Friday, February 27, 2015

Bargain Bin Reviews: "The Adventures of Scamper the Penguin"

Bargain Bin Reviews: The Adventures of Scamper the Penguin

By: Brian Cotnoir

     Hello all welcome to the first posting of a new series here on “Asylum for Nerds” called Bargain Bin Reviews.  What I will essentially be doing here is taking a look at obscure and/or foreign straight to video/DVD animated films (mostly made for children).  For the First Edition of this New Series, I chose to review “The Adventures of Scamper the Penguin”, which isn’t the original name of the film.  This film was a joint collaboration between Japanese and Soviet Union film studios in 1986 called “The Adventures of Small Penguin Lolo”.  Now for the American English release they changed a few things around like the characters names, and edited out a few scenes in order to make the film more “Family Friendly” and they gave us this pile of garbage.                                    
Aren't you two adorable.  You'll fry up nice for dinner tonight
The film is the story of a little penguin chick named Scamper, whose always scampering around and unintentionally getting into mischief (hence why he was given the name Scamper).  Scamper’s family is always telling him not to wander off, but he does anyway, and one day he and his best friend Snowflake, and they get washed out to sea.  While floating out at sea they are captured by a group of Russian poachers who are planning to sell them to a zoo.  Now Scamper, along with Snowflake, and a Macaroni Penguin named Louie have to find a way to escape and return home to their families before the poachers can sell them to a zoo.                       
So yeah this movie is definitely intended for a very young audience.  I’d this is an ideal film for anyone under the age of seven.  However, if you’re like me (and way over that age) you’re going to notice a lot of flaws with this film.  First of all there is enough cutesy, whimsy, magical awe that if this film were any sweeter, it would give us all diabetes!  The songs are moronic and idiotic! The songs are pretty much just singing about everything that’s happening on screen.  With lines like “they walk with a waddle/and are shaped like a bottle/they really look absurd”!  It’s almost like if Alan Menken huffed paint-thinner for 3 day straight and then said, “I’m going to write a song like Randy Newman”.  That’s how bad the songs are!  And the dialogue isn’t much better; not only does it sound like it was written for 6-year-olds, but it also sound like it was written by 6-year-olds.  All the characters do in the film is state the obvious and ask obvious questions.  Even the narrator is just describing what’s happening in the scene.  It’s almost like they don’t want you to have to think or ask questions! 
    The characters are all stupid.  Again, they’re all very playful and cutesy to the point of nausea, but also the American voice actors all sound alike.  Almost as if it were 3-4 people doing the voices of every character, a quick search of IMDB shows that most of the cast had no voice acting experience before this, and only a couple of them did anything after.           
    As for the animation, I was surprised at how decent it was considering it was made towards the end of the Soviet Union, when I’m sure they had almost no money.  The animation was very clean and the movements of the characters weren’t choppy at all.  The animation is actually the only positive thing I have to say about this film.                                                    
    So on a scale of 1-to-10, I’d give “The Adventures of Scamper the Penguin” a 3.  The songs are bad, the dialogues, bad, and the main characters just make you want to throw up.  If you have a child who’s under the age of 7, they’ll probably like this film, any one older than that, will probably think it’s babyish and boring.     
    I hope you all are excited about this new segment as I am, and be sure to join us next time on “Bargain Bin Reviews” when I will be reviewing a childhood favorite of mine: “Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines”.

In case you're curious as to how bad "Scamper" really is