Happy Feet Blu-ray: Review By Kaya Savas

An amazing film in the best presentation possible.
  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Feature
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
THE GOOD
An amazing film in the best presentation possible.
THE BAD
What happened to the special features?
THE FEATURE
I missed Happy Feet in theaters mostly because I was working during that period and I was a little bummed. For some reason ever since I saw the first trailer for the film I was compelled by it. I finally got a chance to see it and since it was on Blu-ray it was even better than seeing it at the theater. Happy Feet is an incredible film from the very beginning and even through the credits. George Miller has crafted a beautiful, at times hilarious, and overall moving film.

The story follows Mumble, a penguin born into a colony of King Penguins where in order to find their soul mate they have to sing their heart-song. The only thing is that Mumble is a bit different in that he can't sing but rather dances. The film is narrated by one of the characters played by Robin Williams and is told as a story. Mumble is outcast from his society for being different and being blamed for offending the fish Gods and thus causing a famine. He goes on a journey to find out what exactly is happening to all the fish and to win the heart of his true love, Gloria. Along the way he meets a meets a posse of Hispanic penguins lead by Ramon. The film is a breathtaking and moving journey to find one's self and come to terms with our existence on the planet. The little penguins that journey with Mumble serve as the comic relief, but the film itself is more heartwarming than it is a kid comedy. The animation is simply breathtaking and I can honestly say it's visually the best looking CGI film I have ever seen. The environmental effects are simple awe inspiring. The water, snow, wind and surface effects are stunning.

While the film does have an economical message it really is more focused on the characters and their journey. It doesn't shove a message down your throat like animated films such as Ferngully did. The movie really paints the picture that we share the planet with every form of life and that we are alone in preserving life. The message was so powerful that Steve Irwin lent his voice talent, and even though he recorded his voice years ago this is the last film featuring the great conservationist.

The musical sequences are equally amazing as popular songs are incorporated and arranged into grand numbers. Equally important is John Powell's simply fantastic score to the film. Powell spent 4 years musically crafting Happy Feet from composing the score and arranging the songs. The score itself is simply proof of his talent as one of Hollywood's best composers. He uses grand choirs and sweeping string ensembles mixed in with some synthesized sounds and percussion to create the harsh landscapes of the Antarctic. The score brought me to tears the first time I listened to it, and it will raise goose-bumps and move you when heard amongst the film.

The voice talent is stunning. Robin Williams steals the show as Ramon and Lovelace. He plays two memorable characters that serve has comic relief. Elijah Wood is the voice of Mumble and does a fantastic job with the main character. Brittany Murphy lends her amazing voice and plays Gloria, Mumble's love interest. Other voice talent include Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Hugo Weaving, and of course Steve Irwin. The actors are all fantastic and they all do their own singing which always adds to the experience. In most animated films the singing scenes of a character is done by a professional singer and usually never the actor.

Overall this film was well deserving of its Oscar win. The movie rises above most other animated films in that it never becomes too saccharine and childish. John Powell's music is a huge part in why I loved this film and George Miller's direction takes Happy Feet to a level that I never thought possible in an animated film. The Lion King will always be my favorite animated film, but Happy Feet just snuck into second place.
THE EXTRAS
Two New Animated Sequences:

In honor of Steve Irwin we get a deleted scene featuring him as an albatross. George Miller introduces the scene and it's basically Irwin being himself and teaching Mumble some lessons about conservation. The reason why it was cut is obvious since George Miller was clearly staying away from making a Discovery Channel doc*mentary, but in memory of Steve Irwin it's great. The second scene is about a 30 second clip that's more of a fun animated blooper and is just there for a laugh. The plus is that they are presented in 1080p.

Private Dance Lessons:

This featurette is more for the kids since it basically takes the dancing moves from the movie and teaches it simply for kids to learn.

Music Videos:

We get Gia's "Hit Me Up" and Prince's Golden Globe Winning "Song Of The Heart". Since the film relies heavily on music it's nice to get the videos.

Classic WB Cartoon:

A sort of misplaced special feature we have a classic Warner Brothers cartoon titled "I Love To Singa". I don't understand why we have this unless it's showing us the roots of music and animation even though animation was always associated with music.

Theatrical Trailer:

We have a trailer for the film even though this is actually a teaser. It is however one of the best of the trailers released for the film. It includes a short musical number from Robin Williams' character.

Overall I am disappointed in the special features department. This film was a box office and critical success so I don't understand the lack of special features unless a double-dip is coming. The film took 4 years to make so I'm sure there is a wealth of behind the scenes material to explore. Warner has never been the best with bonus material, but throw us a featurette or something.
THE VIDEO
I've had a PS3 for a couple months now but just recently I got a Toshiba 57 inch DLP 1080p TV. Let me tell you that Blu-ray is an experience that truly needs to be experienced. I know that I'm probably talking to myself right now and no one is reading this since Blu-ray sales are just a blip on the radar now, but let me say that this film is a visual feast. This is the first digital film I've seen on Blu-ray and it's amazing. The level of detail and the richness of color are indescribable. This 2.40:1 transfer is flawless. I said this in my last Blu-ray review and I'll say it again; Blu-ray will make my job as a reviewer so much easier.
THE AUDIO
The disc comes with a 5.1 Dolby Digital EX mix that will blow the roof off your house. It's amazing how much more dynamic a surround mix is on a Blu-ray disc versus a regular DVD. Sound is the most important thing in animation since every sound is created from scratch and this mix is amazing. The surround channels are always in use and the subwoofer is also utilized to its fullest during the musical numbers. Turn down the temperature when you watch it and you will actually feel like you are in the Antarctic.
THE PACKAGE
It comes in the typical Blu-ray case. I mentioned in my last review that the cases are more space efficent and easier to store. Nothing special here.
THE FINAL WORD
This is a must own for all Blu-ray owners. The film is magnificent and it's even more magnificent in 1080p. The picture and audio are flawless. This is one of the best animated films ever made, I only wish we had some real behind the scenes featurettes.

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