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Concept HF 002

Before Happy Feet was released in 2006, the first draft had a very different story and tone than the finished version.


Plot[]

The film is aided by a narration from the main character Mumble throughout, instead of Robin Williams as Lovelace. As such, while the finished film's narration aided the mythic narrative in classic "Road Warrior/Beyond Thunderdome" style by lionizing Mumble after the fact and tying into the climactic moment when he leaps off the iceberg to follow the ships, this one is a lot more personal, and that's reflected in it when it allows us to gain fuller insight into penguin society, religion and things like that which we don't get in the finished film.

There's a lot of curses. Like, a lot. The entire thing has a much more Ocker, Australian feel. I don't think it's any secret by now that Happy Feet was never really intended to be primarily a children's film, but it's obvious from this that it was originally meant to appeal to a more narrow age-group than the finished movie, which sits somewhere between Watership Down and Golden Age Disney. This one falls distinctly to the left on that spectrum.

The famine subplot is more greatly expanded upon in the film's opening sequences, and in every scene after, where it becomes the defining event that we're told is killing off the penguin wives after their return from the hunt in large numbers. As the film progresses, the colony becomes tinier and more sparse, until by the end it's a shadow of its former self. There's also a scene early on where, after Mumble wonders off on his own to dance, he doesn't end up on the huge ice mountain looking over the colony, but instead into a weird, far out section of the colony which is populated by starving penguin fathers going insane from lack of food.

The songs used for particular characters are different, as are places and names. Instead of John Powell's orchestral score, there is a fuller use of a pretty wide-ranging set of music from Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper, The Who, The Ramones and so on as the soundtrack, which are explicitly noted in the screenplay. This would've been really interesting, but I would miss John Powell's amazing, eclectic and powerful score that's such a part of the film's big, mythic feel.

The last third is much, much different - Mumble's capture and imprisonment in the zoo is expanded and, aided by the narration, much more disturbing. It's also said that he spends a year inside. After he saves the penguin colony, we're also explicitly told the reason why the world governments backed off of fishing - which is not purely out of concern for the penguins, but because this event is just enough to push prior bills to ban overfishing through , and also because it could mean they're a sentient, cognitive species trying to communicate. This last thing is a really big idea that I would've loved to have seen in the finished film.

And lastly, the ending. Which is also different, and very Miller. Instead of the huge, hallucinogenic dance number we see at the end of the finished movie, we leave Mumble as he watches Ella (Gloria in the finished film) walk off into the mist with the rest of the wives, with his chick on his feet , and worries about her safety. We then pan out to reveal shadowy forms watching Earth from way above - who decides to pull away from harvesting our sun for energy, because we find out they resemble penguins, somehow. Shiny, translucent, giant alien penguins. As they walk away into the dark of the ship, one of them dances a tiny jig.


Why It Was Cancelled[]

  1. Due to creative differences with George Miller and Warner Bros. executives, the first draft of Happy Feet was scrapped and a new script had to be written.
  2. Warner Bros. executives wanted the film to be for a family audience.


Results[]

  • This version of Happy Feet was permanently cancelled.
  • The final version of Happy Feet was released and was a box office success with positive reviews and a sequel would later come out in 2011.


Gallery[]

Trivia[]

https://happyfeet.fandom.com/wiki/Happy_Feet/Original_Script

Also, some Happy Feet storybooks and posters show Mumble as a fully-fledged Emperor Penguin. This is because until late in the film's production, it was intended for Mumble to lose his down feathers during his pursuit of the fishing fleet. However, it was decided that Mumble would keep half of his juvenile down throughout the story, to make him different to the other Emperor Penguins. Here are a few images of adult Mumble: [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Mumble moulting:[9]

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