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Return to 2006 Films

Index of 2006

An Inconvenient Truth
Big Bad Swim
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
The Departed
The DaVinci Code
Eron: The Smartest
Guys in the Room

Good Night and
Good Luck

Half Nelson
History of Violence
Hotel Rwanda
Little Miss Sunshine
Journey from the Fall
March of the Penguins
Million Dollar Baby
Prairie Home Companion
Star Wars III:
Revenge of the Sith

Thank You for Smoking
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Sea Inside
United 93
War of the Worlds
Walk the Line
World Trade Center

Happy Feet
a review by Tom Condon, OP (St. Martin)


In the great nation of Emperor Penguins, deep in Antarctica, you’re nobody unless you can sing--which is unfortunate for Mumble, who is the worst singer in the world. He is born dancing to his own tune--tap dancing

I’d heard good things about this animated penguin film. It came from nowhere to keep the new James Bond movie out of first place at the box office this fall! So, on a free evening, I decided to check it out. The surprise is that Happy Feet is so much more than a cute cartoon about dancing penguins. In its own way, it is an exuberant entertainment, as much fun as anything I’ve seen at the movies all year.

As first, Happy Feet looks very much like last year’s Oscar winning hit, March of the Penguins. Penguins meet, fall in love, the male guards the egg while the female goes off fishing. When the egg watched over by its father Memphis (a great name) hatches after the other eggs, they suspect something is wrong with the chick. To Memphis’ horror, his offspring doesn’t sing like the other penguins (hence his name “Mumble”), but dances. No one in the group had ever seen anything like this. So, Mumble is humiliated and cast out of the group. Escaping a hungry seal, Mumble finds himself in a Latino penguin colony! Naturally, the Latinos love Mumble’s dancing and he becomes a huge celebrity.

Mumble returns to his own clan with his new Latino friends. Even though many join in his dancing, he is denounced by the elders as a bad influence. They even blame the lack of fish in the Antarctic upon him! He decides to face the “alien” presence which may understand the ecological crisis, and even be responsible for this problem: humans.

Happy Feet is a winner on many levels. Its musical numbers are great fun, from the singing penguins to the extraordinary dance numbers, choreographed by the great tap dancer Savion Glover. The animation of these numbers is mind-boggling. Equally impressive are the action sequences, as Mumble flees seals, sharks, and humans by swimming, diving, jumping up on the ice, and sliding on his belly. Director George Miller leads us on a breathless pace around the Antarctic. Finally, Happy Feet preaches a strong message about the need to care for the delicate ecological balance of the earth. The voracious human appetite for everything, without regarding consequences on the earth and its inhabitants is severely criticized The human race comes across worse than it has in any animated film since Bambi. However, the end is hopeful that even we humans can be converted.

In Happy Feet, the one who is different finds acceptance in another culture. He returns home and is banished again. However, Mumble shows great courage and becomes a hero. Happy Feet turns all our stereotypes on their heads and finds redemption for all in a group dance. You gotta love it.

Tom Condon, OP

MPAA Rating: PG for some mild peril and rude humor

The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents.


The human race comes across worse than it has in any animated film since Bambi. However, the end is hopeful that even we humans can be converted.

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