The children's flick comes with an environmental subtext, but it's even less likely to inspire controversy than the original dancing-penguins film
There are predatory birds and hungry sharks in Happy Feet Two, the sequel to the 2006 Oscar winning smash hit about dancing, singing penguins. But climate change is the real villain of George Miller's film, reshaping the Antarctic tundra with the insidiousness of a criminal mastermind.
Yes, Happy Feet Two is the latest family movie to come complete with a politically tinged Very Important Message. The first Happy Feet dramatized the perils of overfishing. Pixar's Wall-E critiqued consumerism. This year's Cars 2 touted the benefits of alternative fuels. And way back in '92, Fern Gully took on deforestation. You can understand why this happens: What better way to make some environmental threat look truly threatening than to put cute, animated beings in peril?
Many conservatives weren't happy with the original Happy Feet. Glenn Beck, for example, called it "propaganda" on his defunct CNN Headline News program in 2006, decrying it as an "animated version of An Inconvenient Truth." The meme hasn't died: This year, a FoxNews.com commentator complained that "Hollywood has been putting politics and heavy messages into so-called children's animated fare instead of just trying to tell timeless stories like 'Snow White' or 'Pinocchio.'" But so far, Happy Feet Two hasn't stirred up much controversy, beyond the New York Post's Kyle Smith joking—or maybe not joking?—that the film serves as a liberal allegory for the Greek debt crisis.