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Sometimes, films have "one single best thing". Certain dialogues or one-liners or actresses’ busts or their length (the films’, I mean). The single best thing about Happy Feet is … there’s two, actually: 1) Robin Williams 2) the Sea Elephants (if that’s what they are called? Or Elephants Seals?). (1) I really like Robin Williams a lot, and the more often I listen to his synchronisations, the more I tend to believe that this may be a talent he has at least equal to his acting (and I like both his hilarious comedy appearances –  mostly I don’t like the films, however – and his sad and melancholic parts: Fisher King, One Hour Photo). Listening to him in two parts is great fun, and worth seeing the film again to get every single bit of craze he offers. (2) I have never seen animated creature textures of such a brilliance as with these Sea Elephants. These enormous beasts (which I always liked, even though I always had my doubts on whether they might not be just very useless in nature’s big game of evolution) spit and grunt, they make Jabba the Hut’s body look rock-solid and they have this air of wisdom engulfing them. They just look brilliant! As does the whole film: this opening sequence with its red-black-white snowstorms… made the Genesis look like a picknick.

The rest of the film is entertaining enough, with a lot of well-choreographed dancing and well-practiced singing by people who usually have other jobs (Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, in particular). There is an issue about where the story goes towards the end of the film. There comes a bit of eco-depression into the movie at a rather late stage. Maybe it actually is too late: when Mumble gets sent away by the community of bad old pricks (aka Elrond) with a Scottish accent ("sent West", is what they used to call it…), that eco-thing about the disappearing fish appears to be nothing but some McGuffin to get him out of there on to new adventures and true love. It is rather unexpected that George Miller (the director of Mad Max and Pig in the City esteem – and as so many reviews praise the latter, I guess I should get around to finding it somewhere soon) will not leave it at that. He follows the thread into very nasty territory, actually, he lets his hero pretty cruelly abandon his beloved one, he gives a hint of what he thinks of the way we treat the animals in this world’s zoos. He provides images of how crazy all the machinery is humans use to exploit their environment. And not the least he gets rid of the annoying cliche of seals being cute little fellas mainly concerned about lying lazily on top of rocks.

Unfortunately, he seems to have run out of time or budget to really get into it (or he was too scared to get rid of some of the brighter stuff? Two les of those dancing scenes to more or less interesting pop song cover versions could have improved the film, anyway): after a very short glimpse into those dark places where the world of inhumanity meets the animal, we are back to happy, dancing penguins again and all is fine and fair. Still better (a lot better, actually) than what  you get out of the regular Disney fabrication, but oh these opportunities foregone…

I watched this one in its IMAX version, by the way, and I wonder whether I ever want to see anything else again… brialliant brilliance! Just give me back the old days of 70mm film, please!!


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