For anyone who thought the Oscar-winning documentary March of the Penguins was the most marvelous cinematic moment for these nomads of the south, you haven't seen nothing yet. Happy Feet is an animated wonder about a penguin named Mumble who can't sing, but can dance up a storm. George Miller, the driving force behind the Babe (and Mad Max) movies, takes another creative step in family entertainment with this big, beautiful, music-fueled film that will have kids and their parents dancing in the streets. From his first moment alive, Mumble (voiced Elijah Woods) feels the beat and can't stop dancing. Unfortunately, emperor penguins are all about finding their own heart song, and the dancing youngster--as cute as he is--is a misfit. Luckily, he bumps into little blue penguins and a Spanish-infused group (led by Robin Williams) and begins a series of adventures. Miller has an exceptional variety of entertainment: Busby Berkley musical numbers, amusement-park thrills, exciting chase sequences (seals and orca lovers might like think otherwise), and even an environmental message that doesn't weigh you down. Best of all, you don't know where the movie is going in the last act, a rare occurrence these days in family entertainment. A fusion of rock songs, mashed-up and otherwise, are featured; this movie is as much a musical as a comedy. Mumble's solo dance to a new version of Stevie Wonder's "I Wish" by Fantasia, Patti, and Yolanda may be the most joyful moment on camera in 2006. --Doug Thomas
On the DVD There are two new animated sequences, which aren't incorporated into the film. One's a half-minute hackysack-themed bit, but the other is a good-looking, two-minute scene featuring the late Steve Irwin as an albatross, who, with Mumble, encounters a blue whale. "Dance Like a Penguin: Stomp to the Beat" is hosted by Savion Glover, whose dancing was motion-captured for the film, but other than a couple basic tips, it's pretty much a demonstration rather than a lesson. In addition to the two music videos (Gia's "Hit Me Up" and Prince's "The Song of the Heart"), "I Love to Singa" is an appropriately matched 1936 Merrie Melodies cartoon in which a young owl ruffles feathers by wanting to sing jazz for his classical-music-loving family. --David Horiuchi
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A young penguin named Mumbles cannot sing like the other penguins but can he can tap dance and he learns that being different can be good. Genre: Feature Film Family Rating: PG Release Date: 4-SEP-2007 Media Type: DVD
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