Mumble is the main protagonist in Happy Feet and the deuteragonist in its sequel, Happy Feet Two. He is Memphis and Norma Jean's son, Gloria's husband, Erik's father and Lovelace's best friend. He is unique that he is the only emperor penguin to not have a heartsong, and the first to be able to tap dance.
He is voiced by Elijah Wood as an adult and E.G. Daily as a child.
Mumble is first seen as an egg, which is handed off to his father, Memphis, by his mother, Norma Jean. During his incubation, he is dropped and briefly exposed to the environment's sub-zero temperatures, before being picked back up. This event may contribute to his different mannerisms later on in the film.
Memphis worries when his Egg does not hatch when the other penguins' do. A friend of Memphis, Maurice, comes by with his dsughter Gloria, to see what happened. Gloria spots the egg, taps on it and hears a response from inside. Two feet break from the egg and as they begin to walk off down a snow bank, Gloria playfully addresses the egg as "Mr. Mumble" thus naming him when he hatches.
Mumble is shown to be an excellent dancer from the moment he hatches, though everyone fails to see this and assume that there is something wrong with his feet. While Mumble attends to school, he is discovered to be lacking a Heartsong, which is said by his teacher, Miss Viola, to be very important for being a truly penguin. In fact, he has a terrible singing voice, which does not improve despite Miss Viola sending him to Mrs. Astrakhan, the best singing teacher. As a result, Mumble is teased, and Norma Jean, worries that he will never find a mate and spend his life alone. But Memphis objects, saying that their son will grow up to be normal after strengthening his "singing muscles".
Having his dancing being looked down upon, Mumble finds a place to dance where no one can see him. He is discovered by a group of hungry skuas that tries to eat him. Mumble manages to escape by distracting the skuas by asking what was the thing around their leader's leg. Their leader explains to Mumble (before he escapes) that he has been abducted by aliens (which was actually the humans). Intrigued by the thought of aliens and worlds beyond his own, Mumble becomes lost in his imagination instead of paying attention in school.
At the graduation party (after Mumble becomes adult), Mumble's friend and secret love interest Gloria sings "Somebody to Love" for everyone, but Mumble gets so caught up with the music, that he himself tries to sing. His out-of-tune singing, causes the other penguins to chuck him old.
The next day, Mumble is sleeping on an ice float, initially, he thought it was his colleagues, until he started being chased by a leopard seal. The leopard seal chases him, and he eventually ends up where the adélie penguins live. He them meets five adélie penguins named Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul. They taunted the leopard seal until he gave up and flopped away.
Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul also take interest at Mumble's dance, which makes them to immediately take a liking towards Mumble. They soon invites Mumble to meet their land, and they become fast and true friends of him. At their home, everyone was singing and dancing, and they use some of their newly learned tap dancing to impress some female penguins, to no avail. Mumble notices that some of the penguins there were carrying around rocks. He mistakenly assumed that the male penguin was going to eat it, until Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul explains him that it was a lovestone, for getting a mate.
Mumble, Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul are walking and dancing when the piece of ice Mumble was dancing on breaks, and he fails down to a steep mountain. Nestor notes that Mumble is "so accidentally cool" and the five jumps after him. After sliding down the icy mountain, Mumble, Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul fall into the ocean, where a piece of ice breaks off and releases a bull-dozer, which intrigues Mumble. Ramón advice him to talk to Lovelace, a "wise and all-knowing" rockhopper penguin. They later takes Mumble to meet Lovelace, then Mumble could have his answers. Lovelace has plastic rings from a six-pack-soda-can around his neck (which was said to be his "sacred talisman"), which he claims the mystic beings (which was actually the humans as well) gave to him. After asking many questions, and not having answered, Lovelace decides to stop answering questions for the day.
Mumble, Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul head to Emperor Land where it is mating season. Mumble tries to impress Gloria, but he knows he can't sing, so Ramón hides behind Mumble and sings to Gloria. She doesn't fall for it and at first, rejects him, but when he dances to her heartsong, she ends up falling in love with him, and many other penguins dance with them. Unfortunately, Noah, the leader of the emperor penguins, see their antics and banishes Mumble for not changing his ways. Mumble accepts, but threads to return after he discover why the fishes were disappearing. Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul goes with him on his journey. They returns to Lovelace with Mumble now determined to find out information about the fish shortage and wants to speak to the aliens.
