Young Mumble (Elijah Wood) may be the only emperor penguin in his community who can't sing but, boy, can he dance.
This animated Arctic adventure is cool in so many unexpected ways, kids--and many adults--may be mesmerized! It would be easy to brush it off simply as a musical version of last year's hit documentary March of the Penguins, but Babe director George Miller has created a movie-going experience that's as different as Mumble himself. Filled with life lessons, environmental warnings, star power voices (Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman), and extravagant musical numbers choreographed by tapmaster Savion Glover, the movie ultimately proves that what's really important is not how you express yourself, but the fact that you do.
This movie is intended for older children.
Although they will probably be smitten by the irresistible penguins, very young children may be terrified by the close-ups of sharp-toothed leopard seals and killer whales as they try to eat Mumble during long, graphic chase scenes. Preschoolers are likely to get into the music and may feel the need to get up and try some of Mumble's moves themselves!
Kids in this age group, who are just beginning to find their own voice, may relate to Mumble and, like him, will heed his dad's advice that "Triumph starts with 'try' and ends with a great big 'oomph!'" They can also take solace in the fact that he ends up being the hero despite his terrible singing voice. Those who have seen March of the Penguins will feel a comfortable familiarity with the opening scenes of the movie, in which the moms take off to find food while the dads care for the eggs during the bitter winter.
Although their first reaction may be that the movie is too babyish for them, older kids just may turn this into a cult favorite. They'll love the eclectic variety of music--from hip-hop and reggae to Queen and the Beach Boys--and will snicker at the references to mating season, like when one of the penguin leaders says, "Why don't we all go forth and multiply?" Tweens, who often view conformity and not standing out as top priorities, may learn some important lessons from the enthusiastic and tenacious Mumble.