Happy Feet Two

Happy Feet Two

Will the Krill, voiced by BRAD PITT and Bill the Krill, voiced by MATT DAMON, in Warner Bros. Pictures' and Village Roadshow Pictures' animated family comedy adventure HAPPY FEET TWO, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

Happy Feet Two (2011)

Also Known As: Happy Feet 2, Happy Feet 2 in 3D, Happy Feet 2 in Sydney, Happy Feet Two in 3D

Opened: 11/18/2011 Wide

Wide11/18/2011
Georgetown 1411/18/2011 - 01/12/201256 days
AMC Loews Meth...11/18/2011 - 01/05/201249 days
AMC Empire 2511/18/2011 - 01/05/201249 days
AMC Deer Valley11/18/2011 - 12/20/201133 days
Showcase Cinem...11/18/2011 - 12/20/201133 days
Columbia Park ...11/18/2011 - 12/15/201128 days
DVD03/13/2012

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Facebook

Genre: Animated

Rated: PG for some rude humor and mild peril.

Synopsis

The sequel to "Happy Feet," the Academy Award®-winning animated smash hit, "Happy Feet Two" returns audiences to the magnificent landscape of Antarctica in superb 3D.

Mumble, The Master of Tap, has a problem because his tiny son, Erik, is choreo-phobic. Reluctant to dance, Erik runs away and encounters The Mighty Sven--a penguin who can fly! Mumble has no hope of competing with this charismatic new role model.

But things get worse when the world is shaken by powerful forces.

Erik learns of his father's guts and grit as Mumble brings together the penguin nations and all manner of fabulous creatures--from tiny Krill to giant Elephant Seals--to put things right.

"Happy Feet Two" is directed by George Miller, who won an Oscar® as the creator of the original "Happy Feet." The film features the voices of Elijah Wood, Robin Williams, Hank Azaria, Alecia Moore (P!nk), Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Sofia Vergara, Common, Hugo Weaving, Richard Carter, Magda Szubanski, Anthony LaPaglia and Benjamin "Lil P-Nut" Flores, Jr.

George Miller co-wrote the screenplay with Gary Eck (who also served as a co-director), Warren Coleman and Paul Livingston. Miller is also producing the film, along with Doug Mitchell and Bill Miller. Chris deFaria, Philip Hearnshaw, Graham Burke and Bruce Berman serve as executive producers. Co-director and cinematographer--camera is David Peers, the cinematographer--lighting is David Dulac, the animation director is Rob Coleman and the production designer is David Nelson. The film features vocals by P!nk, with music by John Powell.

Warner Bros. Pictures presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Kennedy Miller Mitchell production, with Dr. D. Studios, a George Miller film, "Happy Feet Two." The film will be presented in RealD 3D and IMAX 3D, and also in 2D.

About the Production

In 2006, a movie came along that not only delighted audiences, but had them tapping their toes and singing heartsongs. "Happy Feet" was an unqualified global hit that appealed to critics and audiences of all ages. The film went on to earn numerous awards, culminating in the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature. It also fueled greater efforts for environmental and wildlife conservation and even entered the modern lexicon, with "happy feet" becoming a synonym for tap dancing, its star Mumble's particular talent.

George Miller explains, "I often say that these stories are for the adult in the child and the child in the adult. I think one of the reasons why 'Happy Feet' resonated is that it had a kind of nourishment to it, with the time-honored ideas of being true to yourself, being brave and trying to treat the world and yourself with respect."

The idea for the story of "Happy Feet Two" actually began even as Miller and his team were putting the finishing touches on the first film.

"When you work on a film like that for so long, you actually fall in love with the characters. They became a part of your family," the filmmaker continues. "As you're thinking about them, new stories arise, which is what led to 'Happy Feet Two.' It was surprisingly easy to go back there, and so much fun hanging out with them once again."

But Miller, who directed, produced, and also co-wrote the film with writers Gary Eck, Warren Coleman and Paul Livingston, aimed to do much more than simply return to Antarctica with Mumble, Gloria and the other penguins. He explains, "I think what a storyteller wants from every film is to have the audience somehow experience something that they can relate to, so that they can see their own lives through it. I think this new film--which is about family and community--gives them the opportunity to be able to do that through the characters of the penguins."

