PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR
Written By Michael Colton, John Aboud and Brandon Sawyer
Composed By Lorne Balfe
Produced By Mark Swift and Lara Breay
Edited By Nick Kenway
Directed By Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith
I will admit that I wouldn't say that I'm a huge fan of the Madgascar franchise, but I do enjoy the films a lot: the first one was great, the second one was pretty good and the third was a nice conclusion to the story...as for the television series, I remember watching quite a few episodes and I will admit that it was surprisingly good. But now that the Penguins decided to ditch television to have their own movie leaving King Julien with a series all to himself, can they handle this tough operation or was this all a flippin' mistake? Let's find out, this is 'Penguins Of Madagascar'!
PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR: Plucky penguins Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private-the most elite spies ever hatched-join forces with a chic undercover organization known as the North Wind. Led by highly trained, handsome and arrogant Agent Classified, this special inter-species task force must stop a many-tentacled villain, Dr. Octavius Brine from destroying the world.
The story is pretty much what you'd expect when you hear the title of the movie: imagine Madagascar without any of the main characters and without the lemurs leaving the rest to the Penguins, the result is just a series of action scenes and non-stop humor...but here's the thing: that's it. The thing about the story is that this is a film that's anything but serious since all of the scenarios and the missions of the characters are just so silly and ridiculous-in fact, it's so silly to the point that it actually feels more like this was meant for an episode of the television series but somehow decided to turn it into a movie. Now I'm not saying that this is a bad thing per se, but the goofy tone would actually depend on your taste if you love it enough to experience it in theaters...speaking of which since it tries to pull off so many jokes at once, the humor can be a little bit of a mix: there are times when it would make you laugh but they fall pretty flat most of the time and I swear I will slap someone if I hear one more pun that includes a celebrity's name. However, not everything is all action and gags since there are times when it tries to have a heart when Private wanted to be recognized as a valued member of the team yet this does not work: whenever they try to bring it in, it feels forced and gives the plot that sense of predictability-like, you know the chain of events that will come.
At least the one thing to look forward to here is the nice animation delivered by DreamWorks: outside of the silly tone, the action scenes are the highlight of the film and they really are awesome...since they decided to make the film fast-paced with its humor, it translates really well with the action: there are so many things going on, but they all go pretty smoothly and they are creative with the scenarios that the Penguins get themselves into. But it's not just the action scenes that are creative, there's also the technology that the characters use that share a nice design along with plenty of color rather it be from the Headquarters of the North Wind or in Dave's lair-even the character animation is actually well done with some simple cartoony animation that nicely uses the squash and stretch technique for a computer animated feature although it does happen when some like Dave can get too over the top but I'll get to him later. The only setbacks I would have with the visuals is that the backgrounds and the settings feel pretty generic-like, they're always in some kind of city or something like that which is pretty bad since they do go all around the world from New York to Shanghai to Venice and more...I mean, even Cars 2's settings feel more atmospheric than this! Also, the overall design of the Madagascar franchise isn't really the best: I get where they're going with the simple look to complement its Looney Tunes-style cartoony nature, but it could be a little too simplistic for a computer animated feature.
Now before we get into the characters, let me start off with the Penguins to mention what's wrong with the movie: in the original trilogy, they're meant to be the weird comic reliefs to bring some good laughs along with some materials for the characters like the monkeys and King Julien to work with...but when they place them here in their own movie, the people at DreamWorks barely did anything to make them fully fleshed out characters able to carry their own feature with the most they've done is making Private more sentimental about his position in the team but that just makes them predictable again-even with their origin story, they didn't do much other than say that they think differently than all the other penguins and that's what makes them stand out. As for the other new characters, they don't really offer a lot to work with either since the North Wind is just shown as a more professional than the Penguins: Eva's the smart one, Corporal is the dumb one with muscles, Short Fuse is the angry little guy and Classified is the leader of the team to show the Penguins how things should be done...and then there's the villain of the film Dave who honestly could have been a great villain since he has such a great backstory that even ties in a bit with the world of Madagascar, but the problem is that he's executed in a really over the top manner that takes away any threat or seriousness to the guy-then again the movie doesn't want to take itself seriously, so it's not really his fault.
Overall, I feel like I didn't really see a movie here but more of a dumb silly cartoon: although 'Penguins Of Madagascar' does offer some nice animation and some great action scenes, the writing is pretty questionable by putting this very goofy tone with jokes that sometimes work instead of having fleshed out characters and a developed story. Kids will definitely have a blast with this, but I'd only recommend this to fans of the television series outside of that and the rest can wait until they can rent it since it feels more like something that's meant to be enjoyed at home in a smaller screen than in a theater and that is why 'Penguins Of Madagascar' gets a rating of a 6.5 out of 10.