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DVD Review: Happy Feet

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Happy Feet, winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Film in 2007, contains the voice talents of Elijah Wood in the lead role, and other big name actors such as Robin Williams, Hugh Jackman, Brittany Murphy, and Nicole Kidman. It tells the tale of a penguin who marches to the beat of a different drummer, and never looks back.

Once penguins lay their eggs, the females set out to find food while the males incubate the eggs. Despite being super careful, Mumble's father, Memphis (Hugh Jackman), accidentally drops Mumble. This is only the first of further problems as the egg takes longer than usual to hatch.

When Mumble finally emerges from his shell, it's clear something is very different about him. He begins moving around by tapping his feet to a tempo of his own making. This is not the typical behavior of a penguin, so he learns not to continue in public.

Both Memphis and his mate are horrified to learn their offspring does not possess the ability to sing, which all penguins are required to have. They try private lessons with a voice teacher, but to no avail. Mumble screeches not unlike an aggravated cat with distemper.

It doesn't help that Gloria (Brittany Murphy), a young female penguin, has a voice like an angel. She quickly gains the attention of every young male penguin around, but Mumble wants her for himself.

As an adult, Mumble's problems only get bigger. When other penguins notice his dancing ability, they blame him for the fish depletion and banish him from the land.

Fortunately, a group of penguins, known far and wide as the Amigos, are willing to step in and help. They suggest a visit to see Lovelace (Robin Williams), a shaman who offers advice for the cost of a mere pebble. Using a "collar" given to him by aliens, Lovelace claims to have knowledge of the universe few can comprehend.

This film, while tailored to children, is savvy enough to drop in a message for their parents. A close look at the item around Lovelace's neck shows what it really is — a plastic six-pack holder. The aliens are the fishermen whose methods of harvesting fish take away food animals rely on for daily living.

Before the film even begins, viewers get to see a clip of fish both safe to eat and not harmful to the environment. Included in the DVD package is a list of exactly which fish to avoid and which to ingest.

I enjoyed the extras available after the movie was over. There were two videos of songs heard during the film, and a cartoon with the theme of following a different path. I also got to see Savion Glover give a tap dancing lesson.

The cartoon sequence with Steve Irwin providing a voiceover was a nice touch.

Visually, this movie is spectacular. The colors are vivid and rich for the most part. At times, the scenes are so jet black that I had a hard time telling what was happening. Watching the penguins dance was fun, and children are going to love those.

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