that in mind - we know that sequels in general are never as good as the original... which leaves us an even worse movie.
Avi and I went to see the movie Happy Feet. I will, unfortunately, claim responsibility in choosing the film. I will also admit that I don’t read reviews, so I was not warned that it was an environmental piece of propoganda. I was hoping for a nice, cute movie with dancing penguins. But no. That would be too much to ask for.

It was a horrible movie, it just dragged on and on. I kept hoping that it would end. It begins with the mating season between emperor penguins. It seems that they sing to get a mate...let’s pause here and mention that this is not a kids movie.

So the penguins are singing to each other and we meet our Ma and Pa penguins...Pa penguin, Memphis, singing Heartbreak Hotel and sounding like Elvis or some backwoods Kentuckain. Ma penguin, Norma Jean, is a smooth singing penguin who could have anyone on the block but falls in love with Memphis. They have an egg together and while Norma Jean is off on her trek to the sea he is left with the egg singing/praying to the god that gives them a good fish harvest.

During the course of this praying to the fish god, Memphis lets go of the egg and it rolls in the snow -- the equivilent of dropping a baby on its head. When the egg hatches and we meet the new chick, Mumble (huh?), who is incapable of singing like all the other emperor penguins, but instead can’t control his happy, dancing feet. However, this is a problem in their rigidly, static, stuffy religion run by a penguin that looks awfully like a Puritan of the 1600s, where there is only one way to do things.

Mumble and his dancing feet get blamed for the lack of fish and is banished from emperorland. Mumble promises to return when he figures out why the fish are disappearing...and so begins his incredibly non-interesting journey.

On his way he is chased by a lion-seal, befriended by shorter stereotypical Latino penguins, who of course accept Mumble for his dancing feet. He is brought by the short penguins to the great, “all-knowing” Sunday morning preacher penguin with the fancy feathers Lovelace. Lovelace had a set of plastic rings (from pop cans) around his neck. We all know what that means. People are bad.

To go on and on would be a disservice to all of you reading and would be quite painful. I’ll summarize. Mumble ends up chasing a fishing boat and realizes that “aliens”/people are the ones responsible for the loss of fish. He ends up chasing the boat across the globe and ends exhausted on a beach somewhere, where he’s taken to a zoo. It’s somewhat humorous (not) when Mumble realizes that he finally has an opportunity to bring his plight to the aliens, but is ignored. He begins to lose his mind...when all of a sudden a little girl taps a beat on the glass. Mumble regains his mind, and of course starts dancing.

This dancing catches everyones attention. Of course, a dancing penguin would be quite a sight to see. Mumble is let loose to go back to his own kind with a homing device attached to his back. There he confronts the Puritan penguin who then tells him again that his backsliding is the cause of the penguin population starving. Then lo and behold a helicopter lands to watch the penguins. The penguins realize that this is the moment to start dancing for the people. Even the Puritan penguin dances. Obviously, the old ways of religion are no good. Obviously, all of it should be tossed out the window.

Then, miracle of miracles, the people divine from the penguins dancing that there’s a food shortage and the penguins are starving. When I see a penguin dancing - the first thought that crosses my mind is that they need food (not!). But wait, it gets better. Since people have read the dancing the issue goes to the United Nations where it is discussed and of course SOLVED! We know that the U.N. solves world problems every day. Then finally, by the grace of the fish god, the movie ended.

The first word out of my mouth when I turned to Avi was, “What?!” As we discussed the movie I realized how absolutely rediculous it really was. I don’t mind an environmental message on occasion, but I do mind being bludgeoned with it. People are bad. People destroy the environment. People kill defenseless animals. Whatever.

Then there is Mumble and his journey. He’s on a mission to talk to those taking the fish. We come along on this mission wondering how he is going to accomplish such a task. There’s a buildup and no real confrontation. I was left empty.

I could not even say that Mumble grew up through his adventures. First of all, they were not adventures. He met some characters; the Latino penguins were fun. But Mumble never changed. He didn’t grow. He didn’t learn. He didn’t effect others around him till the end when the people figured out the dancing. Nothing substantial happened during the entire movie.

It ended with what Avi called the Mack Truck ending. (There’s a fancy name for this but never mind.) A Mack Truck ending is when the main character is in a real bind, with no solution, and a Mack Truck comes in and runs over the problem to end it. That’s exactly what happened. It was painful to see.

One last note. The movie was one long song track. I counted approximately 44 songs in the credits. 44 songs at a minute and a half apiece...you do the math.

The up-side in all of this was that I hung out with Avi and made fun of the movie for hours afterward. My recommendation - don’t see the movie.


Batya said...

The downside of all the free downloading and shareware of the last decade is that the studios are seeing their profits squeezed. (I know, my first reaction is boo hoo.) but the side effect of this is that studios won't go out on a limb anymore to make amazing movies which are risky on the profit front. That's why we've been seeing a proliferation of sequels and remakes (I swear, I can't stand the idea of them reuinIng all these classIcs). Many directors have said that you can't get a movie made now unless your budget is under $1 million or over $100 million ("the summer blockbuster"). Also, ive heard that they're constrained regarding leading actor/actress roles by having to select whoever the studios deem to be "hot" or moneymakers in the 6 month period leading up to the funding of the movie. One director said: that's the sort of important thing you should never have to compromise on. While this is probably an exaggeration, I bet there's a lot of truth behind it. And the final result is that we're getting some sucky movies!

Shira said...

Is that what's going on? It's terrible! I refuse to see any of these remakes... I just can't. There's no originality anymore. No imagination. It's painful.