A plucky penguin helps to foil some rare-egg smugglers in the clumsy but endearing low-budget cartoon “Jasper.” A German-French-Romanian co-production, helmed by Eckart Fingberg, pic waddles along in predictable fashion, but has a pleasantly stylized look. A very moderate niche success in Germany, where the character is known from TV, but a serious underperformer in Gaul and Blighty, “Jasper” certainly hasn’t moved quickly on theatrical terrain, but may swim more skillfully on ancillary.
Penguin Jasper (voiced with annoying squeakiness by Rick Adams) accidentally boards a cruise ship where he meets Kakapo (Rob Rackstraw), a flightless kakapo parrot, whose eggs have been stolen by Dr. Block (Steve Hudson), a manufacturer with an evil scheme in mind. Assisted by Jasper’s pre-verbal little brother and human moppet Emma (Kate Rawlings), the team pulls together to rescue the eggs and overcome obligatory self-image issues. Although done with CGI, pic has an old-school, 2D look, and someone clearly had fun designing pretty patterns on everything from metal surfaces to expanses of water. The film has been billed under several titles, including “Jasper: Journey to the End of the World” and “Jasper: Penguin Explorer.”