If it's crap ... We'll tell you
So here we are, two animated films, both released within a few weeks of each other (in Ireland) and both fighting for the revenue that Christmas brings in. It should be an interesting battle, however, one film here is very good. And the other? Well, is not. You can probably guess already how this will go, but for formality's sake, let's keep the conclusion until the end, and review Happy Feet 2 first.
*heavy sigh* Where do I even begin with this? Well, I suppose it is relevant to mention here that I did not see the first movie fully through, just portions of it that, despite its strange premise, were quite good and did impress me. It was bold and creative, while displaying some heart to the characters. Sadly, it looks like some fool let the businessmen take control of this sequel because this has NONE of them qualities to it whatsoever. What we get instead is a pitiful excuse to earn money from a franchise that did not need the sequel, a non-existent script, and some truly embarrassing moments that I could not fathom as to why they were added.
Essentially, Mumble has grown up now, and is now a daddy, trying to make a bond with his son, and tap-dancing like he's always done. But then, surprise-surprise, in comes the environments plot as a portion of their ice shelf breaks loose, leaving them stranded, and a rescue mission begins to save the colony.
That is, pretty much all there is to the movie, the rest is filler. I kid you not, you may have seen singing kid-penguins and a walrus in the adverts, but their characters are so immensely crow-barred into the story, it feels like a novice animator wrote the script with no clue about how the first film went. The movie crashes between dance numbers, songs, awkward dad-moments, songs, scenic landscapes, more songs, and...? opera. It is a complete and utter mess, and worst of all, there is no emotional connection, so as you watch it all, you feel a constant sense of... emptiness. Only some interesting side-characters in the form of two krill provide any entertainment, and sadly their parts don't tie into the story at all. A pity, because their story had far more heart than what the penguins were up to.
Even two weeks on from seeing this, it still makes me mad to remember, sure the animation looked pretty, but that's no longer an excuse to see a film. There is almost nothing here at all to see, only a few minuscule moments of interest and smiles saved this from being rock bottom. It's still a Some Ol' Bullsh*t (3/10) though, and that is all I have to say of it.
Ahh, now the contrast between this and Happy Feet 2 could not be greater, even if you tried. Here we have a prequel story from an almost-dead franchise, where it focuses on the character we all loved to see, and removes all the annoying elements we didn't. The story tells of his origins as a cat on the run from the law for a crime he did not commit. He is desperately trying to clear his name, while of course, being the smooth criminal that only Puss can be.
We get introduced to lots of new characters, many with backgrounds in nursery rhymes. Including Humpty Dumpty, an ex-convict that seemingly betrayed Puss, Jack and Jill starring as bandits, and Kitty Softpaws, master thief. As you can see, there's a lot here to build the story around, and joy of joy, Dreamworks has brought out their top guns to do so. It has the elegance and humour that was so lacking from the recent Shrek movies, and is crammed with wonderful wit and magnificent imagery. The lighting is especially amazing, fans of classic Western and bandit movies will love the setups used here.
You know what? I spent a long time discussing why HP2 was so bad, but I don't need so much to illustrate why this is so good. It just oozes flair and style, and never once has to resort to silly modern references of songs to get to the next scene. Only some very favourable music by Rodrigo Y Gabriella, which is absolutely perfect for here. It had great action sequences, captivating character development, and plenty of laughs for both young and old. I'm feeling very happy after seeing it tonight, so I'll offer it an enthusiastic Full Price. (9.5/10) It is almost certainly a movie I will return to see once again, simply to see all the elements I may have missed the first time. Treat your family and/or friends to this one for Christmas, highly recommended.
Thank you for reading! ^__^