The intrepid penguin team faces off against the arch nemesis they didn’t know they had.
Those Madagascar movies are pretty good. From fairly mediocre beginnings back in 2005, it’s become an outlandish, action-packed series of adventures, with the distinction of being the most colourful CG-show around.
Now, one of the best parts of those movies – the spy-tastic penguins – have their own movie. And, thankfully, it’s pretty good too.
From an origin story (complete with Werner Herzog cameo) to a high octane super-villain finale, this has to be one of the most breezily entertaining films of the year. The gags come thick and fast, covering off the requirements for adult and kiddie entertainment alike, with plentiful loud and colourful things for the very young.
And it’s all propped up by a series of action scenes which wouldn’t be out of place in a latter-day Bond flick. They’re fast and spry and zany, without ever being so over the top that it just becomes a messy lump of CGI.
There’s a strong and entertaining villain in John Malkovich’s Octopus, though his oozing weirdness might be a little too creepy for younger eyes, and some excellent voice work from the main militant penguins.
Supporting sorts are decent too – including Ken Jeong and Peter Stormare – but I wasn’t so fond of Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn as a wolfen spy-team leader. His voice just doesn’t fit so well into a kids movie, and his comic timing could do with some work.
That minor point aside, Penguins of Madagascar can easily stand beside its Madagascar cousins as a fine example of animation entertainment, and a perfect getaway for kids during the holiday season that won’t be at all offensive for adult eyes and ears.