(out of 5)
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.
Directed by George Miller
Cinematography by David Peers
Music by John Powell
Production Design by Mark Sexton