The all-singing all-dancing emperor penguins and their Antarctic friends are back with a clutch of new characters, dazzling 3D animation, and catchy new tunes. As you would expect it's all good fun for the young ones, who won't notice this story is pretty similar to the original film.
Once again father-son relationships, finding your place when you're a bit different and the effects of climate change are the foundation of this icy escapade. This time around, it's Mumble and Gloria's little kid Erik who doesn't quite fit in. He's not a great singer or dancer, two qualities highly regarded by penguins, and Mumble is clumsy in his efforts to reassure and comfort his son. When Erik meets Sven, a penguin with the gift of motivational speaking and flight, he decides flying could be his thing.
Mumble and Erik get a chance to repair their relationship when an earthquake causes a dramatic shift in the land and traps the emperor penguin colony in a valley. Mumble, Erik and two of his cute mates just happen to be saving a large elephant seal at the time, and it's up to them to find a way to save their loved ones.
It's a rather laboured plotline which is frequently interrupted by new characters Will and Bill, a couple of krill in an existential funk.
Voiced by Matt Damon and Brad Pitt they provide a touch of adult humour, although they sound so similar it can be difficult to tell who's who at times.
Poor old Mumble may have saved the day in Happy Feet but it takes him a while to find his feet and rhythm here; there's a lot going on and plenty of other characters vying to take his place as the "cutie". Gloria, originally voiced by the late Brittany Murphy, has been replaced by Pink and she's the perfect choice. Her voice-work is surprisingly emotive, and as you'd expect she is fantastic when performing her songs.
Happy Feet 2 is a step up when it comes to star power and its visuals are crisper and bolder than the original, but it doesn't capture quite the same warmth and charm. That said, though it may lack the heart or jeopardy to be a real attention-grabber it's perfectly tolerable entertainment these holidays.
Cast: Elijah Wood, Pink, Robin Williams
Director: George Miller
Running time: 103 mins
Verdict: More of the same, but the kids won't mind.
-TimeOutBy Francesca Rudkin Email Francesca