Penguins of Madagascar (Twentieth Century Fox, PG)

film penguins-madagascar_smThis will not be the CG comedy of the year, but it did manage to keep me entertained for its 92-minute running length.

film penguins-madagascar

Penguins of Madagascar, an animated family comedy directed by Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith, is a spinoff of the previous three Madagascar movies, films that feature four wannabe-spy penguins—except this time the penguins are the protagonists. Since I thought the Madagascar sequels were not up to the par set by the original, I did not expect this movie to be any different. That said, this will for sure not be the CG comedy of the year, but it did somehow manage to keep me entertained for its 92 minutes.

Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath), who always has a plan; Kowalski (Chris Miller), the smarty-pants; Private (Christopher Knights), the baby of the group; and Rico (Conrad Vernon), who eats anything and everything, are all back, and this time they are in the spotlight. After years of listening to “I Like to Move It,” our little espionage quartet gets tired of Alex the lion, his friends, and their cookie-cutter zoo performances, and decide to escape. Naturally, they get captured by the unloved, attention-seeking purple octopus Dave (John Malkovich), who is pursuing revenge on all penguins for stealing what should be his attention at every zoo worldwide. Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private are forced to team up with a professional undercover spy organization, The North Wind, interfere with Dave’s plans and save the world’s charming penguin population.

As expected, the plot is very predictable, but that does not mean it isn’t cute and cuddly in the process. The penguin foursome is foolish yet still funny, using clever remarks exactly where they are needed to keep the viewer’s attention. The whole thing comes together nicely with new characters voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch as North Wind’s leader Classified, and comic Ken Jeong from The Hangover as Short Fuse.

Over the entirety of the film, the tight, dynamic visuals by DreamWorks Animation keep us entertained. Every scene is colorful and lively, and always has something going on. However, I do not exactly see why this is in 3D, since I barely even noticed it at all. During the end credits, there is a short scene featuring two favorites, Mort and King Julian from Madagascar, but I do not think there will be a follow-up to Penguins of Madagascar (and I kind of hope not, too, as nothing groundbreaking was brought to the table).

Overall, this is an adorable and lighthearted family comedy, ideal for restless children who need to be distracted for an hour and a half. On the other hand, if you sit this one out, you are not going to miss anything special. | Lea Vrábelová

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