Every commercial or preview I've seen of Happy Feet 2 led me to believe it would be like its lighthearted original, with plenty of dancing and a strong story line. I quickly found it may be heavy in special effects, but it has a disconnected story line and not nearly enough fun or dancing.
In the sequel to the original 2006 hit Happy Feet, a grown Mumble and his wife Gloria guide their young son, Erik, to try dancing. When Erik realizes he doesn't have smooth footing or rhythm like his father, he sets off to find his own destiny. He quickly becomes enamored with the revered "penguin" leader, Sven, a special bird who can fly.
There is an even bigger all star cast in Happy Feet 2, than in the original, with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Pink joining this time around.
Brad Pitt and Matt Damon play "Will and Bill the Krills." They may be at the bottom of the food chain, but they are philosophers who, frankly, talk way too much. Detached from the main story, the krill serve as reminders of the movie's theme: that every part of our ecosystem, from the large to the small, plays a vital role in maintaining it.
I really wanted to like the film, but one of the only things I liked was when there was dancing or singing. Pink, who voices Gloria, has a truly spectacular voice! The soundtrack, I am sure, is better than the movie. There were also themes of team work and sacrifice that older kids could grasp.
The film is like the incomplete individual squares of a patchwork quilt- nice to look at when standing alone, but stronger and more unified once sewn together. I kept waiting for the different plots to come together to make a single piece. There were multiple story lines, too many main characters and too much emphasis on the environment and global warming, diluting the whole picture in the end.
When I asked my kids what it was about, my 7-year-old said, "It's about penguins trying to stay alive." I could've sworn he yawned. Let's just say, there weren't many chuckles or what I was hoping to see in a kids' film.
There are many other family movies out this holiday season to choose from, so I'd recommend waiting for this one to come out on video and not spend your money seeing it in the theatre.
Julie Samrick is a stay-at-home mom of 4 young kids and the founder of Kid Focused, a site devoted to children and family issues. Subscribe to the free Kid Focused newsletter delivered weekly to your inbox. Permission granted for use on DrLaura.com