Penguins should have more movies. They’re funny, cute, and always ready for a hug (especially the handmade variety available here). Here are my picks for the top 8 movie penguins.
Pablo the Cold-Blooded Penguin. Released as part of “the Three Caballeros” in 1945, Pablo is a penguin who doesn’t like the cold, so he conspires to get away from the cold weather to get to the warmth.
Chilly Willy’s first animated short wound up on the big screen in 1953. Like Pablo, Chilly Willy doesn’t like the cold either. That doesn’t mean that Chilly was copied from Pablo; it’s possible, but it’s equally likely that a penguin who doesn’t like the cold is funny. Chilly Willy had a longer run than Pablo and lived to be seen on Saturday Morning Cartoons regularly. He also has a memorable song.
Penguin from the Batman movies is the ultimate bad guy. Burgess Meredith probably played the best version of the penguin as dapper villain with a squawking laugh; Danny Devito was also memorable for his disgusting and more penguin like villain in “Batman Returns.”
The Madagascar Penguins have had a heft run that includes four movies including one of their own. This team works as comic relief with their pseudo-military organization.
Mumble is a penguin who doesn’t have a heart song. Instead, he has “Happy Feet.” Fortunately for the penguin colony and the Earth, his happy feet get him international attention and spark a worldwide debate about the fate of penguins and global warming. (Even those, who have a vested interest in keeping the status quo over making life better for everyone, are represented in the argument that follows.) Most of the film Mumble spends as an outcast in search of meaning; then he gets what every outcast wants, acceptance and a leadership position in his colony. The messages in the film overlap, and it’s an interesting juxtaposition of new creativity versus old creativity. Plus, there’s a kickin’ soundtrack and Robin Williams.
Wheezy’s appearance in Toy Story 2 was enough to set off the events of that film. He triggered Woody’s insecurities while putting Woody in a position to get stolen from a yard sale. Being part of a billion-dollar franchise is nothing to, uh, wheeze at. Wheezy also appeared briefly in Toy Story 3.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins was a mediocre movie based on a book that was better. At least the penguins got to wreak havoc on Jim Carrey.
Billy Madison’s giant penguin hallucination is funny and a little freaky.
Honorary Penguin: Benedict Cumberbatch – any actor, whose work is pronouncing words and who can’t say penguin, deserves this honorary position.
Which penguin is your favorite? Which one did I miss? Let me know in the comments.