The Pebble and the Penguin is a 1995 animated film, directed by Don Bluth. It centers around a timid, shuddering penguin named Hubie who tries to impress a beautiful penguin named Marina by giving her a pebble that fell from the sky. The film stars Martin Short, Annie Golden, Tim Cury, and James Belushi. Unlike the other Don Bluth films, this film was hated by critics and Bluth himself because of the very small cast and unnecessary musical numbers.
Hubie (voiced by Martin Short), a shy, gullible but kindhearted penguin, is in love with the beautiful and kind Marina (Annie Golden), but lacks self-confidence leading him to be bullied by the much more impressive, but vain and cruel Drake (Tim Curry) also wants Marina, but clearly out of lust. One night, Hubie and Marina share a song under the moonlight and their feelings are confirmed for each other. Hubie, however, is luckless in finding a perfect pebble to propose to Marina with and wishes on a star to make his dream come true. An emerald falls from the sky next to Hubie. Ecstatic, Hubie rushes to find Marina when Drake tries to steal it and knocks him off the ice, and Hubie is swept away and nearly killed by a Leopard Seal.
Hubie is picked up and caged by a ship, which is transporting penguins to a zoo. The unfortunate penguins on the ship sing of the misery awaiting them. The Antartic Shall be Icey and free. Hubie meets a streetwise crested penguin named Rocko (James Belushi), whose only wishes are to live in sunny climates and learn to fly. The Rangers decides to help Hubie. After seeing Drake warning Marina of the full moon where she must choose to be his mate or be banished in a dream/vision, Hubie decides to escape. Together, Hubie and Rocko flee, and while lying low in a beach, Hubie convinces Rocko to help him return to Antarctica. They have a short fight (because Hubie had angered Rocko by lying to him) and later run into the hungry and persistent leopard seal (second time for Hubie). They escape the seal, as Rocko had commented Hubie as "amazing", and both sing to the beginning of their friendship (although Rocko feels hesitant towards it).
When Rocko starts to teach Hubie how to fight, they run in to their worst aquatic enemy: the Killer Whale. While trying reaching the home ice, Rocko tries to head-off the orcas while Hubie tries to approach the nearest iceberg, having to lose his pebble and Rocko in the process. After the chase, he must face his worst enemy, who has captured his love. Hubie gets knocked out, but gains confidence, and he stands and fights Drake once again. Hubie has the upper hand on the second go-round, and with a skillful kick, he sends Drake plummeting to his supposed demise. In surprise, Rocko reappears unharmed to Hubie and Marina, but not before Hubie proposes to Marina, who accepts. Before Hubie can introduce his friend to Marina, Drake reappears. He throws a large boulder (with Marina on top of it) towards Hubie and Rocko, but it is Drake, who meets his demise, by being crushed to death by the entire tower. Rocko saves the couple in danger, and finally gains his ability to fly. Rocko, having found Hubie's pebble, gives it back to him and it is presented to Marina, who loves it, but then states that she loves Hubie more. In the end, Rocko teaches Marina and Hubie's children to fly.
- Tress MacNeille as Chip is the leader of the Rescue Rangers. Loosely modeled after Indiana Jones, Chip wears a fedora and a bomber jacket and frequently uses rope to lasso or swing to other spots. Chip is serious and has a strong sense of responsibility, to the point that he is sometimes accused of not knowing how to have fun. He can be domineering and often ends up in squabbles with Dale over his more laid back manner. At times, though, he also lets himself go and joins Dale in some frivolity. He and Dale have a crush on Gadget.
- Corey Burton as Dale is the co-founder of the Rescue Rangers. He wears a red and yellow Hawaiian shirt reminiscent of Thomas Magnum in Magnum, P.I. Though dedicated to the job, he is a fun-loving, mischievous prankster who is sometimes irresponsible and forgets to think before he acts. He spends his free time reading comic books and playing video games. A known candy addict, Dale has "chocolate attacks" similar to Monterey Jack's cheese attacks (ironically, Monty finds it disgusting that Dale can't control himself over candy).He frequently finds himself being knocked on the head by Chip when he says or does something foolish.
