The Pebble and the Penguin (1995)

Genres - Adventure, Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Adventure  |   Release Date - Apr 12, 1995 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - Ireland , United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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One of animator Don Bluth's lesser efforts, The Pebble and the Penguin is cute but little more. The primary culprit is the script; aside from the unusual setting and small parcels of information about Emperor penguins, is hackneyed and uninvolving. The decision to focus on the relationship between Hubie and Rocko (while relegating the leading female character to nothing more than a trite damsel-in-distress role) is unfortunate, as the writers bring nothing new to the "buddy" concept and their attempts at humorous dialogue for the pair are often painful. With the exception of a song that pays homage to Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill, the Barry Manilow-Bruce Sussman songs are even worse. Bluth is incapable of creating bad animation, and there are several sequences (especially those taking place underwater) that have moments of beauty; overall, however, the animation doesn't have enough sparkle to breathe life into the movie. The cast is certainly not at fault, with Martin Short doing everything short of bursting through the screen to hold the viewer's attention, Tim Drake turning in a reliably sinister performance, and Annie Golden lending her powerful and unique belt to the little she is given to sing. Penguin is not totally without charm -- but the amount it has could almost be fit into a pebble.