Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Pop Culture of Penguins

If Penguins were a commodity, then the value of Penguins is high.

Some people have been genuine Penguin lovers for years, but since March of the Penguins (Academy Award, Best Documentary) came out last year, there is been more Penguin-loving then ever before.

The local mall has decked their halls with penguins everywhere, and instead of getting your picture taken with Santa, you can get your pictures taken with Penguins inside a snow globe.

It's all part of an marketing campaign for Warner Bros. pictures as a way of promoting their holiday release Happy Feet.

This year has seen many animated animals in films like Curious George, Barnyard, Garfield: Tale of Two Kitties, Flushed Away, Over the Hedge, Ice Age: The Meltdown, Open Season, The Wild, and the Ant Bully. Yet this Christmas, it's all about the penguins.

You know the penguin scene is out of control when Bob Saget's directing his own animated mockumentary called Farce of The Penguins with Samuel L. Jackson as the narrator. In fact, the voice talent for Farce of the Penguins, is a pretty strong crew including Dane Cook, Christiana Appplegate, James Belushi, Jason Biggs, Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried, Mo'nique, Jamie Kennedy, Tracy Morgan, and John Stamos.

Granted Farce of the Penguins is straight to video picture coming out the end of January, but how many talking Penguins can the market handle?

Thus, the sad situation that Sony Pictures finds themselves in with their film Surf's Up. Surf's Up is another Penguin movie about annual Penguin World Surfing Competition and includes the voice talents of Shai LaBeouf, Jeff Bridges, and Zooey Deschanel. Scheduled to come out June 2007 you gotta wonder if the penguin craze is going to be gone?

Surf's Up is directed by Ash Brannon (Toy Story 2) and Chris Buck (Tarzan) and yet all their talent and hard work depends on the strength of the Penguin in the world of child pop-culture. I can't imagine it look good for the Surf's Up team.

Pictured above are stills from The March of the Penguins, Happy Feet, Farce of the Penguins, and Surf's Up.

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Terence Towles Canote said...

I have to admit that the current penguin fad is one of the stranger ones to come along. And it does seem pretty big. My job deals with children's books and I swear among our best sellers are those that deal with, well, penguins....

Kimberly Ann said...

i just can't quite get in to penguins...

general125 said...

I had a friend in High School that was obcessed with penguins. He had his room covered in the stupid animals, and he loved Batman Returns just because of the penguin. On that note, he's a bug Burgess Meredith fan too.

Paula said...

And you haven't even mentioned "3,2,1..Penguins" by the Veggie Tales people, which came out before the whole penguin craze began...in fact, the penguins from Madagascar looked a lot like the "3,2,1, Penguins" guys. It made me wonder if there wasn't a bit of rip-off going on!

jasdye said...

yeah, penguins in comp animation go as far back as linux, right? and before the "3,2,1 Penguins" there was a set of them in the Veggie Tales' christmas episode. so, it's old school.

i think sony should scrap the birds and make a "Smurf's Up" movie instead.

poppedculture said...

My only penguin love was for Opus of Bloom County. But oh, how I did love that flightless waterfowl.