After finding Lovelace, they discovers that Lovelace is chooking because the thing around his neck is too tight. Lovelace confess that it was never gives by the mystic beings (nor anyone else either) and that it actually caught around his neck while he was swimming. However, Mumble offers to help Lovelace, and asks him to take them to the Forbiden Shore (where Lovelace found his "talisman"), and then they could find the aliens to discover what happened to fishes and how to take the thing out of Lovelace's neck. Mumble and Lovelace soon begins their journey, along with Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul.
Mumble, Lovelace, Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul later discovers that Gloria has followed them, as she wanted to go with Mumble. However, Mumble did not wanted Gloria to go with him on his journey, as he knew it would be dangerous, and Gloria could die. In order to protect her, Mumble jokingly insults her singing voice in order to drive her away, and then she leaves to home. They also meet a land of elephant seals along their way, who warn them of the "aliens annihilators" (which was actually a boat or a ship the humans used to go fishing).
The next day, Mumble, Lovelace, Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul arrive at the Forbiden Shore. There, they are attacked by orcas, and Lovelace gets his talisman off his neck in the proccess. They all manages to escape the orcas, and Mumble saves Lovelace's life during the proccess, which makes Lovelace begins to look up to Mumble as his savior and best friend.
Mumble, Lovelace, Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul later finds fishing ships come to the Forbiden Shore and the penguins watch them plunder fish. Mumble follows the ship leaving the others behind. Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul backs to Emperor Land to tell Norma Jean about Mumble's heroic acts and that he is fine, while Lovelace (graceful towards Mumble for saving his life) decides to count everyone about Mumble's journey of heroism and search to find who he was. He eventually washes up on a beach and gets put into a zoo where's he surrounded by humans (which he still thought it was aliens) who can't understand what he is saying and his cries about the fish, that they were accidentally stealing from the penguins. After three months, a little girls communicates with Mumble by tapping on the aquarium glass and Mumble responds by dancing where his trap dancing attracts a worldwide attention. The humans decides to figure out where Mumble is from, and discover what he was trying to say. They then return Mumble to Emperor Land, where he reunites with Gloria, Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo, Raul and his parents, Memphis and Norma Jean. He convinces all the penguins (except Noah and the Elders) to dance for the humans so the human will give their fishes back. They starts training Mumble's dance, when the humans arrives in a helicopter. Soon all the penguins (even Noah and the Elders) dance for the humans, who take footage of them and the United Nations decide to protect the penguins' food supply.
In the end, all is well. Mumble gets married with Gloria and becomes a hero. All the emperor penguins dance with Mumble, alongside Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo, Raul and Lovelace.
In the sequel, Mumble is now married with Gloria and has a son named Erik. He is first seen at the Opening Medley when he was tap dancing with his son. Then, Gloria was dancing and coming to Mumble and he faced the other way. He tap dances to Gloria as the emperor penguins continue dancing. He first asks Erik about dancing together. But Erik falls and get embarrassed by the other kids. Erik faults his father Mumble for making him join the dance. Erik and his two best friends, Atticus and Boadicea, follow Ramón to Adélie-Land. This makes Mumble, Gloria, Seymour (Atticus's father) and Miss Viola (Boadicea's mother) worried about them. Then Mumble goes to Adélie-Land to search for them. He finds them with Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo, Raul and Lovelace. Mumble is forced to bring the three home. Erik is initially reluctant to go, but is convinced by a "flying penguin" named Sven (who was actually a Atlantic Puffin) who got on Erik's thoughts, making him almost forgets his father's presence on his life.
On the way home, Mumble, Erik, Atticus and Boadicea meets an elephant seal named Bryan and his children, Shane and Darren. Bryan is blocking the path across the fissure and he doesn't want to back up away from the crossing so Mumble and the kids can go home. Bryan then falls and brings the crossing with him. Mumble saves Bryan after seeing his children desperate. After Mumble saves his life, Bryan gracefully says that he owes one to Mumble promises him to help him anytime, anyplace and anything. Then, Mumble, Erik, Atticus and Boadicea continue their journey to the Emperor Land.
