The Penguins Make Their First Big Solo Cinema Outing & It’s As Madcapped As You’d Hoped. Wacky, Wild & The Most Rapid Fire Comedy You Can Squeeze Into 92 Minutes.
Any movie that opens with a voice over of Werner Herzog, who happily takes the p*ss out of himself, gets my vote. Yes the wee merry adventures of Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights) finally get their own film as we literally pick up at the very end of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (after a brief introductory back story). The madcap bonding of this hilarious special quartet of mobilized penguins are let rip as they are kidnapped by arch nemesis Dave (John Malkovich), an octopus with a mega-grudge that wants to turn all zoo penguins into monsters and wind up in an international game of cat and mouse. Enter the Northwind, an elite spy organisation headed by wolf Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch), baby seal Short Fuse (Ken Jeoung), owl Eva (Annet Mahendru) and polar bear Corporal (Peter Stormare). The framework allows for the rapid fire irreverence to take over as Penguins Of Madagascar launches gag after gag so relentlessly there’s little doubt you’ll miss some of them.
Directors Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith, working from a script written by 7 (?!) people, play to the assets of the central characters and why they win. The film moves at a cracking pace, it’s 92 minutes and it wastes no time to get going. The set ups are so ridiculous and pun heavy that those of you who are pop culture savvy will have a field day here. The absurdism in the humour reminded me slightly of the joyous silliness of Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel in terms of its irreverence. Yes this is a family film but there is so much fun to be had in here for adults (most of the jokes are directly aimed at us big kids). There’s a nice little moral core to the story but that never takes an overbearing tone to distract you from the fun Penguins Of Madagascar presents.
The animation is top notch and DreamWorks Animation keep upping the ante on each new project they deliver. Considering most of Penguins Of Madagascar is either action sequences or hyper-exaggerated environments, there’s a sumptuous in the work done here. From tropical islands right to the hair on baby Private’s head, the attention to detail is really impressive. Vocal work is also on game, everyone is having a great time here and with a script like this, how could they not?
Penguins Of Madagascar is a hoot of a comedy, it fires jokes at you thick and fast without ever letting up the pace. I had a blast with this and it definitely has re-watch value.
PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR releases on JANUARY 1, 2015 in AUSTRALIA through 20TH CENTURY FOX