Movie Name: Penguins of Madagascar
Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Release Date(s): November 14, 2014 (China)/November 26, 2014 (US)
MPAA Rating: PG
Skipper, Kowalski, and Rico have always lived for danger…ever since they rescued Private from a pack of leopard seals. Bored with their lives at the circus, the penguins are striking out on their own and facing danger. The penguins are confronted by their (unknown) arch-enemy Dr. Octavius Brine (aka Dave the Octopus), the penguins learn that Dave intends to destroy cuddly penguins all over the world in his quest for revenge. Now, penguins are facing off against an elite team called North Wind who has the same mission…can Octavius Brine be stopped in time?
Directed by Eric Darnel and Simon J. Smith, Penguins of Madagascar is an animated adventure comedy. The film is a spin-off of the popular Madagascar films and follows Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted from 2012. The film received average to positive reviews and performed strongly at the box office.
The Madagascar films are kind of painful though they have been getting better. Like the previous entry (Madagascar 3), Penguins of Madagascar is better than the first couple films but still not close to being a great film.
The script for the movie does seems smarter than some of the other Madagascar, but it also seems to be aimed more at adults. It does a better job of balancing the humor with things children would like better than the original Madagascar but many of the jokes are jokes that only the adults will get. The script’s plot does keep moving and it does flow a bit better as well.
The penguin’s voices are played by Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, and Conrad Vernon as in the previous films. Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, and Peter Stormare make up the group North Wind. Andy Richter returns as his lemur but Sacha Baron Cohen’s King Julien is voiced by Danny Jacobs for a small scene. The heavy of the movie is played by John Malkovich, but the best casting has to be a small role by Werner Herzog…as a documentary filmmaker.
The movie is pretty sharp looking. Unlike the cartoon look of the animals in Madagascar, I think the penguins’ cartoon style isn’t as cheap looking. The movie is fun and I like the design of Dr. Octavius Brine and his octopus followers. I think this film shows an improvement just because the characters fit better into their environments.
Penguins of Madagascar is probably my favorite of the Madagascar films but still isn’t the strongest comedy. It is good to get away from the core Madagascar group and the penguins are a bit better at carrying a film (unlike the Minions of Despicable Me). A success for the film means a sequel could be coming in the future.