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"Happy Feet"


bobhopefan1940
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bobhopefan1940 -

I don't agree that it all "looks ridiculous". If George Miller could pull off a film about a talking pig and turn it into an Oscar nominee, I have full faith that this will be an animated movie as successful and respected as any Ashman/Mencken Disney film.

 

And I love the editorial tag line I keep seeing in articles about the fillm -

 

"What's it like to be an Astaire in a world full of Sinatras."

 

from the LA Times "The Envelope" supplement today -

 

Penquin power

"Happy Feet" uses computer technology that rivals the Pentagon, but its director says the story is the film's strength.

By Geoff Boucher, The Envelope

November 15, 2006

 

Of the two fundamental questions presented by "Happy Feet," one concerns an intriguing plot conceit and the other an off-screen marketing challenge: What is it like to be an Astaire in a world full of Sinatras? And are audiences ready for another heartwarming film about frigid and flightless birds?

 

The first question is actually the answer to the second, said director George Miller, who has pieced together the film over three years. "Happy Feet" uses an animation technology billed as a breakthrough for its dynamic realism, but Miller said the bells and whistles were not as important as a sound narrative concept.

 

"The ideas of the film, the story of the film, those are its strength, as they must be," Miller said during the making of the movie, which arrives in theaters on Friday. "You can have all the technology in the world at your disposal, but if the story is not there, it's a terrible waste. My strength is as a storyteller."

 

With "Happy Feet," the tale is of Mumble, an emperor penguin who is one mean tap-dancer. The problem is, among a vast avian tribe of singers, he alone can't carry a tune. The emperor penguins each have a "heart song," and it helps them find their soul mate and leads to splashy mash-ups.

 

In other words, Mumble is stuck in a jukebox culture that's geared toward vocal duets, but all his talent is down in his feet.

 

The movie features the voices of Robin Williams, Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy and a number of stars from Down Under, among them Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Hugo Weaving and the late Steve Irwin.

 

The heart songs themselves make the film a pop-culture crazy quilt; hits made popular by the Beatles, Queen, Stevie Wonder, Rufus and the Steve Miller Band are among the songs that come out of the penguins' mouths, as well as a new tune called "Song of the Heart" written for the film by Prince.

 

"Happy Feet" may have plenty of familiar sounds, but Miller and company are hoping that its cutting-edge visuals will set it apart from the now-routine parade of big-budget animated features.

 

The distinction of "Happy Feet," Miller said, is its approach to animation, which he described as a "new level of photo-realism." Film crews with digital gear were dispatched south to film the sea, the tundra, the skyline, the wildlife and the unique light of Antarctica. They came back with reference material that was converted to data at Animal Logic, an animation factory outside Sydney.

 

"The computer memory here, in this building, rivals the Pentagon for sheer size," Miller said.

 

The goal was to tap into the natural spectacle of the vibrant environment and create an on-screen computerized image that might fool a naturalist in the audience. Most animation starts with an artist's creation and goes toward reality; this one went in the opposite direction. In other words, most cartoon films start at Snow White; this one started at white snow.

 

"It's a huge playground for us," Miller said, cuing up footage in a screening room at Animal Logic. And, indeed, the visuals -- the sheen on the water, the translucent beauty of ice, the moisture on tufts of feathers -- were remarkable.

 

The vistas will pull people in, Miller said, but, as with his earlier film "Babe," he expects the story and the fable to keep them cozy in this cold new world.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

(and Bond will be floating face down in the water in four weeks while the penguins will still be swimming, singing and tapping away. IMHO.)

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That tag line, "What's it like to be an Astaire in a World of Sinatras" is a bit nonsensical, since Fred Astaire's singing was second only to his dancing. Most of the great songwriters, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Gershwins included, said that Astaire was their first choice for interpreting their songs.

 

I love penguins---they are my favorite bird. :) But I haven't cared for the animation movies in the last few years---the characters as written are so often rather crude in their behavior and dialogue, which I find off-putting.

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I do know James Bond will kill those Penguins with his bare hands!

