So I watched Penguins of Madagascar…
These guys were definitely my favourite thing about the first Madagascar movie and its subsequent sequels. I also managed to catch a few episodes of the spinoff series and really liked it so it’s fair to say that I walked into this movie expecting to be entertained and these four little cute but deadly guys did not disappoint.
Okay, basic plot: Our favourite penguins – Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private – are back and this time they deceide to ditch, the much lamer, cast of Madagascar and go off on a secret mission that involves danger, adventure and highly-skilled covert work – yes, everything you’d expect from four adorable penguins. Along the way they get tangled up in the revenge plot of Dave the Octopus who is brought to life beautifully by the voice of John Malkovich.
I really enjoyed this movie. Kids movies often have scripts filled with smart humour for the parents in the cinema and this movie is no different. I was in a cinema filled with screaming children and I think I was the one laughing the loudest. The penguins recreate all the charm and ridiculousness that made them the breakout stars of the Madagascar movies. There’s actually a bit of an origins story in the beginning of the movie that explains why the penguins choose a life of danger instead of the cute, non-threatening lifestyle that most penguins lead.
As said earlier, John Malkovich is AMAZING in this movie. His character, Dave, doesn’t get much screen time and it’s a kids movie so there isn’t much in the way of character development but Malkovich really knocks his role out of the park. I really like it when animated characters have the physical characteristics and idiosyncrasies of the actors voicing them and I didn’t know Dave was going to be voiced by Malkovich but after a few scenes of watching him, I immediately knew it was him. The penguins were obviously my favourite characters but Dave comes in a close second.
The plot isn’t anything sensational. It’s a story you’ve seen a million times but maybe it’s because it’s so close to Christmas or because I’m just a giant sucker for animation movies with a cute message but I enjoyed watching it. The movie does drag at times though, there were moments where I felt bored and just kinda wanted things to get moving again. I think it’s because, since the plot was so cliche and the ending pretty predictable I just wanted the movie to stop dilly-dallying and get to the point.
I also didn’t really like the supporting cast in the movie in the form of The North Wind – an animal protection agency which is basically like what would happen if the CIA picked its agents from the zoo. I felt they just diluted the movie because all the characters behave in a cliche, expected manner and therefore add nothing to the story except another thing to watch on screen. I think if they had cut them down the North Wind to two or even just one character, the movie would have been a bit sharper and less formulaic at times. But that been said, it is made for children and more characters means more plush, fluffy toys that can be sold for millions so whatever.
Overall, this movie does stumble in parts but it’s entertaining more times than it isn’t. If you have kids, take them, they’ll love it. If you’re a big kid at heart, take yourself, you’ll love it. It’s funny, filled with ridiculous action and the penguins are AWESOME. Unless you’re going with a child, I’d recommend waiting for this movie to come to dvd or something, it’s great but might not be worth your money if you’re childless. 7/10