In the new film, Miller wanted to imbue even more physical comedy and action, while staying true to the spirit of the first movie. "'Happy Feet Two' has all the singing and dancing and beautiful Antarctic landscape, but there are new characters of every dimension, from the largest scale to very tiny creatures," he says. In fact, the tiniest of the film's creatures are voiced by two of today's biggest stars: Brad Pitt and Matt Damon as Will and Bill The Krill.

Producer Bill Miller elaborates, "We had to reacquaint the audiences with the characters they know and love from the first film, but we needed to take those characters and the audience somewhere different. And we had to raise the bar with the music and dance."

As the story opens, the vocally challenged but choreographically gifted Mumble, once again voiced by Elijah Wood, and the golden-throated Gloria, voiced by Alecia Moore (P!nk), are parents. Mumble's own difficult adolescence, however, did not prepare him to be the ideal dad. His son is a fluffy fledgling named Erik, who seems disinterested in dancing, while the rest of the Emperor nation is movin' and groovin'. But when Mumble encourages him to try tripping the light fantastic, Erik simply trips over his own feet... landing him head first in the snow and the object of derision. Erik hides in shame, and Mumble's attempts to reassure his self-doubting son only make matters worse.

George Miller observes, "Mumble is now a parent, and the tables have turned on him. Now he has the problem of being a father with a child who doesn't completely conform to the way Mumble thinks his son should be! And he truly wants to connect with his son. We all think when we become parents that somehow, we'll know how to do better than our parents did. And, of course, we often make the same mistakes, because there's no real instruction manual about how to be a good parent. And that's what I speculated in the story would happen with Mumble."

Producer Doug Mitchell comments, "One of the themes in the film is clearly about the relationship between father and son. Mumble, like all parents, struggles with the intent to offer unconditional love and support--he wants the best for Erik, but he also may need to let go a little and let his son find his identity for himself."

But the filmmakers ratcheted up the stakes: Mumble not only has to find his way through fatherhood, he ultimately must find a way to save the entire Emperor community, pitting penguin against nature. Violent shifts in the glacial landscape are threatening the Emperors' very survival, and it falls to Mumble to rally creatures both great and small, to save them.

When "Happy Feet Two" begins, "It's party time," says George Miller, "and at the center of everything are Mumble and Gloria. Gloria is singing, Mumble is dancing, and everyone is inspired by the rhythm and chemistry between the two."

Mumble has grown up to be a respected leader within the Emperor penguin community. Elijah Wood returns to the role of the masterful tap-dancing penguin, whose unique talents have captured the hearts of so many. "I knew that George would never do a sequel unless it was something that he felt was true to the original story and that there was another compelling story to tell."

In fact, the same things that attracted the actor to the original film have been reprised in the sequel. "There are beautiful environmental themes throughout, pointing to the change that is occurring in our world now, and how it's affecting our precious animals," Wood continues. "George handles it so well, just as he did in the first film. It's woven into the piece in an organic way, along with the themes of love and identity. I think it's especially good for young people to see a film like this and recognize that it's ultimately the things that differentiate us from others that are our strongest defining characteristics. Those are qualities to be celebrated, not ashamed of."

If Mumble is the undisputed dance champ of Emperor Land, his mate Gloria is the undeniable diva. For the role of this powerhouse songstress, the filmmakers turned to Alecia Moore, also known as triple Grammy-winning recording artist P!nk. "P!nk was a natural for the role, and has been really superb," says director Miller. "She had sung in the opening of the first movie and wanted to be involved again because she's compassionate and a great animal lover. So for this one, in addition to voicing Gloria, she wrote the wonderful lullaby called 'Bridge of Light,' with Billy Mann."

No stranger to a recording booth, Moore was nonetheless a little nervous about making her voice acting debut. Watching other cast members helped to change that. She recounts, "I got to watch Brad [Pitt] and Matt [Damon] not only record some of their dialogue, but they also had to sing. They just went for it, and I thought, 'Wow, I really have nothing to fear in there.'"

Producer Mitchell says, "When it came to Alecia's turn to record, of course, she totally nailed it. She's a great professional and a lovely person. Her song, 'Bridge of Light,' is wonderful and touches on one of the great themes in the movie."

