Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5. Australia/USA, 2006. Warner Bros., Village Roadshow Pictures, Kennedy Miller Productions, Animal Logic, Kingdom Feature Productions. Screenplay by George Miller, John Collee, Judy Morris, Warren Coleman. Cinematography by David Peers. Produced by Bill Miller, George Miller, Doug Mitchell. Music by John Powell. Production Design by Mark Sexton. Film Editing by Christian Gazal, Margaret Sixel. Academy Awards 2006. American Film Institute 2006. Golden Globe Awards 2006. New York Film Critics Awards 2006. Washington Film Critics Awards 2006.
Cutting loose while wearing a tuxedo: is there anything more adorably cool in the animal kingdom than a penguin? In this film by George Miller, the master behind such diverse works as The Witches Of Eastwick, Lorenzo’s Oil and, of course, the classic beast-flick Babe, a colony of Emperor Penguins live in Antarctica and go about their daily lives with a song perpetually in their hearts and on their lips. Every penguin must develop its heartsong in order to find its soulmate, but when Mumble (Elijah Wood) is born a little bit different, the whole colony goes into disarray. Mumble is developing a bit slowly, a tiny bit soft in the head and completely unable to sing a note. On the upside, he is one hell of a dancer, and it is this particular talent that gets him rejected from his community, but eventually helps him save the world. A typical tale of the outsider succeeding against the odds is overcome with superb animation, delightful characterizations and a toe-tapping soundtrack that hardly allows the wonderful singing and dancing to stop for more than a few minutes at a time. Celebrity voicework includes Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Brittany Murphy (singing beautifully), Robin Williams (in three characters) and Hugo Weaving, while Mumble’s fancy footwork is performed (through the magic of motion-capture computer-generated imagery ) by Broadway dancer Savion Glover.