Happy Feet 2
November 18, 2011
On the Big Board
||Like the first, the visuals are amazing but the movie is weird, but I liked this one more. Pitt and Damon as krill were hilarious.
As is customary in Hollywood, if an original film turns out to be a hit, then you must milk it for all it’s worth and turn it into a franchise. Even if it looks like everything has been wrapped up, a sequel will always be expected from a hit.
Warner Bros had never had a breakout hit with any of their animated films. In 2006 they gambled once again on two animated releases. One was The Ant Bully, which bombed; the other was Happy Feet, which gave Warner Bros a reason to sing and dance.
Given how penguins sing a courtship song to attract a mate, the film focused on a penguin named Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) who has a bad singing voice, brought upon by being exposed to extreme freezing temperatures during his birth. Although this reduces his chances to find a mate, for some reason he has the ability to tap dance. The overall message promoted how difference can be a good thing and also be embraced. Interestingly, it also touched on environmental issues such as climate change and overfishing.
The marketing capitalised on the distinct concept, with teaser trailers released seven months before the film, revealing absolutely nothing about the story, instead focusing solely on singing and dancing penguins. One particular teaser had penguins dancing to the sounds of Jump N’ Move by the Brand New Heavies, brilliantly summing up what to expect.
Opening the same weekend as Casino Royale, Happy Feet took $41.5 million to hit the #1 spot and stayed there for three weeks, eventually taking $197 million in the US and $384 million overall. It even managed to beat Pixar’s Cars, winning both the Oscar and BAFTA for best animated feature. Clearly Warners is hoping to do better second time around, with writer/director George Miller back on board for the sequel, filming in Sydney at Dr D studios. Some original cast members will reprise their roles, with Elijah Wood as Mumble and Robin Williams voicing both Ramon and Lovelace. Brittany Murphy, who passed away in late 2009, had voiced Gloria in the first film.
Also, damn near every computer animated film is going 3D, so expect to see a penguin break-dancing towards you. But what is there left to say? Mumble and Gloria’s own child is an expected new addition to the story. Plus, given the rate of climate change it’s believed that the sequel may be even more focused on the environment than before. Because they don’t want to jinx things, WB has scheduled the sequel for the same month the original was released, in November 2011. It also works to their advantage, because by then there probably won’t be much of an Antarctic left, meaning that audiences will be hit harder about what’s happening amid the laughter and toe-tapping dancing. And then they’ll drive home in their Hummers. (Shalimar Sahota/BOP)