As a mother of a seven year old boy and a frequent viewer of animated films, I entered the Penguins of Madagascar screening with high hopes. Animated films have become a great source of family entertainment and with DreamWorks Animation gems such as the Shrek series, from which Puss in Boots - a great spinoff was successfully produced, I feel that the audience expected nothing less than pure AWESOMENESS.
So, what went wrong with Penguins of Madagascar?
The film was beautiful, aesthetically speaking, but it just did not make me laugh. I, at best, chuckled a few times and another couple of times found myself entertained through some parts... but just felt that something was missing. I was not the only one that seemed to find the film unsatisfying, either. So did my son, other children, and a good chunk of the adult audience judging from the lack of laughter throughout the theater.
The story is supposed to be about the Penguins. And so, at first it was, in fact my favorite part of the whole film was the beginning, but as minutes went by it somehow turned into a totally different movie. Perhaps more appropriate for a Penguins of Madagascar 2? That is if the first one was done differently. Although, I am sure that it will hit high dollar signs at the box office, I feel that it's a one-layer kind of entertainment. Specifically a surface layer type, with no real deep connection to the characters. On the upside it provides nonstop action but on the downside that same nonstop action is the kind of action that made me wish it would stop...
I wanted to see the Penguins truly develop as individual characters as well as in their relationships with one another - an objective which was attempted but definitely not achieved. Simply put, they should have kept the story smaller, more intimate, with just the Penguins and maybe Dr. Octavius Brine (John Malkovich is amazing!).
But instead they went bigger by bringing on the North Wind, a secret agent squad, a move that would have been more fitting for a sequel.
All in all... it was a good film. Just don't expect your kids or yourself to be glued to the screen!