When Mumble the Emperor Penguin (Elijah Wood) screeches instead of sings his days are numbered in the Antarctic colony he calls home.
Ostracised for failing to voice the "heartsong" - the mating call unique to the flippered brethren - he gets taken under the wing of Ramon (Williams) and his Latino band of Adelie penguins.
Rather than reject him for his caterwauling, the funky Ramon and his crew embrace him for his tap dancing skills and soon he's a fully paid-up member of the Adelie Amigos.
However, there's unfinished business to attend to back with the Emperor colony...and the insistence of grizzled waddler Noah the Elder (Jackman) that Mumble's to blame for the lack of fish.
And it's this accusation that leads the plucky youngster across the frozen tundra to discover what's been happening to their food supply.
Unlike most CGI kids' cartoons, this packs a heavy eco-message and there's also bibilical overtones to the story of the outcast who has to battle against adversity to get his message across.
Some scenes are simply spectacular - a genuinely disturbing chase by a predatory leopard seal and a wonderfully surreal segment featuring an excavator tumbling from the ice into the frozen depths of the briny.
There's plenty - possibly too many - Moulin Rouge-style musical setpieces where the songs of Prince and even Grandmaster Flash get a radical reworking alongside a jitterbuggin' dance routine.
However, it's a winninly ambitious affair unafraid to deal with real issues alongside the traditional storylines of romance and fate.
Tap into it.