Now I'm a huge Don Bluth fan, so it's no wonder I love all of his films to death, with the exception of Rock-A-Doodle-Doo, which had potential but dived like a nailed duck than sang like a rooster.
Back on topic, I felt that "Penguin" is a vastly underrated film. The basic story is that Hubie, our shy, lovestruck hero, must make his way back to his love Marina after being left for dead by the jealous Drake, whose also got his eye on Marina. Accompanied by the strong and hyper-active Rocko, Hubie braves the waters to make the 3000 mile journey and give her his unique "engagement pebble" before his love is banished forever.
The adventure itself is everything I want in this type of movie: Action. Hubie and Rocko's flights from the numerous seals and whales who see our fair duo as an appetizer are always enough to hold my attention, because it was fast. And the faster and livelier the animation, the better for me.
But of course, the slower moments made me like this movie also. In these scenes, we see the birds' true personality emerge. Hubie is this shy and timid thing in the beginning...Quite lame actually (Who calls anyone a "big bully" anymore?) And in the end, he's brave and not afraid to speak his mind. In fact, he learns to fight and defend himself, taught by the tough-guy Rocko, who begins showing compassion and friendship for Hubie as the movie goes on. He also shares his dream with the penguin: To be the first penguin to fly, a cute little personality quirk to this diamond in the rough.
It has your typical Bluth animation: Fluid, bright, lively, and Disney-like, and that's the main thing I've come to love from animation produced during the bygone era. Just plain beautiful in all aspects.
The songs are pretty charming... once they wear on you. After all, this is a movie intended more so for 7,8,9,10 year olds, so these songs aren't "Lion King" material. But I've come to find something I like about each. For instance, Hubie's jokes in "Looks Like I Got Me a Friend" are lame... but I've come to love that about the cute lil' penguin!! All songs are acceptable, excluding "Misery." Waaaay too childish. But the score was absolutely breathtaking.
To me, this movie only had one setback: Drake, the aforementioned villain. He's not the most likable villain at all and only held my attention with one or two threats, and a few lines from his song "Don't Make Me Laugh." He's more annoying than anything else, and made me all the more happier Hubie kicked his white-and-black behind.
In conclusion, "Penguin" has been adored by me since the first time I laid eyes on these quirky birds. Given this is a children's movie really makes me appreciate it even more. The music, main characters, action scenes and character development of Rocko and Hubie were perfect. The villain and a few songs were the only drawback to a wonderful movie. Don Bluth is one of the best, independent animators of the 80s-90s and he has kept his rep very well.
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