- Jim Cummings as Monterey Jack, or "Monty" to his friends, is an adventure-loving Australian mouse who spent years traveling the world before a chance meeting with Chip and Dale during their first case. After Fat Cat destroyed his home, Monty and his sidekick Zipper decided to join the group in their detective work. Stronger and larger than the others, Monty can be quick to anger if he, or his friends, has been offended. This trait sometimes leaves him ready to do battle with a much larger opponent, and the others having to calm him down. Monty has an overpowering addiction to cheese, and the sight or smell of cheese causes him to be almost hypnotically drawn to it. Monty loves to tell stories of his travels, even if the others often stop his reminiscing, and he often uses colorful "pseudo-australianisms" while talking, such as "Strike me starkers." Monterey Jack is the only Rescue Ranger known to have two living parents, Cheddarhead Charlie and Camembert Kate, who are also travelers. Also, names of his entire family, including his own, have references to various types of cheese. Monty is most frequently found in the company of either Zipper or Dale, whose fun-loving nature matches his own. He also seems to consider Gadget to be something of a surrogate daughter, most likely due to his long friendship with her late father. Due to his traveling experience, Monty often handles the traveling arrangements for the group
- Tress MacNeille as Gadget Hackwrench is a young female mouse and the team's pilot, mechanic and inventor. The daughter of deceased inventor and aviator Geegaw Hackwrench, who was a good friend of Monterey Jack. She first met Chip and Dale when Monty brought them to Geegaw's in search of an airplane. At loose-ends since her father's death and eager to help, she joins the team. Known to say "Golly", whenever she's surprised by something. Gadget moves, thinks, and talks quickly, sometimes leaving the others looking dazed and confused. In addition to building and maintaining the Ranger Plane, Gadget is the one responsible for the various technological items used by the team and is regularly inventing new vehicles and tools for the team's use. She has the uncanny ability to take discarded and unrelated items, and invent nearly anything with them, which she attributes to the fact that she has a "mind-bashingly high IQ" and is easily bored. Unfortunately, her creations don't always work the way she intends and have sometimes failed at just the wrong moment to cause the team trouble. Both Chip and Dale are attracted to Gadget, and often compete for her attention, but she doesn't seem to notice in many cases. However there are hints that she does like Chip. In one of the episodes Chip reveals that she has given him a photograph of herself.
- Corey Burton as Zipper is a tiny bluish-green housefly and a long time friend and sidekick of Monterey Jack. With his tiny size and flying abilities, Zipper often handles little jobs that the rest of the Rescue Rangers cannot. He speaks in unintelligible buzzes that only Monty and other insects are able to understand, although in later episodes, he talks more clearly. Despite his tiny size, Zipper occasionally has impressive displays of strength which are matched only by his unwavering loyalty to his friends.
Characters of the movieEdit
- Martin Short as Hubie, a shy, good-hearted adelie penguin and the main protagonist of the film.
- James Belushi as Rocko, a roguish, streetwise Northern Rockhopper Penguin who befriends Hubie and helps him win Marina on the way back to Antarctica. He is the deuteragonist.
- Tim Curry as Drake, a hunky, vain, dark-hearted penguin and the film's primary antagonist and the Rescue Rangers' new antagonist.
- Annie Golden as Marina, a beautiful female penguin who is Hubie's love interest. She is the tritagonist.
- Shani Wallis as the Narrator
- Frank Welker as the Leopard Seal and the killer whales, the secondary antagonists.
- Charles Adler as Bob the Tugboat.
- "Rescue Rangers Theme" (Opening Song) - Mark Mueller
- "Now and Forever" - Hubie, Marina, Company
- "Sometimes I Wonder" - Hubie
- "The Good Ship Misery" - Company
- "Hey Hey You You Out of my Sound" - Bob the Tugboat
- "Don't Make Me Laugh" - Drake
- "Sometimes I Wonder - (Reprise)" - Marina
- "Looks Like I Got Me a Friend" - Hubie and Rocko
- "Now and Forever (Reprise)" - Company
- "Now and Forever (End Credits)" - Barry Manilow and Sheena Easton
The Pebble and the Penguin was panned by critics, audiences, and even Don Bluth himself. Rotten Tomatoes reported only 11% of critics gave positive reviews based on eight reviews with an average score of 3/10. The film was given a Two Thumbs Down on "Siskel & Ebert. Gene Siskel noted that the film's animation looks "cheap and unfinished" and "that none of the songs are memorable" while Roger Ebert added his dislike of the film's color code of its heroes and villains.
The film grossed $3.983 million, only 14.2% of its $28 million budget.
In the Nostalgia Critic's review of the film, he said that out of all the bad Don Bluth movies, The Pebble and the Penquin is the least bad. Despite panning the animation and songs, he praised the voice talents.
The film first was released on VHS and laserdisc on August 15, 1995. It was first released on DVD in 1999. A new Family Fun Edition was released in the United States and Canada on March 27, 2007 by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Gary Goldman supervised the restoration for the "Family Fun Edition", which features color corrections and refielded scenes to add missing effects and correct other errors from the first release. In 2007 The Fun Edition was nominated for the Satellite Award for Best Youth DVD. In 2010 the film was released along with "Rock-A-Doodle" as a double sided DVD. The 2-disc set is still available on DVD with new cover artwork and is usually $4.99 or $5 depending on retailer, and is more common than the Own the Moments release with "Rock-a-Doodle".