REVIEW — “The Penguins of Madagascar”
Arguably the funniest characters in the Madagascar series now have a feature of their own, a high-energy, wit-fest that never runs out of steam.
Like many recent films, “Penguins” opens with a flashback to the early days of our fine, feathered quartet. If you thought they were cute before, brace yourself for the miniature versions of Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Private (Christopher Knights), and Rico (Conrad Vernon). After a thrilling pre-title sequence we are brought forward in time to the final moments of “Madagascar 3.” Hoping to return to their life of excitement they launch themselves into a new adventure and within minutes are entangled with an evil adversary from their past. During their epic confrontations with this villain (John Malkovich), they cross paths with “The North Wind!”, an over-compensating team of Arctic secret agents led by Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch).
If you appreciate manic humor, slapstick, and clever quips, this is the animated flick for you. Once the opening credits roll, the silliness hardly slows down. A brisk 92 minutes long, it doesn’t overstay its welcome either. Those familiar with the comparably tame television series will be pleasantly surprised. Frequently a screenplay with 5 listed writers is a bad sign, but here it’s obvious that they each were contributing fresh humor.
Visually the film is just as fun as the script. Like the rest of the “Madagascar” series, colors and locales are bright and crisp. Like most recent CGI films, the 3D is excellent, but a movie of this type allows the 3D to be a bit more fun and extreme. It’s definitely not required to enjoy the film, but also not a waste if you chose to go for the upgraded ticket price.
Fun, silly, and clever, it’s one of the more entertaining family films this year. It doesn’t have the heart of the best animated movies but for sheer entertainment value it’s hard to beat.
4 out of 5 Stars