DeMilleBuff32,

 

 

hahahaha thats so funny, and so true! I can't wait to see both movies.

Even though this is a little off topic of happy feet (sorry bobhopefan1940) what do you think of james bond having blonde hair and blue eyes?

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> bobhopefan1940 -

> I don't agree that it all "looks ridiculous". If

> George Miller could pull off a film about a talking

> pig and turn it into an Oscar nominee

 

> The vistas will pull people in, Miller said, but, as

> with his earlier film "Babe," he expects the story

> and the fable to keep them cozy in this cold new

> world.

>

Kyle:

 

It may not be old enough to qualify as classic but "Babe" is one of my favorite films. It's wonderful in that it appeals to both kids and adults alike. The kid who voices Babe is very good. The whole thing is just a joy. My family also likes it and my kids are teenagers. I'll have to go see the new one.

 

Chris

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> That tag line, "What's it like to be an Astaire in a

> World of Sinatras" is a bit nonsensical, since Fred

> Astaire's singing was second only to his dancing.

> Most of the great songwriters, Cole Porter, Irving

> Berlin and Gershwins included, said that Astaire was

> their first choice for interpreting their songs.

>

 

Thanks for pointing this out, MissGoddess. It just goes to show that while Astaire's name is synonymous with dance, too many people don't really know what he was all about.

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Good morning everyone!

 

Miss Goddess:

 

This is one time I have to disagree with you, IMHO both Astaire and Kelly should have stuck to dancing. Fred seemed to 'talk' through his songs, and I've said before whenever Kelly sings, I want to 'ahem' clear my throat. As a singer myself in HS and neighborhood musical things, I know the last thing I did before going on stage was to clear my throat, and it sounds to me that Kelly never did.

 

Anne

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Hi Anne! I agree about Kelly---he's not a true singer in my opinion, but you might want to give Fred another listen, he's really good at hitting the right notes, as they were written by the composer, which is why they said they loved him. But he was so modest himself he'd be the first to agree with you. :)

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I won't point out names cause I can't keep up with who said what! ;)

 

First of all, I have to defend my babe Fred Astaire on his singing abilities. Talked through his songs? It's funny 'cause that's what my mother says about Sinatra! That's an outrage to Astaire fans all over and I can't help but be a little crossed! Now Kelly voice I agree... :)

 

And though I have never seen "Happy Feet" and it may indeed be a wonderful and delightful film, I doubt it comes near the charm or ingenious originality of Babe.

 

Furthermore, I didn't know Astaire's actual name is being used to promote this film. I don't exactly know how I feel about that. First of all, who is this flick aimed at? How many kids are going to know who Astaire or Frank Sinatra are? So obviously, this being aimed at an older audience: the parents. So then they will hopefully drag their children to the theater. I don't know, now I will probably have to go and see it to see just how Astaire's "likeness" is being portrayed in the film.

 

Oh, and no problem on the redirect to Bond. In fact, I must say in my oppinion this is the most handsome Bond they've ever had! Ha, I'm not a big Brosnan fan.

 

Thanks,

bhf1940 :D

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He would be, MissGoddess. The first time he was the mystery guest on "What's My Line?" someone on the panel asked him if he was a singer, and he indicated that he was not. Dorothy Kilgallen gave him a good scolding for that after his identity was revealed!

 

I don't think either Astaire or Kelly were singers foremost, but I love their "ordinary guy" voices. I'm a big Sinatra fan, too--but my favorite recordings of his are from that pre-1950s era when his voice was so throbbingly emotional.

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Not to belabor the point BUT -

 

Certainly Fred Astaire could carry a tune but he couldn't croon like Sinatra or Crosby ... and they certainly couldn't dance like him. Astaire expressed his talent as a dancer and Sinatra expressed his talent as a singer. That is the crux of the analogy and not meant to discount either of the talented men.

 

As for the use of the comparison in the film promotion, if the line was to read -

 

"What's it like to be a Nicholas Brother in a world of Sinatras?"

 

- the general public would be left scratching their heads.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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Certainly Fred Astaire could carry a tune but he couldn't croon like Sinatra or Crosby ... and they certainly couldn't dance like him.

