Voices of:  Elijah Wood   Ava Acres   Robin Williams   Pink   Brad Pitt   Matt Damon   Hank Azaria


 This animated feature takes place in Antarctica with emperor penguins plus other creatures, such as elephant seals, birds, and krill (small crustaceans).  The many different animals, accents, and music are meant to suggest that the world is populated with many kinds of beings, and messages about acceptance of differences and the importance of working together are repeated throughout the story.

 A family of penguins made up of father Mumble (Elijah Wood), mother Gloria (Pink), and little Erik (Ava Acres) get separated when Erik has an embarrassing moment and in shame runs off with two friends to another group of penguins, where he feels more accepted.  When his father goes to search for him, he finds him, but after a sudden fissure in the ice, the route back to the mother and the rest of the emperor penguins is not passable.  This is the time for Mumble to step up and become a leader and hero for his clan.  

 Mumble is a dancer, and he uses this skill to devise a way to solve the problem.  It will require the cooperation of everyone, including the elephant seals, who are reluctant to help out other species.  But Mumble and Erik persuade them and as many animals as they can find to use their dancing feet, causing an avalanche, which serves as a bridge toward home.

 A parallel story involves two humorous krill, Will and Bill (Brad Pitt and Matt Damon), who are best friends, but one is more adventurous and wants to strike out on his own to see the world and learn how to adapt to changing circumstances.  Over time he finds out this is a mistake, but due to the loyalty and honor of his friend and fellow krills, he is rejoined with his group.  And unbeknownst to him, his adventures make him a hero.

 Uplifting messages contained in the two main stories are unifying forces; namely, the importance of loyalty and honor so that promises are kept, the value of acceptance of differences and that differences sometimes make a hero, the importance of believing in yourself and aspiring toward your goals, and how cooperation toward a common goal will help assure survival.  One person can make a difference, and everyone’s participation is critical.  

 Unfortunately, the film seems fragmented and somewhat disorganized and confusing; I think much of it will go over the heads of young children, the group for whom the film is made.  

 Bottom line:  Not as entertaining and well told a story as the first Happy Feet.

Grade:  C+ By Donna R. Copeland