Last night Jill and I went to see the CGI movie "Happy Feet" and, I have to say, I was impressed ... sort of.
To be honest, the only reason I wanted to go was to see the rapping baby penguin from the commercials. I knew that bit would take all of half a second (and I was right), but I was pleasantly surprised.
For starters, we have the music. I can't imagine how much the producers must have spent to get the various licenses for all of that music. It was woven through the plot pretty well and often had Jill and I doubled over with laughter, simply because we couldn't believe what they came up with next. Just to give you an idea: in the first minute or so of the film, you'll hear a penguin imitating Marilyn Monroe singing Prince's "Kiss". Not what I expected in a kid's movie at all, but it made me sit up and take notice.
The vocal talent was top notch. Very well done. If I didn't know that it was Hugh Jackman playing Memphis, I would have never guessed. And Robin Williams did a pretty good job as Ramon (although I question the intelligence of the writers making the shorter penguins all Latino stereotypes).
The only problem I had with the movie was the rather bizarre plot. If you've read anything about the movie, you know that the plot basically boils down to this: most penguins sing to find their mates, but one penguin named Mumbles is unable to sing. Instead, Mumbles can dance, but that's discouraged as being "unpenguin". So on the surface, the plot is typical children's movie: be yourself in spite of what others say, yada yada yada.
But then there's a rather odd subplot (or main plot, I really couldn't tell) tacked on about aliens. Yes, you read that right. Aliens. It was pretty funny when it was introduced but as this plot becomes more and more important, things just become stranger and stranger. The last twenty minutes of the movie just didn't feel right to me. It had a deus ex machina feel to it.
I think the problem is that the writers wanted the audiences to think about a serious issue at a children's movie and so they tacked on the serious message at the end of the plot and then bludgeoned us over the head with it repeatedly. It kind of detracted a little.
But overall, not a bad movie and if you're planning on going, I wouldn't stop. Just be ready to stare disbelieving at the screen because of the music.