Things get worse when the world is shaken by powerful forces. Emperor-Land is trapped by a massive glacier of ice and snow, with Mumble, Erik, Atticus and Boadicea as the only penguins to be free. Mumble then sends Boadicea to go Adélie-Land to find Ramón and Lovelace to bring as many adélie penguins as they can. After Boadicea arrives with the adélies, Lovelace and Sven, they tries to keep the emperor penguins feed by bringing fish for them. Later on, Lovelace get the attention of some humans to build a way out for the penguins. However, a storm starts and the humans leave. Later, the sea is frozen, turning impossible for Sven and the adelie penguins to bring fish for the emperor penguins. Desesperated, several emperor penguins slide down a mountain in order to fly outta there. The penguins, still believing that Sven is a penguin (except for Mumble) asks him to teach them how to fly. Sven almost manages to take Seymour outta there, but he fails and then reveals his true species, making the penguins upset. Mumble then realized that if they danced enough, they could move the snow into making a way outta there. However, several penguins falls into the Doomberg, including Atticus, Boadicea, Lovelace and Carmen, Ramón's new love interest. Not wanting to be without her, Ramón jumps into the Doomberg, thus finally winning Carmen's heart. The only ones to be free are Mumble, Erik, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul and half ot adélie penguins, while the other half fails into the Doomberg. They still try to dance, but with several penguins fallen, their moves is not enough. Sven tries to help, but still is not enough. Mumble and Erik then goes to the elephant seal land to asks Bryan help. Bryan initially refuses, because he is busy fighting Wayne, one elephant seal who wants to take Bryan's land. This makes Bryan somewhat ungraceful towards Mumble, even threatning to become a meatbag and to eat him. However, Erik, realizing that Mumble is his true hero, sings about Mumble's heroics, convincing Bryan and the elephant seals (even Wayne) to help them. They all (even Erik) then tap dances on the ice, making enough snow and ice fall to create a sort of stairway to the top off the glacier.
Mumble make pieces with Erik (they apologize each other), they reunites with Gloria, the penguins forgives Sven for his lies and Sven starts living with them. The film ends with the penguins and Sven looking for a new home.
Mumble is a good-hearted, heroic, selfless, brave, kind, friendly and shy penguin. Though the most of the emperor penguins initially saw Mumble as a curse for his differences, Mumble is actually the most kind of his type. This is seen as he was determined to save his nation from the fish scarcity (and later the Doomberg), despite their prejudice towards him. Mumble can also be independent, as he himself claimed he could change his mannerisms. He is also very lonely, as most of the emperor penguins mocked him for his dance, which made Mumble adopts a somewhat solitary attitude. However, he no longer feels lonely, and he ended up being accepted by his nation after he saved them from the fish scarcity.
Like most main protagonists, Mumble's main journey on his first film was to find out who he was. Because of the other penguins' prejudice towards them, Mumble spent most of his life alone wondering if somewhere out the ice would have some place where he could be himself. When he and his friends found the ship, though Mumble's friends' journey was completed, Mumble's journey however had only begun. At the zoo, he almost got crazy after standing there for three months, even having illusions of Norma Jean, Gloria and his friends.
Mumble can also be extremely brave and fearless when a situation calls for it. This is shown when he retrieves a fish he caught for Gloria from several skuas, and when he chases the human ship into the unknown world outside the ice in hopes of finding fish that are being taken from his home. His selflessness is seen when he "insults" Gloria's singing voice into driving her away in order to protect her from his dangerous journey, selflessly sacrificing a love life he could have with her just for her safety, something that Nestor even noted by saying "Buddy, you did what was right!". However, everything is fine now, as the couple is currently married and living a happy life with their son, Erik.
Mumble is also very compassionate and forgiving. When he learned out that Lovelace was fooling the adélie penguins into thinking his talisman was given by the mystic beings (which actually caught on his neck while he was swimming), Mumble still wanted to help Lovelace get the thing out of his neck. He even risked his life to save Lovelace from orcas, which made Lovelace begins to see Mumble as both his savior and his best friend. Lovelace even called Mumble as "Brother" and "My savior" and said "thanks" to him multiple times during the orca attack. His compassion is also seen in the sequel, after Sven reveals his true species, losing most of the penguins' respect towards him for his lies, except for Mumble, who shown pity towards Sven, even inviting him to dance with them in the end. Mumble also forgives his nation for their prejudice towards him after he saved them from the fish scarcity.
Due to Mumble's lack of knowledge of the world outside the Emperor Land, Mumble can also be naïve and innocent. His naivete is shown when he accepts Ramón and his friends' invitation to Adélie-Land despite the fact that Mumble has just met them (though they were actually good penguins). His naivety is also shown when he learns of Adélie-Land as he mistankely assumes a penguin was going to eat a stone, until his new friends explains him it was actually a lovestone to win he hearts of the ladies. His naivety is seen again in the zoo, when he tries to talk to the humans, not knowing that they can't understand penguins language. His naivety can make Mumble very charismatic, which made Ramón, Nestor, Lombardo, Rinaldo and Raul immediately take a liking towards him. However, in Happy Feet Two, Mumble's naivety seems to have totally disappeared. That can be seen because he was the only penguin who did not believe a penguin could fly, though he also did not suspect that Sven was not a real penguin.
