In a colony of singing, dancing penguins, Mumble (Wood) the talented tap dancer from the first film and Gloria (Pink), his gifted singer wife, now have a son called Erik (Acres), the only penguin who can neither dance nor sing. Devoid of any other talents, Erik becomes something of an outcast.

Inspired by Ramon (Williams), a highly eccentric penguin, Erik decides to leave home with two of his friends for a place where untalented penguins would be more welcome. Upon discovering their absence, Mumble takes off to look for the kids. He finds them in thrall of a flying penguin named The Mighty Sven (Azaria) who has them believing that anything is possible if they just will it to be so (The Secret, anyone?). On their way home, Mumble saves a trapped elephant seal yet is disheartened when Erik, who he has a rocky relationship with, chalks the success up to Sven’s influence as opposed to Mumble’s personal endeavours. When they finally get back home, they find their entire colony trapped without food between two glaciers that had suddenly shifted. As the colony’s only free penguins, it’s up to Mumble and the kids to save the rest.

Intertwined with the previous storyline is another arc focusing on two krill named Bill the Krill (Pitt) and Will the Krill (Damon). Bill longs to experience life outside of the swarm, and being the highly curious and brave character that he is, he decides to swim opposite to his swarm and taste the independent life. His friend Will tries to dissuade him yet ends up tagging along with Bill on his adventure, freaking out every five seconds and sorely testing his patience.

The film seems rather undecided about the story it wants to tell. Repeated allusions are made to the horrors of global warming, yet they were never fleshed out. The two story arcs; the krills’ separation from the swarm and the trapped penguins, don’t come together satisfactorily. The film is at its best when Bill and Will interact on screen, yet when they split up and Bill’s storyline tangentially intersects with that of the trapped penguins, the film grinds to a halt. Frankly, it seems like the story took a backseat in favour of the visuals, coming across as a loosely related series of song and dance numbers that work better separately than in the context of the film.

The film’s visuals are pretty schizophrenic. Some aspects are just absolutely stunning, for example, the ice crystals look like diamonds and close-ups on the snow are breathtaking. The animals also look amazing; especially in the attention to detail from the way they look to the way they move. On the other hand, some scenes look rather unfinished or rushed. For example, one of the singing scenes takes place during an aurora, which was supposed to add to the song’s majestic vibe. In actuality, though; it looked like a laptop screensaver.