Happy Feet 2 starts off on a happy foot (pun intended!) with a grand opening montage of dancing and singing penguins. This film had us tapping our feet and singing to surprisingly cross generational selection of songs covered in the film. Mumbles (voiced by Elijah Wood) is now an adult penguin with a family of his own. His wife Gloria (Pink) is one of the most beautiful female penguins with an amazing voice who tries to foster a more positive relationship between Mumbles and their little penguin, Erik (EG Daly) who finds himself without “happy feet” and rather clumsy.
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The film opens in Spain, where a man who has been pulled from a fishing net clutches a journal he claims contains a map to the Fountain of Youth. The British get wind of this discovery and immediately pull a crew together to recover it led by none other than Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), Captain Jack Sparrow’s arch nemesis, now sporting a powdered wig, a wooden leg, and new digs.
The film delights children of all ages- Harlan (our resident aged 6½ film critic) was giggling at the fumbling birds and was captivated the entire film. He simply loved it, and other children in the theater seemed to be happily entertained. The plot was family friendly and easy enough for the little ones to follow.
Rango is a fascinating tale of a small chameleon unexpectedly tossed from his small theatrical glass box into the dessert. This is no ordinary lizard- for he is an aspiring thespian. Once thrust upon a small town in the desert “Dirt,” Rango is now free to become the character of his choosing. He decides to dazzle his new found desert friends with tales of danger and adventure, and reinvents himself to be the rough riding cowboy from the far west.
So many elements of the movie are reminiscent of Up, The Incredibles, Monsters vs. Aliens, and other recent films, making Despicable Me seem far less inventive than the story really is. Despicable Me is tolerable, hardly the children’s spy thriller it could have been, and not as funny as the previews might suggest, but overall it would suit if you were looking for a few (and I do mean few) laughs on a rainy day at the theater, and of course you’ve already seen Toy Story 3.