Happy Feet

Movie review by
Jane Boursaw, Common Sense Media
Happy Feet Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Ultra-cute kid flick has a few scary, emotional moments.
  • PG
  • 2006
  • 108 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 159 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 131 reviews

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids are likely to pick up some "talking points" about conservation and environmentalism. They'll also learn the importance of being true to yourself.

Positive Messages

Despite the fact that the main character is initially ostracized for being different, he doesn't give up who he is (showing integrity), and ultimately the message of embracing your own uniqueness shines through. The movie also has strong environmental messages and themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

A young penguin stands out from his flock because he's different. He tries to compensate for his "handicap" by doing something (dancing) that sets him apart from the others, but they still treat him poorly for his weirdness -- though they eventually sing another tune. On the other hand, there's some stereotyping.

Violence & Scariness

The penguins are attacked by scary elephant seals. They must face cold and blizzards.

Sexy Stuff

The penguins must sing a unique "heart song" to find a mate. Mumble bumps into another penguin's private parts. Reference to male penguins not wanting to hug each other. Some innuendoes from a male penguin about female penguins wanting him.


"Freakin'," reference to kissing penguins' butts.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Happy Feet is an appealing animated film with plenty of catchy music. It deals with environmental themes related to humans intruding on natural habitats but avoids the heavy-duty questions of how to solve the problem. Some of the chase sequences and elephant seal scenes might be scary for younger kids. Also, stereotyping come into play: Latin-inspired penguins are caricatured as party-loving animals, and an African-American-inspired penguin comes across as an oversexed, fundamentalist preacher. Still, the movie's messages of integrity, social acceptance, and embracing your own uniqueness shine through.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 4 and 7-year-old Written byFurrowcious February 10, 2017

An Abominable Message Movie Full of Mockery and Crude Humor That Will Bore Your Kids and Offend Your Friends

Somewhere in the midst of sexually suggestive pop-songs and perverted preaching penguins you will realize this movie is an over the top message movie that has l... Continue reading
Adult Written bybethmorris April 9, 2008

Way too much innuendo!!

This movie had WAY WAY WAY to much sex talk, inference, etc. I don't know why movie makers can't make a fun, innocent kids movie anymore. The music... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byMysterious_ballerina August 10, 2011

Pure disappointment

I was hoping to see a cute movie about penguins instead I got a movie way to much involved with mating and sad creepy parts Common sense media why 4 stars?! Why... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byevildude32 April 9, 2008

Good movie! Now why are the adults being so...umm...negative?

I really like this movie. Mumble is soooo cute and penguins rock! Yes, there is some scary violence. However, it's all nature. Seals eat penguins, but than... Continue reading

What's the story?

George Miller's ultra-cute animated comedy features the voice of Elijah Wood as Mumble, an Antarctic penguin who can't find his "heart song," a tune unique to each penguin that's supposed to attract a mate. Instead of the soulful melodies all the other penguins sing, Mumble croaks out horrible sounds. But he can tap dance up a storm, which is exactly what he does, even though the other penguins -- including his dad, Memphis (Hugh Jackman) -- think it's just plain weird. Eventually, penguin tribe leader Noah (Hugo Weaving) ousts Mumble from the community, claiming that his oddities are responsible for the recent fish shortage. Exiled, Mumble embarks on a journey to discover the true cause of the waning food supply. Along the way, he stumbles upon a gang of penguins known as the Adelie Amigos, and their guru, Lovelace (Robin Williams). They convince Mumble that his dancing is actually cool, and together, they search for the "alien annihilators," who gave Lovelace a "talisman" (a plastic six-pack container ring).

Is it any good?

Lest you think it's a rip-off of the 2005 documentary March of the Penguins, let's set the record straight. Although it still manages to sneak in some real-life penguin oddities to fascinate viewers, this CGI movie is all about charm and happiness, not struggles to survive in a harsh environment.

Mumble's dancing is awfully cute -- but also true-to-life, thanks to the motion-capture techniques used to graft acclaimed hoofer Savion Glover's moves onto the penguin's body. The characters are fun, the Antarctic landscapes mesmerizing, and the storyline sweet. And the music is dazzling -- everything from funk to rock to disco (Prince wrote an original song for the movie, "The Song of the Heart"). Don't miss this one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to accept and embrace what makes each person unique. What makes Mumble different from the other penguins? Do you think it's hard for him to pursue his dream even when the others think it's weird? How does staying true to himself show that he has integrity?

  • Why do some people think that everyone should conform and "fit in"? Has there ever been a time when you didn't feel like you fit in? How did that make you feel?

  • How can people's individual abilities benefit their community and the larger world?

Movie details

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