Though Mumble has no corrupt qualities, he begun to get somewhat easily angered. That can be seen when Bryan blocks his way and when Erik disobeys him about not trying to fly. Mumble also gets angry with Erik, Atticus and Boadicea's insistance into going to the shorter way, as he knew it could be dangerous. His temper is seen again when Bryan shows ungracefulness towards him, and Mumble begins to discuss with him, instead of simply living that the Mumble of the first film would do. That new temper is probably because he may got better knowledge of the world outside and how dangerous it could be. Despite developing a easily angered temper in the second film, Mumble is still the most kind and sympathetic of the penguins.
In Happy Feet Two, Mumble is very caring towards his new son, Erik, although the two have trouble seeing eye-to-eye and gaining each other's favor throughout the sequel. Frustated, Mumble even yells at Erik at one point when Erik disobeys him, which upset Erik greatly. By the end of the film, though, the two seem to have resolved conflicts.
Mumble can also be a bit of jealous. That can be seen when he meets Gloria with Seymour teaching kid penguins about their heartsong, and Mumble mistook them for having children together. Mumble's jealousy is also seen towards Sven, as Sven was robbing Erik's attention and making Erik look up to he as a hero, even hugging him and almost forgetting his father, making Mumble somewhat jealous.
As a child
When Mumble is born, he resembles a normal baby Emperor Penguin, except for having bright, blue eyes, as opposed to the brown eyes on everyone else.
During and after his encounter with the Boss Skua, he is seen with a clump of dark feathers on his neck that resembles a light grey patch with a bow-tie.
As an adult
As an adult, Mumble looks like a baby penguin. His grey feathers when he was a baby appears and it clothing half os his body. But he still has light blue eyes, black and write feathers, and a normal emperor penguin beak and feet. But he has a bow in front of his neck and has three black spots on his leg feathers that give the appearence of spats. His grey feathers resemble a vast.
Along the years, his baby feathers have failed to shed, but he has mostly molted near the end of the film. He has a split tail from being bitten by a leopard seal. The yellow feathers on his neck resemble a bow-tie well.
In the sequel, Mumble regains his baby feathers, black and write feathers, and normal beak and feet, Iight blue eyes, and bow in front of his neck. But there are some differences, he also has a brighter tail, feathers, and eyes. The reason for this is most likely to keep his trademark look.
His difference in appearence from other emperor penguins (along with his inability to sing) may be interpreted as birth defects since he was dropped as an egg.
- Mumble's tap choreography was provided via motion capture by Savion Glove.
- Mumble is the one and only penguin in his colony who can't sing, though he can, in a sense, with his "Happy Feet".
- When Mumble is dancing, three spots around his ankle are occasionally visible, however, these spots disappear at different parts of the movie.
- As a baby, Mumble gets the "bow-tie" when he gets trampled by Boss Skua. But there is an error as he says "Can I appear to be your better nature?" when his bow-tie disappears. The bow then appears again when he is fully grown.
- Ironically, Mumble's VAs Elijah Wood and E.G. Daily are actually very talented singers.
- Originally when becoming an adult, Mumble was meant to have full plumage. However, late in production, it was decided for Mumble to keep some of his chick plumage to make him unique among the other adult penguins. Though some Happy Feet books feature Mumble with full adult plumage.
- Mumble maintains his child-down plumage throughout the movie, as this sets him apart from every other penguin drastically. This, coupled with his light blue eyes as opposed to dark brown in other penguins, give him a unique appearence that makes him stand out unmistakably in a crowd.
- Mumble is similar to Rudolph
- Both have a trait that the other members of their species don't have (Mumble dances instead of singing whilst Rudolph has a red nose).
- Both are treated as outcasts because of this trait.
- Both have a love interest, who don't treat them like an outcast (Gloria and Zoey).
- Both are eventually accepted by the other members of their species.
- In Happy Feet Two, Mumble begins to look older, as more of his down falls out, though he is voiced by the same actor, Elijah Wood. This seems to be a rare occurrence, as many other characters' voice actors changed from the first to the second film.
- Mumble is voiced by Daniel de Oliveira in the Brazilian dub of the movie, and Clovis Cornllac in the French dub.
- In the draft, he was the narrator instead of Lovelace being the narrator in the final cut of the first film.
- Along with his mother, Norma Jean, Mumble is the only character not to have his name changed from the original script.
- In the original script of the first movie, an egg rests on Mumble's feet while Gloria goes off with the other females to feed in the ocean, just like Memphis and Norma Jean did in the beginning.
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