Penguins Of Madagascar is a film about secret agent penguins who are on a mission to save the world from an evil octopus who is kidnapping penguins all over the world and holding them hostage for his evil plans. The film comes directed from Eric Darnell who has worked on some of the previous Madagascar films as director and Simon J. Smith who has directed the Bee Movie (2007). The film has voice acting from Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Conrad Vernon, John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch and Annet Mahendru.
In this film we meet and will follow four penguins around who do all sorts of goofy and sometimes silly things to entertain us throughout its run time. They are also quite cute to look at and it seems the filmmakers know this so we get many moments throughout where we are to look at the penguins being cute and funny.
The four penguins we follow are Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Private (Christopher Knights) and Rico (Conrad Vernon) who must stop the evil Dave (John Malkovich) from taking over the world. Our four penguins though aren’t the only team in town and soon encounter a wolf whose name is Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch). Classified is also on the case of catching Dave the Octopus. We see these teams travel all over the world in their quest which lasts for 92 minutes. But is it entertaining?
I guess it’s somewhat entertaining for kids to see and they may get a bit of joy from watching the penguins moving about and doing a whole range of silly things. But for kids, I’m not sure all the jokes will really resonate with them. There is a lot of play on words sentences, particularly with actors names such Nicolas Cage’s name. The penguins would say “Nicolas, Cage the prisoners”… they are sort of a bit funny but I don’t know if any kid knows who Nicolas Cage is. There was also a joke about taxes in there somewhere which I think was for the adults that have to be there but it didn’t really make me laugh all that much.
The voice acting is only really okay. I couldn’t really stand listening to Skipper (Tom McGrath) and found him to be a bit irritating by the end and the other penguins didn’t chat that much and I didn’t feel anything for Private (Christopher Knights) either. Benedict Cumberbatch appears in the film as the wolf named Classified but he’s sort of wasted and if I didn’t know he was in the film, I wouldn’t have noticed his character/voice at all as he doesn’t really stand out all that much. John Malkovich as the menacing octopus Dave was quite good and seemed to me to be a very fitting villain. It’s just too bad I guess that everyone else is just average and forgettable.
The animation and the 3D is good but it’s not as good as The Lego Movie was which I think is the best family film to be released in 2014 and the film just isn’t as entertaining as something like Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb which I think is the better pick considering both these films are out at about the same time. I also think that Penguins Of Madagascar is more aimed at young boys than girls as it’s more about spies and things and also has only a few female characters.
In terms of the directing from Eric Darnell and Simon Smith, it’s okay but it’s nothing special. Everything that was in this film was nothing new or original. For some reason I felt that this was just made for the sake of a sequel or to create something new out of the Madagascar films but in doing so it didn’t have anything special about it. It certainly doesn’t have the heart that The Lego Movie brings when you watch it and is nowhere near last year’s Frozen.
Overall Penguins Of Madagascar is a fairly average family film with only a bit there that I think kids will enjoy and only a few jokes for the older viewers. It doesn’t have the heart of this year’s Lego Movie and I feel the better choice if you’re going to the cinema next week will be choosing to see Night At The Museum: Secret Of The Tomb. Penguins Of Madagascar has got a few good jokes, but it’s an average film that will probably be better enjoyed on DVD/Blu-Ray than at the cinema.