Who's in It:
The voices of Elijah Wood, Brittany Murphy, Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, Robin Williams, Hugo Weaving
The Basics: I was kind of hoping that this would be the singing/dancing penguin equivalent of David Cronenberg's Crash. That whole movie was just people having car accidents and then having sex. So 90 minutes of penguin-Moulin Rouge would have been fine with me. And it starts that way, but then veers off into all kinds of directions, for better and for worse.
What's the Deal? Here are some of those directions: They comment on pollution and the depletion of the ocean's fish by humans; they take the main Wood penguin on a hero's journey to stop those humans from de-fishing the ocean, he winds up in a zoo, he loses his mind, he meets a mystical penguin guru, he gives everyone dance lessons, and then real humans are superimposed into the action. It zigs and zags into a lot of different places you're not expecting. Entertaining throughout. But trippy.
Even Weirder: The Wood penguin looks like Wood. I don't know how they do that. But it's disconcerting.
Warning for Parents With Very Small Kids: There are at least three scenes in this movie that are genuinely scary. Circle-of-life stuff where the predators seem to leap right out of the screen and into your lap. If you have children under six, and they're not tough-as-nails, then you're going to have some screaming and crying on your hands.
Best Dance Move and Reason for PG-Rating, Not Counting the Scary Bits: There's this scene where Wood's and Murphy's penguins are falling in love and dancing and he freaks her from behind. And if you're an adult, you think, "Wait, did those penguins just do that?" The answer: Yes, they did.