Following the runaway success that was last year's documentary 'March of the Penguins,' it is no surprise that two different studios are looking to capitalize on said animals' cute, waddling box-office charisma. What is surprising is how good -- and different -- both films look. Today, I saw footage from these upcoming animated features, Sony's 'Surf's Up' and Warner Bros.' 'Happy Feet,' at Comic-Con and found myself feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside (and smiling on the outside) after both presentations.

'Surf's Up' is a faux behind-the-scenes documentary chronicling the adventures of Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf), a young penguin who -- much to the chagrin of his friends and family -- wants to shred some ocean in the supercompetitive world of penguin surfing. Sony screened a ton of footage, much of it hilarious mock interviews with Cody and his fellow penguins, and my final impression is that the movie has a very similar tone to the TV show 'The Family Guy.' The humor is very sarcastic and often relies on flashbacks for its best punchlines. As far as the animation goes, it looks top-notch to me. All in all, I'd have to say I'm very much looking forward to this flick, even though it won't be released till June 28, 2007.

In the meantime, there's 'Happy Feet,' opening Nov. 17, 2006, to tide over impatient penguin aficionados. Much like 'Surf's Up,' 'Feet' tells the story of a penguin whose life's ambitions aren't so much in synch with his fellow waddlers. In this tale, most penguins use their wondrous singing voices to attract a mate. Unfortunatley, the appropriately named Mumble (Elijah Wood) can't sing worth a damn, so he's forced to use his tap-dancing skills to get him some lovin'. Also starring the voice talents of Hugh Jackman, Robin Williams and Brittany Murphy, 'Feet' should be a whole lot of fun for families this holiday season.

Tags: Comics, Comic-Con, Summer Movies
categories Features, Cinematical