Director: George Miller, Warren Coleman
Actors: Brittany Murphy, Elijah Wood, Hugh Jackman
Genre: Animation, Comedy, Family
Happy Feet is a 2006 Australian-American computer-animated musical family film, directed and co-written by George Miller.
This is the story of a little penguin named Mumble who has a terrible singing voice and later discovers he has no Heartsong. However, Mumble has an astute talent for something that none of the penguins had ever seen before: tap dancing. Though Mumble’s mom, Norma Jean, thinks this little habit is cute, his dad, Memphis, says it “just ain’t penguin.” Besides, they both know that, without a Heartsong, Mumble may never find true love.
As fate would have it, his one friend, Gloria, happens to be the best singer around. Mumble and Gloria have a connection from the moment they hatch, but she struggles with his strange “hippity- hoppity” ways. Mumble is just too different–especially for Noah the Elder, the stern leader of Emperor Land, who ultimately casts him out of the community. Away from home for the first time, Mumble meets a posse of decidedly un-Emperor-like penguins–the Adelie Amigos… Written by Anthony Pereyra.
- The director used Savion Glover in a Motion Capture suit while tap dancing to record Mumble’s dancing.
- This film is dedicated, among others, to Steve Irwin, whose last film this was.
- Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Robin Williams, and Nicole Kidman all do their own singing.
- The dancers for the dance sequences not only had to wear a motion capture sensor suits for their movement but also had to wear special headgear to simulate the penguins’ beaks to force them to accommodate the anatomical feature for their characters’ dancing.
- All of the dancers in the film had to go through “Penguin School” to capture the movements of penguins.
- The translation of Raul’s Spanish speaking part of “Boogie Wonderland” is: “I am Raul, the coolest penguin, Latino of course, 100% Spanish! My brothers! (Yeah), Later the girl who lights me on fire will call, The party- dance, dance little girl! My heart has dynamite! BOOM!, (Exactly!), You look so beautiful to me baby!”
- First Best Animated Feature Oscar Winner to feature live-action, non-animated elements-as well as actual, telescopic imaging from space (the film must be at least 75% animated to reach Academy standards).
- During production, the code title used for this film was “Cat Don’t Dance”.
- When Gloria and Mumble are tumbling around on the ice after emerging from the water, they briefly slide into a human mating position (facing each other, lying down) and then slide into a penguin mating position (with Gloria on her belly and Mumble behind her).
- Norma Jean and Memphis are obviously named for Marilyn Monroe (who was born Norma Jean Mortensen) and Elvis Presley (who lived in Memphis, Tennessee). Their voices and mannerisms are imitations.
- Initially, Prince refused to allow the use of his song, “Kiss”, for the film. However, after seeing footage of the film, he not only changed his mind and allowed the song to be used, but also wrote an additional original song for the film to use in the closing credits.
- When Mumble is dancing you can see three black spots over his ankle area, this is in reference to the spats that used to be worn over shoes in early Fred Astaire dancing movies.
- Not only does Steve Irwin provide the voice for one of the elephant seals, but he was also originally cast to play an albatross that Mumble encounters as he crosses the ocean after the aliens. The albatross scene was cut from the final movie, but you can see it in the DVD extras. The scene was cut before animation was complete, so no actual animation existed until they were preparing the DVD for release. The director and the production crew felt that they needed to do something following Steve Irwin’s death, so they completed the scene and included in the DVD in remembrance of him.
- In order to tell the difference between the male and female emperor penguins, look at their beaks. If it has an orange spot, it’s a male. If the spot is pink, it’s a female. Also, the golden crest on the “breast” areas anthropomorphically correspond to gender differences.
- Mumble features a faded dark spot directly under his neck in the shape of a bow tie. This was added to make Mumble’s appearance more like a white tuxedo. This is both to emphasize the Fred Astaire resemblance (see above) and is also a play on “penguin suit”, a slang term for a black tuxedo.