Happy Feet

  • Review Date: March 25, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 108 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Ultra-cute kid flick has a few scary, emotional moments.
  • Review Date: March 25, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 108 minutes

Age

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Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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, ultimately, the message of embracing your own uniqueness shines through. The movie also has strong environmental messages and themes.

Positive role models

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.

Language

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

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will definitely want to see this appealing animated film. The movie includes themes of 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, racial stereotypes come into play: Latin-inspired penguins are caricatured as party-loving animals, and an African-American-type penguin comes across as an oversexed, fundamentalist preacher. Still, the movie's themes of social acceptance and embracing your own uniqueness shine through.

Parents say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how to accept and embrace each person's unique qualities. 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?

  • 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

Theatrical release date:November 16, 2006
DVD release date:March 27, 2007
Cast:Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, Robin Williams
Director:George Miller
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Arts and dance, Music and sing-along, Ocean creatures, Wild animals
Run time:108 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild peril and rude humor

This review of Happy Feet was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Written byAnonymous July 10, 2013
AGE
3
QUALITY
 

Too immature, with ineffective & vague "messages" - and VERY RACIST!

Common Sense isn't kidding about the racial stereotypes: they are VERY inappropriate and offensive!!! As for the supposed "sex" in the movie, it's more along the lines of parental bonus - parental bonus is a longstanding tradition in animation, but if you (parents) don't like sex jokes, be aware there are a few, mostly immature schoolyard-style jokes. Honestly I think that any child over age 6 deserves to learn REAL sex ed and watch tasteful movies about adult HUMANS kissing and making love, not this silly kids stuff. The ending was terrifying: the penguins have overrun their environment! It was a horrifying image of just Too Many Penguins in a small space. Humans are already overpopulating and over-taxing the planet's resources, I would like to see the penguins be a positive example of moderation. Any potential environmental message is kind of lost in this movie, the important message of questioning revealed authority is a little too veiled and vague for kids to notice, and the racial stereotypes are enough for me to feel very uncomfortable showing this to a child. That's really the most important thing. I wouldn't want any child to think that I approve of racism.
Adult Written byjaclande April 9, 2008
AGE
0
QUALITY
 

I walked out on this movie!

This movie was so offensive to me that I walked out on the last 20 minutes of it. My husband and I took our 3 children and a cousin to see what we expected to be a cute, entertaining children's film. The whole point of creating this movie, in my opinion, was to convey a liberal political message, through our most vulnerable, impressionable audience--our children. Christians were attacked throughout this film, from protraying the penguin "elders" as condemning religious leaders who quoted bible verses and a "televangilist"-like leader who blasphemed Scripture, speaking of "Going forth and multiplying", then taking several female penguins out of sight to "have pleasure" on his couch, asking, "who will be first?". Mumble, the main character, decides to find out who the "aliens" are and ask them to stop taking the penguins' food supply, fish. The "aliens", who are clearly definied as human beings, are protrayed as evil, uncaring, scary, pollutive and destructive. As Mumble crests a hill looking for signs of "alien" life, the first structure that is shown is a church. Sexual innunendo is all over this movie, as male penquins frequently try to "get laid" and sing offensive secular songs that I don't let my children listen to, such as, Salt 'n Peppa's "Let's talk about sex baby" as well as Prince's "Kiss" and others. Mumble's parents are basically Marilyn Monroe and Elvis personified, and very "sexual" in their speaking and body movements. Mumble's penguin friends are very sexual when speaking about getting femle penguins, at times thrusting their pelvis' when speaking about how "hot" and desirable they are. There are two very scary and violent scenes, including one very graphic one where a very evil-looking leopard seal chases after and almost attacks Mumble and his friends, and another scene where they are chased by killer whales. My 5-year-old step-daughter covered her eyes in terror during both scenes. Zoos and animal aquariums, which are excellent family places for children to learn about animals, are shown as scary and prison-like, and are offensively compared to "Heaven" by Mumble. If all of these elements don't offend you, let me tell you that the movie as a whole was not very entertaining. I guess I'm spoiled by all the Disney/Pixar films, who write all their own music and lyrics. This film's producers could not even take the time to do that, intent as they were to convey their negative environmental message. This film is deceptively packaged in excellent special effects, cute penguin dancing and star character voices (Elijah Wood, Nicole Kidman, among others), but is inappropriate for all children, and adults really shouldn't waste their time on it either. Protect your children from it's negative, Anti-Christian messages by not taking them, not buying the DVD, and telling other parents about this film!
Teen, 13 years old Written byLissaNicky March 30, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

too much on mating

I thought it focused too much on mating and not enough on the story. A few scenes were a little scary for younger kids but unless they are super sensitive they'll be ok
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bygrammykahuhu April 9, 2008
AGE
0
QUALITY
 

Only for children too young to understand the lyrics!

I watched this movie last night with 4 of my grandchildren ages 4,6,8,9. They had already seen it, I had not. I was appalled by the song lyrics as it began and if it had been my home, it would have been turned off then. I soon realized the children weren't hearing/understanding the words, they just enjoyed the music and animation, but with an adult's ability to understand the words... and it was NOT inuendo, it was blatant in many cases... I was glad my 14 yr old son was NOT with me. Religion was also subtlely trashed in the movie. "Noah" quoted partial scriptural references and in the course of the movie it was obvious that Mumble was correct, the aliens were taking the fish, while "Noah" insisted it was the penguin deity controlling the situation and took punitive steps against Mumble. Ultimately, Noah 'joined the crowd' in adopting attitudes and behaviors he had just denounced. He was portrayed as narrow minded, bigoted, out of touch, etc. and, in the end, without conviction. I had been warned about the environmental stuff, the UN taking action, as if!, so it was less obnoxious. In 30 years everyone saying I am over reacting will be living with the reality that I am not.

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