By Nico Beland
Movie Review: B- (3 stars)
Everyone’s favorite penguins from the hit DreamWorks Animation franchise, Madagascar are back, and this time it’s their very own movie. However this isn’t their first spin-off project, there was also an animated TV series on Nickelodeon, The Penguins of Madagascar, which was created by Mark McCorkle and Bob Schooley, who also created Disney’s Kim Possible.
And now DreamWorks Animation brings us their first full-length animated feature to focus entirely on them, instead of the main protagonists from the previous Madagascar movies. Penguins of Madagascar, which could have been a complete dud for DreamWorks Animation, much like Shrek 3-4, Shark Tale, and Over the Hedge, but to my surprise, it was a decent family comedy that had lots of great jokes and visual gags.
And no, it’s not one of those cinematic greats from DreamWorks like Shrek 2, How to Train Your Dragon, or Kung Fu Panda, none of the Madagascar movies are DreamWorks masterpieces, but none of them are “DreamWorks Nightmares, © Moviewatchin’ Psychopath, 2014!” either. All the Madagascar movies have colorful animation, goofy voices, and constant jokes; it would be nearly impossible for a young child to not enjoy these movies.
The same can be said for Penguins of Madagascar, if you have a small child, there’s a very strong chance he/she will love it, but don’t worry there’s plenty of things to keep the parents entertained as well.
The film follows four penguins that have been pals ever since childhood, leader, Skipper (voiced by animator, Tom McGrath-Shrek the Third, Megamind, Mr. Peabody & Sherman), brains, Kowalski (voiced by animator Chris Miller-Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs, The Lego Movie), loose cannon, Rico (voiced by Conrad Vernon-Shrek franchise, Kung Fu Panda 2), and lovable, Private (voiced by Christopher Knights-Shrek franchise, Flushed Away) in a prologue beginning act that resembles the 2007 animated feature, Surf’s Up. Ever since Skipper, Kowalski, and Rico first met Private shortly after being hatched, they decide to become secret agents and sneak into any high security area and take anything they desire.
Literally right after the events of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, the Penguins are visited by an old foe, an evil octopus doctor (Insert Spider-Man Joke Here!) known as Dr. Octavius Brine (voiced by John Malkovich-Burn After Reading, RED, Transformers: Dark of the Moon) who plans to capture all the penguins from the city zoos he’s been kicked out of in the past, and blast them with a laser that can transform them into hideous monsters.
They are soon recruited by an organization known as The North Wind, led by the hunky and husky Agent Classified (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch-Star Trek Into Darkness, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug) to stop the mad octopus before all the cute and cuddly penguins in the world become…not so cute and cuddly.
Overall, Penguins of Madagascar will certainly entertain the kids and their parents too. The animation is colorful, the humor is very funny, the visual gags are absolutely hysterical, and the film as a whole has a good heart and a lesson about family.
The villain, much like Frances McDormand’s Captain Chantel DuBois from Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, is absolutely hilarious, the movement, the voice, the dialogue, if you don’t laugh at him throughout the entire movie then you clearly don’t have a sense of humor and you should just go watch Interstellar or The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1 over the holiday season.
But if you’re a fan of the Madagascar movies and desire a fun family movie to take the kids to, this one is a fine choice; unless Big Hero 6 is playing close by, just don’t expect it to be like Shrek 2, How to Train Your Dragon, or Kung Fu Panda.