IBTimes India Rating: 3.5
The four notoriously, yet affably valiant penguins from the "Madagascar" franchise have finally gotten their own movie and in keeping with its Thanksgiving release, "Penguins of Madagascar" is all about their unlikely family and how they came to be.
The opening scene unfolds in the Arctic region with a voiceover by Werner Herzog, in a sendup of his documentary on Antarctica, "Encounters at the End of the World". The audiences are introduced to Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath), who refuses to believe that penguins were meant to just look cute, and craves for the type of action that no penguin has ever tasted before.
In his compulsion to defy "nature", Skipper decides to save an egg that is rolling away from the colony. With the help of his loyal friends Kowalski (Chris Miller) and Rico (Conrad Vernon), he saves the egg from a group of hungry leopard seals. From the egg, emerges the fourth and cutest member of their squad, Private, voiced by Christopher Knights.
The DreamWorks Animation puts the four unlikely heroes in a series of tricky situations, from which they come out scratched and wounded, yet surviving, thriving and craving for more action. The evil genius of the 3D film is "Dave the Octopus", voiced by John Malkovich, who after a short stint as the main attraction in zoos across America was outcast after the "cute little penguins" (our heroes) arrived at the zoo and "outcuted" him.
The movie revolves around Dave's attempts at making penguins across the globe uglier and unlovable and the Penguins' efforts at thwarting his evil plan. Also joining the crew are agents from North Wind, an undercover inter-species task force: a wolf whose name is "classified", a demolitionist harp seal named Short Fuse (Ken Jeong), a muscular polar bear named Corporal (Peter Stormare) and an intelligent snowy owl named Eva (Annette Mahendru). The interactions between members of both teams, all of whom are sworn to taking down Dave, make for some of the most hilarious bits in the film.
Classified, for example, voiced by the ubiquitous Benedict Cumberbatch and Skipper get on each other's nerves unfailingly, while Corporal's adoration for the "cute penguins" is quite literally comical. Eva and Kowalski, the brains of either teams fall in love, adding a little romance quotient to the otherwise "whack-with-a-frying-pan" style classic old-school comedy.
The wild series of action sequences is not "Penguins of Madagascar'"s only USP; it is a combination of the fast-paced plot, quick wits, sarcastic reference to socially prevalent issues and the well-thoughtout scenic gags that make the addition to the "Madagascar" franchise, the best one yet. Malkovich's Dave, alias Dr. Octavius Brine, for example, makes for an enticing villain and often barks out orders in the form of actors names; "Nicholas, Cage them", and "Robin, Write this down", for example.
The reason it stands out among most other animation films is that the humour seems organic and unforced, sparing adults the shame of having their intelligence insulted.
However, 3-D glasses seemed pointless for this movie, which did not have extra-ordinary visual effects and while adults are likely to enjoy "Penguins of Madagascar" for the most part, unlike the child moviegoers, they might notice that most comic bits are repeated throughout the movie.
Overall, though "Penguins of Madagascar" is a good movie to watch if you need a quick break between shopping, as it is only 92minutes long, or if you are in the mood for some witty wordplay and non-judgemental humour.
Watch the official trailer for "Penguins of Madsgascar':