The Amazing Matt Damon
The Oscar-winning star reveals why he'll never get over the death of mate Heath Ledger. Plus, a world exclusive look at his latest movie, We Bought A Zoo. We also meet the man whose life story inspired the film.
Although there are foreboding images of melting glaciers (an ecological disaster that traps the colony, spurring a rescue attempt), the movie mostly involves cornball stuff and nonsense, the best of which is voiced and sometimes sung with enthusiasm by two brilliantly orange krill, Will (Brad Pitt) and Bill (Matt Damon), whose dumb and dumber routine approaches Vladimir and Estragon levels of existential dark humor.
The krill swim away with the movie, though an elephant seal, Bryan the Beachmaster (Richard Carter), or rather his exquisitely animated schnoz (technically his proboscis), has his moments. Truly, the movie could use more of Will and Bill and their adventures beyond the krill swarm.
Will yearns to be his own crustacean, and Bill yearns to be with Will, a desire that turns their part of the movie into a sweetly amusing bromance. Mostly, the krill allow Mr. Miller to cut loose from the penguins, which he does both in beautiful images of the undulating orange swarm that echo the aurora borealis that transfixes the penguins up on land and in extreme close-ups of Bill and Will that, because the movie was shot in 3D, turn the humble, wee creatures into the approachable heroic colossi they are.
On top of this, “Happy Feet Two’’ layers the shy Erik’s struggle to find his own talent (believe me, it ain’t what you think; in fact, it’s the movie’s single freakiest curveball); a subsidiary plotline about a wayward Svedish-accented puffin (Hank Azaria) whose ability to fly makes him the penguins’ new guru; and - from way out in left field - two shrimplike krill, Will (Pitt) and Bill (Damon), who escape their fate as whale food and head out to climb the food chain and become predators. The two stars throw themselves wholeheartedly into what anyone over the age of 10 will recognize as a funny, moving tale of same-sex invertebrate romance.
That isn’t even the leading “Huh?” moment. Repeatedly and tiresomely, we cut away from these tangents within tangents to go completely off-topic for updates on a quarrelsome pair of krill (Matt Damon, Brad Pitt) who speak in witless wordplay and rhymes. They’re named Will and Bill the Krill. Their lines go like this: “There’s no such thing as free, Will,” “Goodbye, krill world” and “One in a krillion.” Their drill is nil and made me ill.
Perplexingly, things take a turn for the gay: Damon’s krill says he wants to raise kids together, at which point Pitt’s notes that they’re both males, yet Damon thinks this is no big deal and (I’m not making this up) starts suggestively singing a Wham! song, which causes Pitt (not unreasonably) to dump Damon. I’ve got nothing against alternative-lifestyle krill, but what are they doing in my dancing-penguin movie?
The second half marks an improvement (though my hopes that the krill would wind up sharing a plate with some cocktail sauce never came to pass) because it settles on one story line.
As a philosophical krill on a voyage of self discovery, Brad Pitt’s performance in “Happy Feet Two,” which he almost single-handedly saves, makes more sense to me than his work in that other 2011 release, the Terrence Malick thumb-sucker “Tree of Life.” “Happy Feet Two” is really “Krill Tree of Life,” a visually daring and splendid quest for knowledge in which the lowly krill ponders his position in the universe as “lunch.” Other than these scenes in which Pitt and friend and colleague Matt Damon play the crustacean “Odd Couple” of the underwater world, Will (Pitt) and Bill (Damon), the film is mostly a bust.
In scenes involving the aforementioned krills, Will expresses his need to be free of the swarm, and buddy Bill assures him, “There is no such thing as free, Will.”
Fox decided to hold the sneaks based on the results of test screenings in big cities and America's heartland.
The studio is partnering with TOUT on a "TOUT Takeover," which will allow those attending the sneaks to post their own reviews of the film (one entrant will win a trip for four to the San Diego Zoo). The social media campaign also will include a live chat with Crowe following the film, and tie-ins with Twitter and Facebook.
"I think I'm the one getting the early holiday gift," Crowe said. "Holding previews so far ahead of our opening is a bold movie -- but that's one of the many reasons I like it."