I thought by now I was immune to the charms of aquatic, flightless birds who dance or sing. I had not reckoned with the skills of director/co-writer George Miller, whose Happy Feet Two displays a new friskiness. Earnest messages about bad climate change and good parenting skills have been replaced by a we-all-share-a-planet sense of fun that's more Finding Nemo than National Geographic. Contributing substantially to the party, big movie stars Brad Pitt and Matt Damon join in (and steal their part of the show) as teensy crustaceans Will and Bill the Krill.
Five years ago, Miller introduced Mumble (Elijah Wood), a young emperor penguin who came out as a dancer in a society that put a higher value on singing. Now he's the father of a fluff ball named Erik. Here's the irony: Erik hates to dance. But their story is just one of an impressive many kept aloft. (Robin Williams is back too, in the dual birdy roles of Ramon and Lovelace.) Miller makes nice, subtle points about interdependence on earth. Meanwhile, the earthmates in Happy Feet Two continue to dance, sing, and, yes, charm. A-