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YMMV / The Pebble and the Penguin

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Some viewers feel Hubie isn't the perfect Nice Guy he's constantly shilled as, since he laughs at Rocko's dream of flying, lies to Rocko that he has a friend named Waldo who can teach him how to fly in order to get Rocko to risk his life leading him back to Antarctica rather than continue to enjoy a tropical paradise (which Rocko calls him out on), and his feelings for Marina (while leagues better than Drake's) are no less shallow and looks-based than Drake's are. He falls in Love at First Sight with Marina due to her pretty face, the only reason he or the narrator give for why he likes her is that she's "the most beautiful girl in the rookery," and when they do interact he never once asks her questions about herself despite her wanting to get to know him.
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  • Angst Dissonance: Taken Up to Eleven in "Good Ship Misery."
  • Anticlimax Boss: For all his size and strength, Drake is taken down surprisingly easily by Hubie, who is at best a novice who only received a few days worth of training from Rocko, whears Drake is three times his size. Even more startling is how Drake brings about his own demise in his final battle with Hubie, without them needing to throw another punch.
  • Ass Pull: Rocko spontaneously gaining the ability to fly when he dives in to save Hubie and Marina. Even more egregious is that he seems to be levitating when this happens.
  • Awesome Art: In a film brought down by animation that lacks the polish of Don Bluth's better works, some shots in the film are quite appealing to the eye.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "Now And Forever" is a pretty good musical number in a movie with otherwise lackluster songs.
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    • "Don't Make Me Laugh." In spite of the cheesy lyrics, it's seen as good because it's sung by Tim Curry.
    • Marina's reprise of "Sometimes I Wonder" is a surprising improvement over the first performance sung by Hubie.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: "Good Ship Misery", in some scenes, comes off as over-the-top and trippy enough to be this.
  • Critical Dissonance: Despite receiving bad reviews from critics and flopping in theaters, it sold very well on VHS. Even today, there are a lot of positive reviews for the film on shopping sites such as Amazon and Ebay.
  • Cult Classic: Not to the same extent as The Secret of NIMH or All Dogs Go to Heaven, but it still has a decent fan following consisting of people who watched it as kids.
  • Dork Age: Proved to be the last in a long line of stinkers for Don Bluth, before his next film would finally grant him a brief reprieve.
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  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Even people who dislike the movie tend to like Rocko, for being an enjoyable Knight in Sour Armor. Many find him a much more interesting character than Hubie, since he actually has a unique personality and there are hints that he had a rough life.
  • Evil Is Cool: Drake; being played by Tim Curry tends to help him a lot.
  • Fetish Retardant: If the female penguins are supposed to look attractive with their Hartman Hips and Impossible Hourglass Figure, the fact that they are penguins would turn anyone off, even some furries. Special mention goes to Marina, for her choker necklace that looks too tight, to the point where it actually seems to choke her.
  • Ham and Cheese: Tim Curry as Drake is often the one thing praised about the film.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In light of the comparatively stronger success of Happy Feet approximately eleven years onward, the entire plot of the movie could be considered this, as the two films bear many similarities in terms of their plots and themes.
  • Ho Yay Shipping: Hubie and Rocko. Plenty of viewers can attest to seeing it. Particularly during their Friend Song, which is more or less a Tsundere anthem.
    • There's scenes where it's Played for Laughs, such as Rocko waking up with his arms around Hubie, and not realizing it until Hubie's already wide awake, or times when you swear it was done on purpose, like later in that same scene where Hubie says, "It's beautiful!" and Rocko (who is looking down at Hubie or a moment) stutters and says yes, too, before seeing that Hubie was talking about an iceberg.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Drake makes no attempts to hide the fact he'll beat Marina if she doesn't do as he says. He also outright threatens her with death if she refuses to mate with him during Don't Make Me Laugh, saying she'll "be a shark's dinner" and that he'll write her epitaph if she refuses. This is flat out rape through threats to her well-being. Similar to Gaston, Drake at first seemed like just a Jerk Jock but then shows he's much more evil than that.
  • Narm:
    • Thanks to Hubie's voice and odd design, it's pretty difficult to take anything he does seriously.
    • The scene of the bachelor penguins going to collect their pebbles is supposed to feel grand and epic, judging by the choir, but the goofy designs of the penguins prevent it from succeeding.
    • The penguins as a whole are quite laughable all throughout, almost all of them sporting some sort of bizarre human attire on top of their comedic and unusual facial expressions.
    • Rocko's dreams of flight aren't necessarily this by themselves, but the means by which he magically achieves it is sure to leave viewers baffled.
    • Hubie and Marina's offspring donning Santa hats at the close of the film, even though there is no mention of Christmas anywhere in the film.
    • The entire story Hubie cooks up about the flying penguin Waldo; not only does he make this up on the fly after having just mocked Rocko's aspirations to fly, but it does little to motivate the plot and is gradually forgotten about.
    • The bizarre kazoo-like noise Hubie makes when being strangled by Rocko for lying about the aforementioned penguin, which is enough to send Rocko into hysterics and thus forgive Hubie.
    • Drake having a Skeletor-like fortress, as if his Obviously Evil design wasn’t enough to tell you he’s the villain.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • The Orcas. In many a family film, killer whales have been shown to be lovable pals. In this film, they're shown to be as predatory as they are in real life.
    • Drake, who's basically a Domestic Abuser played disturbingly straight in a kid's movie. These lines from his Villain Song are particularly chilling:
      Drake: Don't make me laugh so hard that YOU begin to ACHE!
      Drake: May I suggest you would do best to beg!
  • Special Effects Failure: The film is loaded with scenes where the background characters don't move properly or just straight up don't move, which can really take you out of the experience. During "Good Ship Misery" there are several long seconds when the three main singers and Hubie completely freeze up while the background singers DO move. Also, a sharp eye will catch one frame where Marina's head is missing.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The trailer says it all.
  • Tearjerker: Marina's reprise of "Sometimes I Wonder" when she frets over Hubie's fate is surprisingly profound.
    • Rather sobering is the dedication to two members of the film crew, Michael Carey and David Corbally at the start of the end credits, neither of whom lived to be thirty. The somber music playing in the background doesn't help at all.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Despite its epic introduction via a meteor, and it being in the very title of the film, Hubie's magic space pebble turns out to not be as significant as it's built up to be. While Hubie does use it to view Marina a couple times, it's a simple MacGuffin for the rest of the film, and any old regular rock would work just as well. After all, in Marina's own words, "It's not the pebble, it's the penguin."
    • At one point, Hubie asks Rocko if his girl ran off with another penguin, to which Rocko replies "No! She did not!" without denying he ever had a girl in the first place. The idea of Rocko having a previous girlfriend who he lost would've been a fascinating subplot, but as is, this is just a throwaway line.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: Tim Curry and Jim Belushi clearly were having fun with their roles, and end up giving the two best performances in the film.
  • Ugly Cute: The good characters.
  • Uncanny Valley: The penguins' teeth and hands make them look too humanlike for many viewers. Not helping matters is that Hubie and Rocko's beaks are drawn in a way to resemble a human nose and lips, which makes them look more like clowns than penguins.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: A lot of viewers really weren't taken in by Martin Short's performance at Hubie.


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