Now Streaming: THE PEBBLE AND THE PENGUIN, Underrated Don Bluth Film

Now Streaming: THE PEBBLE AND THE PENGUIN, Underrated Don Bluth Film

Filmmaker Don Bluth is underrated as it is, and so is this movie.

Usually, when people think of penguins in movies, they think of Happy Feet or maybe Surf's Up, but The Pebble and the Penguin (1995) is an overlooked gem that has been passed over and was claimed by critics at the time of its release to be terrible. I'm here to debunk all of that.

The story starts out with an introverted penguin named Hubie, voiced by Martin Short, who longs to marry his love Marina, Annie Golden, by offering her a pebble as a penguin mating ritual and custom. However, an evil Gaston-like penguin named Drake, Tim Curry, demands that Hubie give him the pebble, but when he refuses, Drake tosses him in the water and he is eventually captured by humans, where he finds another penguin named Rocko, Jim Belushi, who helps him find his way home.

The film may not match the same expectations of the Disney pantheon, but it has a colorful look and charming voice cast that it seems impossible to ignore and it's definitely one of Bluth's most underrated works, even if he disowned the film to the point of not having his name credited.

[Bluth, a former Disney animator, was on a roll that began after he left Disney and directed The Secret of N.I.M.H. (1982), followed by An American Tail (1986), and leading up to The Land Before Time (1988), among others. His subsequent films were less successful at the box office. Reportedly, while in production on The Pebble and the Penguin, distributor MGM insisted upon changes that led to Bluth and co-director Gary Goldman requesting the removal of their names as directors.]

Nevertheless, the film is something that both adults and their children can enjoy. The level of artistry is so incredibly impressive that it almost looks like a Disney film. It might have gotten better reception under the Mouse House but that is just a theory.

If you haven't figured it out by now, this was one of those childhood movies that I remember watching at home in the afternoon or evening and then after many years of being locked away in the old memory vault, it comes back up in my mind again and I remember how sassy and entertaining this was.

It's almost like rewatching a fever dream that finally came back to life as was made fresh in my mind again. I saw the film on Tubi, which had a few ads, which doesn't really disrupt too much of the viewing experience.

All in all, the cast is whimsical and the animation is gorgeous for this splashy Don Bluth film. Hopefully, there can soon be a reassessment of it and it gets the credit it deserves.

The film is now streaming on Tubi.

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AnimationDon BluthGary GoldmanTubi

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