Madagascar is one of Dreamworks Animation’s most profitable franchises to date and so it comes as no surprise that the company want to squeeze as much money out of it as possible before it withers and dies. With a fourth movie reportedly in the works for 2018, it also has two spin-off television series that focus on both King Julien and the Penguins, and it’s the latter that are first to make the leap from the small to big screen in the aptly named Penguins of Madagascar. Arguably the best characters within the Madagascar films, it was almost inevitable that they would get a solo outing although a ninety minute feature length adventure was always going to be a tough sell. What do you do when you want to spin-off a popular character from another series? You make them spies of course, and this is exactly the tact that the filmmakers behind this have taken; sending the four penguins on a globe trotting tale of espionage as an evil octopus by the name of Dave (yes, really) plans a deep-rooted revenge against our flightless heroes and their kind.
I really wanted to like Penguins of Madagascar but just couldn’t. It’s really frustrating to me that a studio who are capable of producing such fantastic animation such as How To Train Your Dragon, are still capable of making such below average rubbish as this. There are Attempts at giving the film a soul in the package of father/son type relationship between the leader of the group Skipper, and the good natured but forever ignored Private; but unfortunately this element gets lost amongst all the chaos of the films storyline. And when I say chaos, I don’t mean in the fantastic way The Lego Movie or The Muppets got right, but in a messy, all over the place kind of way that you think will never end. Whilst the vocal talents on offer are all brilliant with Benedict Cumberbatch making an appearance as a rival spy (he’s literally in everything!) , and the animation is perfectly fine; Penguins Of Madagascar at no point really takes flight. It has an opening five minutes which are okay and easily the best part of the film, but other than that there’s not a lot going for it. I didn’t hate it but that’s more because I didn’t really care as opposed to anything else. For all of its vibrancy and enthusiasm, it just bored me but then that may not be the case for a younger audience.
Image credit to http://www.impawards.com