I’m not entirely sure if this movie is “good” or not, but it’s definitely unique. The movie starts off in a very conventional manner, as a jukebox musical starring cute penguins, and the first thirty minutes make it seem like a pretty average kid’s movie. In fact, the film, especially in its first half hour, is actually really reminiscent of Don Bluth’s The Pebble and the Penguin, sometimes to the point of borderline plagiarism (seriously, there’s no mistaking it, right down to the chase scene with the giant leopard seal that, judging from the proportions, is supposed to be the size of a jet liner).
Mind you, that’s only in the early scenes. Then the movie gradually moves into more interesting territory, leading into what may be the weirdest delivery of an environmental message I’ve ever seen on film. By the last half hour, this movie resembled absolutely nothing I have ever seen on a movie screen in my entire mortal existence.
And ultimately, I think any film this creative and unique that doesn’t flat-out suck is deserving of a certain respect. I’ll admit that I didn’t whole-heartedly love this movie, but I was _impressed_ by it. I was impressed by the stunning quality of the visuals in general. I was impressed by how surprisingly little the CGI-animated penguin characters were anthropomorphized in their designs. I was impressed by the frequently superb singing, particularly that of Hugh Jackman and Brittany Murphy. I was impressed by how they integrated the CGI penguins and the live-action human in a flawlessly seamless manner. I was impressed by how they managed to preach an environmental message without falling into the cliché Ferngully trap of demonizing humans. And finally, as an Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer myself, I was extremely impressed by their very well-crafted metaphor for the problems and issues facing my own demographic. Hell, I was impressed by their ability to juggle about five different metaphoric messages and have them make sense on all levels.
So yeah, even though I found this movie to be a little off-putting in its sheer weirdness and even though not everything about it works all the time, I certainly don’t feel I can dismiss it.