The Smoke Signal, MSJ's Official Newspaper

Arts and Entertainment

Movie Review: Penguins of Madagascar

baby penguin

By: Staff Writer Deeksha Raina


The hysterical penguins of Madagascar are back, this time in their own full-length animated movie. Penguins of Madagascar begins on a humorous note, employing irony and showcasing the stubborn nature of the penguins to draw out laughs from the audience. The clever antics of the penguins continue throughout the film as they simultaneously avoid Dave the Octopus and disobey plans determined by the pretentious North Wind. Most of the film’s comedic aspect relies on wordplay and puns for the film’s older audience, as well as some slapstick comedy sure to amuse even the grouchiest of children.

Penguins Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), and Rico (Conrad Vernon) welcome baby penguin Private (Christopher Knights) into their team in a heartwarming opening for Penguins of Madagascar. As Private grows up, he finds himself wanting greater acknowledgement from the rest of his team, who seem to value him only because he is “cute and cuddly.” While Private attempts to prove himself as a valuable team member, the penguins become tangled in a revenge plot masterminded by Dave the Octopus (John Malkovich). They must team up with undercover spies Classified the wolf (Benedict Cumberbatch), Eva the owl (Annet Mahendru), Corporal the polar bear (Peter Stormare), and Short Fuse the harp seal (Ken Jeong) who together make up the team North Wind, and find a way to work together to take down Dave.

However, due to its focus on comedy, the film lacks a sturdy plot and scenes often fly by too quickly, without giving viewers much time to take in and process the events. The penguins travel all over the world, from Shanghai to Venice in the blink of an eye. Scenes roll by so quickly that the audience has no time to connect emotionally with the film. Although there are some emotional moments when Private’s value as a member on the penguin’s team is undermined, viewers are quickly shown something funny to take their minds off of the previous scene. Towards the end, the plot begins to slow down and the running gags in the script begin to feel old and tiring. After such a fast-paced movie, the ending seems to inch along at an incredibly slow pace. The final battle takes place in a confined, restricted area, a complete change from the openness of the rest of the film.

Though the film had some flaws in its plot, it still is a fun filled action-comedy perfect for people of all ages. For fans of the original Madagascar series, there are plenty of references to both the first and third movies hidden throughout the film. In fact, part of the plot is tied directly to the first movie of the series. Penguins of Madagascar manages to entertain both children and older adults with differing types of comedy throughout the film. The fast paced action and adorable bumbling penguins are sure to make anyone’s day.


Rating: B

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