 

lol, Ok, now that I agree with! But I did enjoy Frank's dancing on Anchor's Aweigh. He did at least keep up with Kelly! :)

 

Ayres said:

 

I'm a big Sinatra fan, too--but my favorite recordings of his are from that pre-1950s era when his voice was so throbbingly emotional.

 

Oh, how I agree with this! It's so true... Sinatra's voice just seemed to be too stylized in his later recordings. :P

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hahahaha thats so funny, and so true! I can't wait to see both movies.

Even though this is a little off topic of happy feet (sorry bobhopefan1940) what do you think of james bond having blonde hair and blue eyes?

 

I am really excited for Casino Royale tomorrow, and can't wait. I think the movie I going to be great and as an actor, Daniel Craig will do a great job. However, I feel he really doesn't have that traditional Bond look. The blue eyes are fine, since that is how Fleming described him, yet Fleming also frequently refers to Bond having jet black hair. Roger Moore DID have light brown hair, however he was playing a lighter-spirited Bond, and matched most of Ian Fleming's other traits for the character.

 

If only Craig slightly grew out, and darkened his hair, I would accept him alot easier as 007. He is supposed to be playing a darker Bond, yet he LOOKS like a lighter one. Personally, I think dark hair looks more masculine and intimidating, especially on James Bond. Now, he just seems like a Borne/24 rip off.

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"From the previews I've seen, I think the style of tapping will be closer to that of Greg Hines and Savion Glover (who is providing the sound of the lead penguin's taps)."

 

The brilliant Savion Glover is providing more than just the sound, he's also providing the movement. I recently saw a documentary about the making of this animation movie. They hooked sensors all over Mr. Glover's body and scanned his movements into the computer so that the penguins could make the identical movements. Quite a feat (happy feat?).

 

"It's hard to think of a terrific dancer from classic movies who wasn't also able to sing."

 

I can think of one: the beautiful Cyd Charisse. She danced divinely, but couldn't sing. She was usually dubbed by Carol Richards or India Adams. Rita Hayworth couldn't sing either. "Put the Blame on Mame" was actually the voice of Anita Ellis.

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Jack wrote: "The brilliant Savion Glover is providing more than just the sound, he's also providing the movement."

 

That is, as the kids say (or said 5 minutes ago), too cool.

 

 

When it comes to singing, I don't know about Cyd, but apparently Rita had a decent voice, just not a strong one. You are right about Rita being dubbed (in her movies with Astaire it was Nan Wynn who did the singing--though those movies have just about the best job of lip-synching that I've ever seen), but I understand that Hayworth does sing "Put the Blame on Mame" quietly in her own voice earlier in the movie (Gilda), while strumming a guitar in the empty bar.

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bhf1940 wrote -

 

"And though I have never seen "Happy Feet" and it may indeed be a wonderful and delightful film, I doubt it comes near the charm or ingenious originality of "Babe".

 

Well, because both films come from the same director, there is every reason to hope for a similar result. And Mr. Miller stressed the importance of the strength of the script and characters over the state-of-the-art technology in the articles I have read.

 

I just saw a blurb on CNN about the opening of the new James Bond film and "Happy Feet" this weekend and it said industry insiders believe that "Happy Feet" will beat Bond to the number one slot for the weekend. I wouldn't be surprised.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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bhf1940 -

Uh oh!

 

I don't know if I want to be held responsible for another person's $9.50 movie ticket, bhf1940. If it is a choice between Bond and the flightless birds, are ya sure sure you wouldn't rather opt for the blonde britisher?

 

I've read this am that there is a serious side to the film in the similar manner that "Babe" that touched on explaining to children that pigs are "food". (And Babe's mother disappeared to feed people!.) I don't know if it is that traumatic a concept for the little ones to learn (I think it is an environmental idea) but it explains why the film is a PG rating and not a G rating.

 

And how can one not smile at the thought of a penguin "getting down" to the strains of Stevie Wonder? (Hope it is "Boogie On Reggae Woman".)

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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