In this toe-tapping sequel to the Oscar-winning children's favourite, fleet-footed Emperor Penguin Mumble (Elijah Wood) has to rally all manner of beasts - from mighty Elephant Seals to tiny Krill - to help save his massive extended family. Trapped in an ice-bound crater the result of global warming, they're facing death by starvation... and the lethal attentions of marauding skuas. Writer/director George Miller returns with another tale of loyalty and courage in the face of adversity... all to the infectious beat of Queen and massed choreographed delights of a thousand jitterbuggin' penguins.
The vast manic colony of tap-dancing, power ballad-warbling Emperor Penguins literally find themselves in a hole in this sequel to the 2006 box office hit.
As global warming melts the massive ice fields, they're marooned in a huge crater after an enormous shift in the polar caps, leaving them at the mercy of the cold, hunger and salivating predators.
Their only hope of escape lies with Mumble (Wood) who together with his three nippers, including the dance-averse Erik, have to figure out a way of rescuing their people.
Small children will find enjoyment in this colourful toon and there's certainly plenty to admire in the sumptuous animation and richly detailed arctic landscapes.
However, plot-wise it's a meandering, stuttering mess with tsunamis roaring into life only to mysteriously disappear, a fistful of plot strands meaninglessly loitering about and any sense of danger immediately undermined by all-too-obvious solutions.
Matt Damon and Brad Pitt are probably the best thing on show, playing a couple of beautifully rendered krill who are desperate to "move up the food chain" and escape the uniformity of their brethren.
Elsewhere, Robin Williams continues to irritate as a Mexican/Pakistani penguin, the fluffy Erik is eminently slappable and the trademark penguin community dance-a-thons now have the feel of a Nuremberg rally scored by Motown.
There are impressive setpieces - a bellicose Australian elephant seal is worth a chuckle and Brad and Matt's run-in with a killer whale will have the kiddies cowering...even if the adults are squirming at the trite life lessons sledgehammered home at every turn.