FIVE years after the original Happy Feet danced into the affections of audiences worldwide and won the Oscar as Best Animated Feature, director George Miller returns to the frozen wilderness for this pointless sequel.
Opening with a pop mash-up, it is punctuated by a series of musical numbers culminating in a rousing rendition but, while the soundtrack hits the high notes, the script is frequently off-key, heavy-handedly dealing with issues of parenting and friendship then ladling on sickly sentiment.
The ecological subtext about the irrevocable damage of global warming and mankind’s responsibility to act now comes through lucid and clear. Alas, the plot is flimsy.
Mumble the penguin (Elijah Wood), who learned to dance in the first film, has raised a son called Erik with his wife Gloria (Pink).
Like his father, Erik is struggling to find his rhythm in Emperor-Land and searches for answers with best friends Boadicia and Atticus in the company of wise-cracking Ramon (Robin Williams).
Mumble chases after the little ones and returns home to discover a giant iceberg has slammed into their home, condemning all of the Emperor penguins to certain doom.
This trades heavily on the charm of the original film, hoping that our affection for Mumble and his feathered friends will blind us to the chasms in the script.
Regrettably, not even the 3D format or Williams’s verbal gymnastics can conceal those flaws and the film coasts along gently, clumsily bringing together all of the characters for the grandstand finale.
A couple of moments between Mumble and Erik tug the heartstrings but the emotional manipulation is shameless.