(SPOILER WARNING!!! This article does contain spoilers, if you haven’t seen the movie, just see the first paragraph to be informed without spoilers!!!)
Penguins of Madagascar is a fun and funny popcorn movie for the whole family to enjoy, especially for the kids, yes it runs the typical hero/villain storyline, but it is an enjoyable movie for fans of the cartoon to watch. Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.
I remember when the original movie, Madagascar, came out. (It was during a failed group date with a friend of mine.) Dreamworks was reaping the benefits from their successful Shrek franchise, and looking for the next big thing. They bring out Madagascar which had a deep voicing cast and also became pretty successful. Their whole trilogy was pretty entertaining, good animation and funny scenes. However, it was the penguins that really has me amused and really enjoyed their antics. Apparently I wasn’t the only one that thought that they were cool, cuz they made to a cartoon on Nickelodeon which I occasionally watch. Even though I don’t watch it often, but when I do, I wasn’t bored. Now they made a movie, it was good for me to see what they’re all about. I will start with what I like, to the so so.
What I like, let me start with the voice casting which I thought was superb. You obviously have the usual Penguins with Skipper, voiced by Tom McGrath, the leader of the group but not the smartest one in the bunch. Kowalski, voiced by Chris Miller, the real brains of the group and sometimes brutally honest. Rico, voiced by Conrad Vernon, he doesn’t talk much, but he does all the dirty work and has a power of swallowing objects whole and regurgitate to use for later. Lastly, you have Private, voiced by Christopher Knights, the penguin who gets treated like a rookie, and all he wants to do is fit in with the rest of the Penguin group. They are faced by an evil octopus named Dave who is disguised as a human named Dr. Octavious Brine. He wants to seek revenge on all the penguins because they always stole his show as a zoo display everywhere he goes which leads him to moving to another place. He created a ray machine to destroy all the penguins. John Malkovich does the voice of Dave which I thought was perfect. Malkovich has that creepy voice where he should play a villain most of the time, and for this movie he was spot on. The penguins are rivaled by a secret agency called The North Wind. A group of secret agents trained to save the animal kingdom by any harmful thing that can destroy them. The North Wind is headed by Agent Classified, a grey wolf voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. At first I thought, ah another stereotypical British secret agent, but Cumberbatch made it work. I swear Cumberbatch does it all in movies, and does it well. The rest of the team consist of Eva, voiced by Annet Mahendru, a snow owl who is intelligent and great skill of combat. Short Fuse, voiced by Ken Jeong, a harp seal that deals with weapons and explosives. Lastly, Corporal, voiced by Peter Stomare, a big polar bear who is the muscle of the group, but with a big soft spot. I was surprised to hear Stomare, who usually plays the tough guy role, acting all soft and kind hearted. It surprised me that it was Stomare voicing it. The Penguins took a resent to The North Wind and their high tech stuff and decided to do their mission themselves, much to the chagrin of The North Wind who think they will get in the way of their mission of stopping Dave and saving the Penguins. The movie was funny with a lot of slapstick to please the kids and some adults, and some funny one liners. One part is where there was silence after Dave presented his evil plan and all you heard was crickets. Ends up it was an actual cricket making the noise and excusing himself for it. A classic but funny joke. I also found Dave’s lines that sound like movie stars named amusing. For example, “Nicholas, cage these penguins.” “Elijah, would get me the remote.” “Kevin, bake on the victory cake.” (I hope you get that, but watch it to see what I mean.) I also liked that they told their origin story of how they formed when they were young babies in Antartica. They didn’t like the normal life of a penguin and decided to go save a lost egg. During their adventure saving the lost egg, which hatched into Private, they found out how fun it was to do adventures and they want to keep on doing it. I like that they gave a little clarity on how they were formed, and got started on their adventure. The animation was pretty good as well. Probably my favorite scene is when the penguins jumped out of a plane, and we’re going from plane to plane until they safely land with a bouncy house. That scene was beautifully animated and executed well which work well for these penguins.
The so so, the story was the typical hero and villain story. The Herod trying to save something, in this case, all the penguins. A villain out for revenge because of a past experience that left him out. A rookie in the group trying to fit in a be a big part of the group, which Private achieved by saving the penguins by himself. Just add the cliched rivalry with another group, and you have a typical story. Also Dave’s plan to turn all the penguins into monsters sounds a lot like Despicable Me 2 when they turned the minions into purple monsters. If it wasn’t for the great animation, this movie would’ve been subpar, but I get that this is a story that works for children’s movie. It is a story simple enough for a child to get and enjoy. As an adult, you may not like it, but if you have kids, you have to watch these movies with an open mind to really enjoy and laugh with your kids.
Overall, if you’re a fan of the whole Penguins of Madagascar and even the Madagascar trilogy, you will enjoy this movie. Bring your kids to laugh and enjoy with them. You won’t be greatly disappointed, but enjoy the moments in seeing your child entertained. Final Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.