Don't worry, this isn't a "Shaggy Dog" Story (of either kind). Mumbles's actions help the food supply, not just of emperor penguins, but of every non-human species that eats fish or the ingredients of "fun food." The whole ecosystem had suffered; the whole ecosystem will be repaired in part. It's just that the Law of Unintended Consequences is inescapable.
That would have Unfortunate Implications for either gays or closets.
Since it is a Hollywood film, the metaphor is the usual Hollywood version, just on a grander scale. The mentally disabled, because of their disability, are pure in heart. And because they are pure in heart, they can do great things... yes, they can even save the world!
- It could easily be read as a metaphor for Aspergers Syndrome. Mumbles seems to be wired differently from the other emperor penguins, and he excels at a skill that they find strange. His father is also 'a little bit weird' (autistic-spectrum disorders are believed to be partially hereditary). Eventually, he learns to bond with others by having their different skills work together.
- Following on that statement, this statement made the most 'exact' sense to me (sabrinadiamond)... It also may be a metaphor for going out of the closet.
- This explanation makes the most sense. The penguins make a big deal about how he hatched. After Mumble was taken to Mrs. Astrakhan, Mumble's mom says, "So he's a little different—I've always kinda liked different." Humans with Asperger's are called "A little different."
- Mumble isn't gay - he actively tells Gloria he'd like to have an egg with her sometime. The Adelie Amigos, despite being wacky, aren't gay; you see them hitting on the ladies quite a few times. Lovelace definitely isn't gay. But Mumble does demonstrate Autistic qualities, and other penguins demonstrate the current reactions to the Autistic:
- His parents send him to a special teacher only to find that, while she does bring out his talent, it's not the talent they or she wanted.
- The regular penguins aren't all cruel, but at one point when Mumble is trying to sing, one shouts out "You're spoiling it for everybody!" while another yells "Take a flying leap!"
- Prior to their dance, even Gloria is gently condescending towards him. "It's you just...you listen, you know?"
Okay, so we don't see any aliens in the sequel. But if we did, then they would.