William Kowalchuk and Michael Aschner's fizzy CGI cartoon combines fantasy and some clever insights into sibling rivalry while telling the story of a penguin princess trying to prove the existence of jolly old St. Nick.
Once upon a time at the South Pole, the Queen Penguin bears two daughters. First-hatched Crystal (Voice of Hilary Duff) is earmarked to rule her flock, but the slightly younger Lucinda (Haylie Duff) hates living in her twin’s shadow. The good-hearted Crystal, who suffers a broad streak of insecurity, reads fairy tales to chicks and hangs out with her geeky pal, Eugene (Jason Michas). Lucinda, by contrast, is popular with her snooty peers, excels at academics and sports and misses no opportunity to speak ill of her sister. While helping Eugene with a flying experiment, Crystal gets conked on the snout with a small silver bell of mysterious origin. In hopes of figuring out where it came from, Crystal first enters a forbidden hut where explorers once left behind a cache of books then ignores the penguin law that forbids reading human propaganda, On the basis of her research, Crystal surmises that the bell probably fell off Santa Claus' sleigh. Ambitious Lucinda and her nasty friends Mortmottimes (Scott McNeill), Derridommis (Garry Chalk) and Agonysia (Kathleen Barr) see an opportunity to force Crystal’s abdication; Lucinda gets the ball rolling by motion by telling the penguin council what Crystal has been up to. But Crystal show unusual resolve and, digging in her webbed feet, vows to verify her theory with a trip to the North Pole. Lucinda inadvertently gets caught up in Crystal’s adventure after a whale attack at sea. Pausing only to rescue a baby seal, the squabbling sisters reach Santa’s workshop and get pas the polar bear and pirates designed to keep out riff-raff angling for an audience with Santa. Given her life-long desire to rule, will Lucinda help her sister return home with evidence that Crystal was right about the bell?
Although this cotton candy kid-flick glories in the usual message of believing in oneself, it’s less cliched when dealing with sisterly conflict. The subplot about the scheming council also has unexpected bite for a cartoon.
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- Released: 2004
- Rating: G
- Review: William Kowalchuk and Michael Aschner's fizzy CGI cartoon combines fantasy and some clever insights into sibling rivalry while telling the story of a penguin princess trying to prove the existence of jolly old St. Nick. Once upon a time at the… (more)