Lowdown: The Penguins of Madagascar save penguin kind in an hour and a half long episode.
I concur with my son: the best element of the Madagascar movies, by far, has been the Penguins of Madagascar. Do not take my words lightly; you are reading the words of a person extremely fluent in the Penguins’ extended canon, otherwise known as The Penguins of Madagascar TV series. And now, to the universal angst of critics worldwide, comes the feature film. Same name, just without the The at the beginning.
Having read many a bad review, I prepared myself for the worst. What I got was a seemingly conventional, if much longer, episode of the TV series: Set in the post Madagascar 3 universe, our penguins are fighting an ingenious octopus (voiced by John Malkovich) who seeks to regain his pre-penguin social status by turning all penguins from the cute animals they are into ugly monsters by using a technological contraption. Those of us versed in penguin scripture, like Rabbi My-Son, will immediately tell you this exact plot line has been used before in the TV series.
Where the movie does provide originality is in the addition of a never seen before multi animal task force, the so called North Wind (led by the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch). This new party both collides and supports our penguins. And that is pretty much it for originality, if you can call that original in the first place.
Does that mean Penguins of Madagascar, the movie, sucks? No. If you’re in for an hour and a half of a James Bond meet Mad Magazine’s Spy Vs. Spy like plot, enacted with plenty of the humour we know from the TV series, then you will enjoy your hour and a half. I know I did. You might, too: if you haven’t seen the TV series then the relative novelty will be nice, and if you liked the TV series and are looking for more of the same then you’d feel right at home.
Going to the movies doesn’t add anything worthy to the Penguins of Madagascar. However, that does not mean there is no fun to be had. Set your brain to stunned and enjoy a clever adventure story featuring clever characters that you’ve probably seen before doing the exact same thing.
Don’t expect much and you will be rewarded. 3 out of 5 peng- Sorry, crabs, from me.