Another of Mumble's companions returns in the sequel: his best friend Ramon, the talkative Adelie penguin, who has been drawn to Emperor Land because he finds the senoritas altas alluring. Too bad they find him alarming.

Robin Williams again voices Ramon. "He is basically still the same incurable romantic. He still loves las chicas, but he has not found the bird of his dreams. And yet, he still has an image that he is a gift to all females, that they want him in the worst way. The Adelies all are very, very machismo; so though he is small, he is fierce."

According to co-screenwriter Gary Eck, "Robin Williams just brought so much to the table. He came up with these lines, and we sit there and you say, 'That's great! We'll use that! Sure, we spent eight months coming up with that line, but you just made it even better in two seconds. So, thank you!'" he laughs.

No matter how macho he is, a penguin can only take so much rejection from the opposite sex. Realizing he'll have no luck with the Emperor ladies, Ramon journeys back to Adelie Land, where he finds that things have changed. Not only is the "New Adelie Land" full of many different species of penguin, the place is more colorful--with patches of green peeking through the snow. And so is Lovelace, the guru Rockhopper Penguin who now sports a crazy rainbow sweater.

Lovelace is also voiced again by the multi-talented Williams, who points out, "Lovelace was rescued from an oil slick. A penguin loses buoyancy in a slick, so he was scrubbed up by humans--who the penguins refer to as 'the aliens.' But after being cleaned up, penguins lose some of the warmth of their feathers, so there are folks who knit little sweaters for rescued penguins. They can't swim in them, but until they're ready for release, they wear them. Lovelace's is striped; he looks like a tiny colorful Rasta penguin."

While Lovelace appears to occupy "center stage" in Adelie Land, he is actually now more the warmup guy than the headliner, having brought a new star to the Adelie community. Williams says, "Lovelace is now a kind of Foghorn Leghorn/Barry White preacher, and he's there to testify. Because it's Sven Time!"

George Miller explains, "Lovelace points up to the top of a tall iceberg and there, backlit by the sun with this beautiful sky, is a penguin unlike any we've ever seen before. He walks over to the edge of this massive tower, and the huge crowd cheers. Calling out, 'Up, up, uppity up!' he jumps...and he flies! He's a flying penguin with a huge red beak and golden hair on the back of his head. He just looks magnificent."

Hank Azaria, who is the voice of Sven, remembers how much he enjoyed the original film. "I knew nothing about the movie before I saw it. I couldn't believe I could be so moved by these computer-animated penguins who were singing and dancing, but that's what happened. That's the main reason I really wanted to be part of this."

Lovelace and Sven were thrown together when they were both rescued by the "aliens" on a scientific research ship. When Sven suddenly and unexpectedly flees their rescuers, Lovelace leads him to the all-new Adelie Land. There, Sven's belief in self-empowerment, known as SvenTHINKTM is given credibility by his unique ability to conquer the sky. Being seen as a penguin who can fly has gained him the adulation of the penguin masses who seek to follow his wondrous ways. The Mighty Sven has won the hearts and minds of the Adelies and all the other species who have gathered there: Chinstrap, Magellanic, Rockhopper and Fairy penguins.

Sven's exotic accent signals to the other penguins that he's from unknown lands. As Azaria tells it, "He has this funny honking laugh. Any role I take, whether it's animation or on camera, I start with the voice. George and I talked specifics on the accent and the register, and then form just followed function. Sven is smooth...smooth-y, as he would say. He's having a lot of fun being revered. He was the ugly duckling where he came from, and he's worshipped here. He'd fit right into Hollywood, I think."

Perhaps more jealous than skeptical, Ramon is at first, a non-believer. That is until SvenTHINK leads Ramon to his ideal mate: a caliente alpha-Adelie chica named Carmen. A statuesque Adelie beauty, Carmen has no shortage of suitors, so is quick to dismiss the advances of the love-struck Ramon.

Miller cast Sofia Vergara as Carmen. Mitchell, a fellow native of Colombia, comments, "Sofia is a great ambassador for Colombia. It's a very beautiful country, and the people have a great passion for life, and I think Sofia reflects all of that."

