Friday, November 18, 2011

Queen’s reign over Antarctica

Media Moment: Happy Feet Two
Queen-related: Queen songs featured

I subscribe to Roger Ebert’s movie reviews and happened to catch his two-line RSS description of Happy Feet Two a couple of days ago where he briefly mentioned Queen. Not thinking much of it, I deleted the RSS message but discovered another Queen reference to HF2 just today when I was watching the iTunes trailers for the movie.

In addition to the official trailers for HF2, there were also a few teasers and featurettes with one that showed the cast performing their lines in a recording studio. With Brad Pitt as the voice of Will the Krill, one teaser shows him singing — rather poorly, I might add — the chorus of We Are The Champions, presumably as his krill character will sing it in the movie (below). 

Hey, maybe that’s the Queen reference that Ebert was alluding to in his truncated RSS review. I went to Ebert’s website, found his review for HF2, and he does indeed mention Queen a few times:

“Happy Feet Two” is handled as a musical with a startling range of tastes; we get numbers all the way from Queen’s “We Are the Champions” to a solo aria, “E lucevan le stele,” from Puccini’s “Tosca.” You wonder how these penguins found out about Puccini. Then you realize it’s just as inexplicable how they found out about Queen. No matter. Younger viewers, who have no idea what an aria is, may simply enjoy the music.

Because HF2 debuts today in most theatres, there aren’t many early reviews on IMDb. One external review by Kathryn Schroeder at Film Fracture, however, does mention Queen in its summary of the movie’s song choices:

“For adults the use of Queen and David Bowie’s “Under Pressure” is a great inclusion for the finale…” 

Curiously, Schroeder doesn’t mention WATC in the song list. Maybe its appearance in the film is too short to warrant a full-on credit? Not so, according to the American iTunes store that is currently selling the soundtrack (I can’t get the soundtrack on Canada’s iTunes store just yet). There is definitely a full-length recording of WATC by John Powell, the film’s original music composer but no evidence of Pitt officially covering the song. So maybe his krill character has nothing to do with the song and he was just goofing off in the studio. That could say something about his personal taste in music.

Under Pressure, as sung by Pink’s character, is also on iTunes for this soundtrack although it’s mashed up with Rhythm Nation in the same track. 

 I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised that a song or two by Queen makes an appearance in this sequel . . . the original, Oscar-winning penguin movie featured Somebody To Love which, in my opinion, was the highlight of the film’s musical numbers.

George Miller, the writer and director for both movies, is an Australian who’s worked closely with Brian May. No, not our good doctor but the composer from Australia who scored those Mad Max and B horror movies from the 80s and 90s.


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