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Saturday, 6 December 2014

Penguins of Madagascar

When you have Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Private (Christopher Knights) and Rico (Conrad Vernon) as the lead characters in a movie, you can be assured that there will be no shortage of excitement.  The cute looking but aggressive Penguins from the Madagascar series finally get an entire movie to themselves. Long awaited and well deserved indeed.

As cuter little Penguins somewhere close to the South Pole, 3 out of our 4 heroes i.e. Skipper, Kowalski and Rico were not very different. They grew up questioning the existence of set rules – and not in the way Mumble does (Happy Feet for those who are unaware).  This rebellion goes beyond singing and dancing and eventually to a marooned ship and an explosion or 2 later towards the civilized world.

Of course, somewhere in between the excitement and explosions, we have the cutest of the lot – Pirate – who decides that it is time to enter the new world.  The Penguins of course get carried off by the currents towards Madagascar and 10 years later find themselves robbing Fort Knox of precious Cheesy Dibbles that are no longer in production.

But in the process of reducing the burden on the most secure facility of Gold in the world the foursome are kidnapped and taken to Venice where they meet Octavius Brine (John Malkovich) aka Dave.  Dave has a special grudge against Penguins and owes that disposition to the quartet who cannot be kidnapped and eventually escape – with some help from the North Wind – a secret espionage team.

Eric Darnell (the director of the Madagascar series) teams up with newbie Simon J Smith to create a property that has already made its way to a list of “Memorable characters in animation”.  Full credit to the pair to have taken a bunch of support characters and throwing them into the limelight.  It will be difficult to give them small roles in any sequels involving the Zoosters.

Cramped with slick and extremely funny dialogue, Penguins is one of the fastest animation movies of all time.  There is no respite for the audience.  There is something that is happening every second.  And when the makers run out of dialogue they make up with action.

Four new characters of the North Wind led by Agent Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch) are super entertaining.  Of course Malkovich as Dave is the highlight of the movie.  Surprising yet true that the Penguins do find a match or 2 in their own backyard.  Makes the movie even better.  Take your kids without fail.  They will have a blast.  So will you.  8 on 10 – should make the top 5 for the year.

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