Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Feet

After my first maniraptor movie review, Babbletrish suggested that I should do one on Happy Feet. I had not seen Happy Feet at the time, but, eventually, I did. Spoilers ahead!

I'm going to agree that seeing otherwise realistic penguins with human-like eyes and dancing like humans is rather... uncanny. I'm not someone who cares that much about graphics or whatever, so that alone might not have put me off this movie. But, truth be told, I felt that the other aspects of the movie were rather "meh". That, and I also thought the ending was slightly rushed and not all that believable. Why would a zoo just suddenly release a new animal celebrity back to the wild? How did the humans figure out that the penguins were trying to communicate with them and what they were trying to say? It's as though someone just put that forth as a random suggestion and everyone else just went, "Hey, let's go with that!" The one mildly interesting thing I found in this movie was how Carnivore Confusion was treated. For a moment you might think the leopard seal is a mindless movie monster, and then it talks. Strangely, the orcas of all things are the only animals (besides actinopterygians and humans, naturally) that don't display an ability to communicate with the rest of the cast.

For all its faults, I must confess that, tap dancing aside, this movie has penguin biology down rather well. Emperor penguins really do sing during courtship, and the males really do huddle together for months while incubating the eggs. (Though just so you know, real emperor penguins sound like this.) Also, penguins really do jostle for position when entering the water as a way of checking for predators. Adélie penguins really are plucky birds, and really do offer stones to potential mates. On the other hand, unlike emperor penguins, Adélie penguins don't breed on the ice, even though they live on it for most of the year. A lone Eudyptes penguin (I do not know exactly which species, if any, it's supposed to represent; I'm guessing one of the rockhopper penguins) also shows up in this movie. Eudyptes penguins are usually found on the subantarctic islands surrounding Antarctica instead of the ice, but given that this is just one individual I assume he's a special case. Some skuas get a few brief scenes (though I am, again, unable to identify their precise species), and from what little we see of them they appear to be portrayed fairly accurately.

Finally, this has nothing to do with maniraptors, but the elephant seals are implied to be herbivores. Really? Unless this was meant as a joke that never gets corrected in the film, it sounds like someone got way too caught up in the similarities between elephant seals and elephants.


  1. Glad to see your opinion on this film! What are you thinking of reviewing next?

  2. Probably Legend of the Guardians, which I rewatched recently.

  3. Anvilicious, wasn't it? By the way, Steve Irwin was an elephant seal. What did you think of March of the Penguins, though?

  4. I think I saw March of the Penguins many years ago, but I'll have to rewatch it as I don't remember that much from it.

  5. Do you plan on reviewing the sequel to this film?