• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Happy Feet

TITLE: Happy Feet

YEAR: 2006

GENRE: Animation and Family

Every year the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences hand out a group of awards to celebrate the finest films and achievements in motion pictures in general. Known as the Oscars, every year the awards show has some film win a certain award that may be considered controversial by some and brought up for occasional debate among die-hard fans. One of the most famously debated Best Picture award was in 1977 when the Woody Allen comedy Annie Hall beat out one of science fiction’s ultimate epics, Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope. A similar controversy came out in the category of Best Animated Film in 2006 when Pixar’s highly popular film Cars was beaten out by Warner Brother’s animated film Happy Feet. I personally agree with some of this disagreement, as I found Happy Feet to be cute enough but the storyline is not written very well and tends to meander throughout the film.

Mumble (voiced by Elijah Wood) is a penguin with a problem: it is mating season, and he does not have the quality pipes to sing a musical tune to swoon Gloria (Brittany Murphy), the penguin of his affections. Like all males trying to get in the sack with the female persuasion, he improvises and does a mean tap dance to win her affections. The rest of the penguin flock finds Mumble’s actions to be bizarre, as the penguin culture is very conformist and not welcoming to new ideas or actions. Noah (Hugo Weaving) is the elder of the flock and he blames Mumble’s tap dancing for the woes of all the penguins including the mysterious disappearance of the native fish population which is creating a crimp in the food supply for the birds. Mumble blames the actions on “aliens” that have tremendous machines and unimaginable power, but Noah and the rest of the penguins find Mumble’s stories to be ridiculous. Mumble is obsessed by his convictions and ventures out on his own to find the “aliens” and to stop them from destroying the food supply, including going to where no penguin has gone before. Can Mumble stop the “aliens” and to win the affections of Gloria?

Happy Feet is schizophrenic in nature in its writing and attempts to be too many things in one film. Part of the film wants to be an environmental statement on how man has a vicious impact on the animals of the world and is destroying the planet. Part of the film wants to be a romantic comedy where Mumble and Gloria stumble through their courtship with Mumble being the proverbial bumbling stooge around his affections while Gloria just sits cute yet discouraged by Mumble. Part of the film wants to pound home a message of individuality and that it takes sacrifice to follow your heart. None of these angles work very well in Happy Feet because they are not given proper time to develop and mature into a quality aspect of the storyline. One aspect that does work very well is the song and dance aspect of Happy Feet especially when the penguins perform as a flock through several inspired numbers. These numbers are adorable in nature, and in this case director/writer George Miller (yes, the same guy who did The Road Warrior) should have simplified the storyline to work with one recurring theme while incorporating as many musical numbers as appropriate.

Although not Pixar’s best film, I would say that Cars is the better animated film and deserved the Academy Award in 2006. Happy Feet does have some redeeming moments especially during the dance numbers, but the rest of the film is disjointed and the screenplay tries to be too much to too many different people. Sometimes simplicity is a better recipe for success, as the more pipes one adds to plumbing a house the easier it becomes to stop up the drain. This is the problem with Happy Feet: it is too complicated for the market that it reaches. Happy Feet is a miss in terms of quality writing and storyline, while the musical numbers are nothing short of wonderful. Little kids will love the fun of the singing and dancing penguins, but more mature fans will find Happy Feet to be a miss.

* *

–Mark

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