Vergara offers, "They showed me what Carmen looked like, and I thought, 'You know, if I were a penguin, that's what I'd probably look like.' I love her swagger, and she's very choosy. She has a flock of men always around her, but she's waiting for that special guy who'll make a grand romantic gesture and just sweep her away. Until then, she's just like, 'No thank you; just move along, Sen├Ár.'"

Whenever possible, Miller eschewed individual recording sessions in favor of groups who could interact with each other around the mic, and Williams enjoyed the opportunity to work with Vergara. "She's kind and so sexy. To have her there was a gift, and it's not hard to think ...'Imagine you're in love with this penguin. Okay. I'm ready. Let's go, let's do this. Do you mind if we get close? Too close? Oh, sorry.' But she was so much fun to work with."

When Ramon returns to Adelie Land it is not alone--he inadvertently becomes the unwilling guardian of three small tag-alongs, including Mumble and Gloria's son Erik. Feeling humiliated by his failure to dance, little Erik runs away by following his "uncle" Ramon, together with his best friends, Atticus and Boadicea. Called Bo, the last of the trio is a gymnastically gifted young penguin and the daughter of Emperor Land's elementary school teacher, Ms. Viola, voiced by the returning Magda Szubanski. The hippest one of the young runaways is young Atticus, the son of Seymour, who is played by rapper/actor Common in his animated feature film voice-acting debut.

"I never thought I'd get to play the role of a dancing, singing, rapping penguin," Common attests. "I watched the first movie, and it moved me, so to be able to be a part of that legacy was really exciting."

The actor says Miller described Seymour as "the cool dad with a hip-hop swing, which I knew I could totally accomplish." In fact, in the recording booth, he worked just as hard as if he'd been in front of the camera. "Pretty much every day I would come out of there with my shirt soaking wet from sweating, because I was expending a lot of physical energy getting into the character."

The perky Benjamin "Lil P-Nut" Flores, Jr., whom producers spotted in an appearance on "Ellen: The Ellen DeGeneres Show," was cast as Seymour's son, Atticus. Miller recalls, "He had so much 'swag,' as I say, and the little guy could freestyle the rap. But there was also something very professional and very centered in that kid."

The then-seven-year-old performer came to the role slightly disappointed, however, thinking at first he was going to get to dress up as a penguin. But once it was explained to him that a costume was unnecessary, he cut loose and found the experience "totally cool. I had a really good time using my imagination while I was doing the movie. It was like I was really a penguin out there, having this adventure," Flores says.

Atticus, who loves eating as much as rapping, is much more vocal than his shy little pal Erik. Miller expands, "Erik rarely speaks up, so his best friends, Atticus and Bo, end up doing most of the talking for him."

Like her mother, Ms. Viola, Bo is a consummate yodeler, but also excels at parkour or free-running, using snow drifts and moguls to move quickly and effortlessly over the icy Antarctic landscape.

For these baby penguin roles of Erik and Bo, Miller sought authenticity in his casting by slotting equally young performers in the parts. In order to keep the recording sessions fun and productive, George Miller and casting maven Kristy Carlson worked closely with the children at the microphone to carefully draw out and shape the performances from the youthful talent.

Producer Bill Miller describes them as "these tiny little people; like Ava Acres, who plays Erik, and Meibh Campbell, who plays Bo, who would come into the studio and be dwarfed by the mic stands and headphones around them. But there was nothing diminutive about their acting skills. Each one of these kids was able to express their wonderful ability to be in the moment--to become penguins and still be themselves."

Between these recording sessions, scratch tracks were laid down by the uniquely gifted voice of EG Daily to enable the the story reel and production to progress and evolve. In fact, the talented vocalist also provides Erik's singing voice in the final film.

To round out the cast, back from the original "Happy Feet" are Ramon's fast-quipping Adelie Amigos, voiced by Carlos Alazraqui, Lombardo Boyar, Jeff Garcia and Johnny Sanchez III. Hugo Weaving reprises the voice of Noah, the head elder of the Emperor Penguins. Weaving quips, "I've played a lot of different kinds of characters--assassins, villains, a Transformer, a drag queen--but it is rare that I get to play anything that comes near being 'cute.' That's a character challenge for me, and one of the reasons I came back to work for Mr. Miller."

 

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