The Pebble and the Penguin is a 1995 animated film produced and directed by Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. It is based on a real life way of how Adelie penguins mate.
Hubie, a shy, gullible but kindhearted penguin, is in love with the beautiful and kind Marina, but lacks self-confidence, leading him to be bullied by the much more impressive, but vain and cruel Drake, who also wants Marina, but clearly for lust. One night, Hubie and Marina manage to confirm how they feel for each other, but Hubie can't quite find the perfect pebble to propose to Marina with. He wishes on a star to make his dream come true and he receives an Emerald from the sky. Ecstatic, Hubie rushes to find Marina but is stopped by Drake, who demands Hubie give him the pebble. Hubie refuses, so Drake throws him into the water. Hubie narrowly escapes from a leopard seal and climbs onto a piece of ice which carries him away from Antarctica.
Hubie is picked up by humans and caged on their ship called "Misery", transports penguins to a zoo and meets a tough, grumpy, streetwise and somewhat arrogant but good-hearted rockhopper penguin named Rocko. After having a vision of Marlina in trouble, Hubie decides to escape with Rocko and flees, before lying low on a beach. Rocko reluctantly tells Hubie about his desire to fly. He convinces him to help him return to Antarctica by making up a lie about a flying penguin named Waldo. They have a short fight after Rocko tries to fly off "an authentic, ancient aviarial airstrip" and another after Rocko saves Hubie from a killer whale. Back in Antarctica, Drake begins to threaten Marina for her hand in mating. If Marina refuses, she will be forced to leave, as it goes against tradition. Hubie and Rocko attempt to depart, but Rocko discovers Hubie lied to him and attempts to attack Hubie, but soon starts laughing, praising Hubie's determination to get back to Marina. Back in Antarctica, Marina becomes worried about Hubie. Hubie and Rocko run into the hungry and persistent leopard seal but are able to escape it. With that, they become true friends (though it takes prodding from Hubie for Rocko to admit it). Their joy is short lived as killer whales attack them causing Hubie's pebble to get lost in the scuffle and Rocko to go missing, leaving Hubie to believe that he died.
Hubie continues on to face Drake and defeats him in a fight. Rocko, who survives the whale attack, gives the pebble to Hubie. As Hubie makes a proposal to Marina and gains her acceptance, Drake returns to finish them off. With Rocko's help, Hubie and Marina dodges a giant boulder that crushes Drake to death in his collapsing tower. During the rescue, Rocko's dream for flight comes true. Rocko hands Hubie his pebble. He presents it to Marina, who loves it, but loves Hubie more. Some time later, Rocko teaches Marina and Hubie's children to fly.
- Executive meddling forced animation to fall behind, and Don Bluth and Gary Goldman ended up hating the final product, and asked to be uncredited as directors.
- Very poor humor.
- Poor characters and story.
- Forgettable music (though fans like to use them in AMVs).
- Drake's henchmen are pretty much unnecessary as they don't really do anything to assist Drake in his plans. Plus, they even disappear after Drake's song and are never seen again.
- No real moral lessons to give to kids in the audience.
- The film's pretty short.
- Drake and Marina's relationship looks extremely similar to the relationship between Belle and Gaston from Disney's Beauty and the Beast.
- Drake's fate (crushed to death by a huge boulder from his tower) is too harsh for a G-rated film, even without blood.
- Near the end of the film Rocko can magically fly, without how he can do that in the first place being explained, and not to mention penguins can't fly in real life.
- The film never explains anything about the pebble that Hubie got. He could have gotten it from anywhere else, but from... an asteroid. Really?!
- During the "Misery" song, the penguins do not move at all while the other ones are singing, almost as if there were wax statues.
- The song Don't Make Me Laugh is actually a pretty good villain song, Looks like I Got Me a Friend is a happy and cheerful song, and Now and Forever has a really nice feel to it.
- It is probably Don Bluth's least bad movie.
- The animation is pretty good even if it does look sloppy and unfinished. But keep in note that some later versions such as the Family Fun Edition and Blu-Ray versions do fix some of these issues.
- Well-done voice acting.
- Rocko teaches Hubie how to fight, as well as man up.
- The penguin character designs are pretty well-drawn.
This movie was a box office failure when it came out, earning $3.9 million out of its $28 million budget. This movie also got a very poor reception, earning a 11% on Rotten Tomatoes. That said, most fans of Don Bluth say it's a step up from A Troll in Central Park, but still not a good movie on its own.
- This was the last film to be produced by Sullivan Bluth Studios before the company went bankrupt in 1995 and became Fox Animation Studios, which is now known as 20th Century Fox Animation.