Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Review: Happy Feet

Happy Feet (Full Screen Edition)

Happy Feet was released in 2006. It tells the story of Mumble (voiced by Elizabeth Daily as Baby Mumble and Elijah Wood as adult Mumble), an Emperor Penguin who is supposed to be born with an innate instinct where it is commonly known as Heartsong in the colony. This Heartsong is vital to all Emperor Penguins, they must be able to learn how to express their love and emotions as it would be essential for them to use it to find their soul mates when they become adults.

However, through an unexpected twist of fate, Memphis (voiced by Hugh Jackman) who is Mumble's father dropped the egg containing Mumble when the colony was migrating to a better location in search of ample supply of food. It is a taboo among Emperor Penguins that the fathers looking after the eggs containing their unborn offspring should not allow any negative influence to happen to the eggs being looked after by them.  

When Memphis finally meet Mumble's mother Norma Jean (voiced by Nicole Kidman) with the egg with Mumble in it, he told her he had dropped the egg while crossing the blizzard-battered land to reach their meeting point. Norma Jean was aghast to find out that Memphis had dropped the egg when travelling to meet her.

When the time came for Mumble to hatch from the egg, Memphis and Norma Jean waited anxiously, wanting to find out if there is something wrong with Mumble. Mumble hatched from his egg a little late, and he looked not much different from the other chicks who had hatched about the same time. However, Mumble was indeed different from his peers.

When Mumble started formal education, he found out that he is completely tone deaf, unable to sing the basic notes to the Heartsong, much to the horror of his teacher and classmates. However, he  has excellent sense of rhythm that he is able to move to any imaginable rhythm with his feet. Unfortunately, Mumble's talent for being able to dance was scorned upon by the other penguins, especially the elders who are the leaders in the colony. The elders of the colony of Emperor Penguins are not able to accept Mumble's special innate talent of dancing as tradition has dictated for many generations that Emperor Penguins are to have the innate ability to sing the Heartsong.

Mumble has had an extremely difficult time growing up and fitting into in the colony. Being so different from the penguins in the colony, Mumble set out to venture away from his parents and the colony to try to find his real identity and to determine if he actually fit into the colony of those Emperor Penguins. During the time Mumble spent venturing away from his colony, he met five penguins of a different species and thus, an adventure of a lifetime began for him. There is also a food shortage in the colony at the same time, thus, the elders blamed Mumble for it because they thought his different ability to dance instead of to sing the Heartsong had brought about the shortage of food. Mumble was also wondering if Gloria (voiced by the late Brittany Murphy), his childhood sweetheart is also his soul mate.

This movie highlighted the fact that being different from the norm is not a bad thing to experience in life. The ultimate challenge of being very different is to fit into the norm and at the same time trying to convince other people to accept the unique person one is born and destined to be. Not only that, Happy Feet also focuses on keeping strong family ties and loving one another unconditionally.

I would give Happy Feet double thumbs-up for a great story and voice-overs from a stellar cast. Not to mention the beautiful scenes created for the story. I am actually looking forward to the sequel Happy Feet 2 to be released in November this year. I think the sequel will be as good as the first, if not better. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: Garfield: The Movie

Garfield: The Movie was released in 2004 starring Breckin Meyer as Jon Arbuckle, Jennifer Love Hewitt as Jon's love interest, Liz and Bill Murray as the voice of Garfield, Jon's orange pet cat. Garfield has been a pet to Jon for a long time and is being lavished with all the love, care and attention being showered upon him by Jon for a long time.

However, things started to change when Liz who is a vet told Jon there was a puppy named Odie is being put up for adoption, and she encouraged him to adopt Odie. Jon then went ahead to adopt Odie, overlooking the fact that Garfield might be jealous of the puppy.

Garfield went all out to make Odie's life miserable as he tried to get Jon's attention. However, his plans backfired when Odie ran away after Garfield locked him out of the house. Odie was then found by an old lady named Mrs. Baker played by Eve Brent. She then put up a notice informing the public a puppy has been found and it attracted the attention of a crook working for a TV station, looking for a new animal act for his show.

Happy Chapman played by Stephen Tobolowsky originally has a cat on his TV show. Unfortunately, the TV show was experiencing a decline in audience rating in which prompted Chapman to try to look for a new act. Also, he is allergic to cats. Thus, when Chapman went to see Mrs. Baker who is temporarily keeping Odie, he claimed himself to be the rightful owner to the puppy.

Meanwhile when Jon and Liz found out Odie had gone missing, it has made Garfield guilty conscious about the incident as he was the one who locked Odie out in the first place causing him to run away. Thus, Garfield with the help of some of his friends living on the streets went to track down Odie, where Chapman had held him captive and planned to take him to New York City to feature in a new TV show. It was an adventure of a lifetime for Garfield who for the first time in his life ventured out far from home to rescue Odie, although he very much resented the fact that Odie is getting more attention and love from Jon.

This movie is really funny to the core and I highly recommend it as a family movie because it showed that it does not pay to abuse animals, especially when they are being adopted as pets or being portrayed in the show business. Not to mention having more than one pet means there should be equal fairness where care, affection and attention are concerned.

Although the character of Garfield was created using CGI technology, the movie producer did a great job in ensuring him to be as life-like as possible. This movie might not have won any awards and/or nominations; however, it is still worth a mention as I found it to be a feel-good movie with plenty of comical scenes and laughs to go around for pure family fun and enjoyment.