Happy Feet

Featured In Issue 120, May 2007

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Warner Home Video
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For some mild peril and rude humor
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Dual Side/Dual Layer (HD DVD30/DVD9)
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George Miller
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Mumble (Wood) is an emperor penguin, and everyone knows that emperor penguins need to sing. Singing just the right tune at just the right time guarantees a lifetime of happiness and commitment with just the right penguin. But Mumble can't sing, he can dance, and his "Happy Feet" seem to be moving all the time. Is the poor penguin destined to a lifetime of loneliness, or will he find a way to make beautiful music with his feet? (Tricia Spears)

Special features are the same as on the DVD, except there is no DVD-ROM material, and include the three-minute "Mumble Meets A Blue Whale" and the 30-second "A Happy Feet Moment" additional scenes, the five-minute dance lesson featurette "Dance Like A Penguin: Stomp To The Beat," two music videos—"Hit Me Up" by Gia and "The Song Of The Heart" by Prince, the eight-minute "I Love To Singa" cartoon, and the theatrical trailer.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.38:1 DVD exhibits a pleasing image, with vibrant colors, well-resolved details, and good depth. Pixilization and compression artifacting can be noticed from time to time, occasionally becoming rather distracting. Edge enhancement is minor but noticeable. The bright white fields of snow and ice are well defined, with good detail even in the most intensely bright
portions. While the imagery is good, it does have its problems. The two high-definition releases (both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc) improve upon the DVD's picture by increasing the level of fine detail in the animation and withholding the fantastic detail in the bright whites and deep blacks. Colors are vibrant, but the image just doesn't have the level of depth of field that the best animated high-definition releases possess. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack is superb, with well-placed phantom images around the room, a very active surroundfield, and a good use of the LFE channel to infuse the room with deep, articulate bass. Dialogue sounds natural, without the forwardness that usually accompanies animated titles. This dialogue is often directionalized across the front stage when multiple subjects are on screen, generally to good effect. Pans are created seamlessly from the front stage to the back, and off-screen effects are mapped well with their apparent locations. This is an enjoyable experience. The HD DVD includes both a Dolby Digital Plus EX™ encoding and a lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding, both of which sound more natural than the DVD release, with improved fidelity. The TrueHD encoding provides a slight improvement over the Plus encoding, and even though it is lacking the matrix-derived center surround channel, it is still preferred. (Danny Richelieu)