True Review

True Review: Penguins of Madagascar

True Review: Penguins of Madagascar

by Niharika Puri November 29 2014, 3:27 pm Estimated Reading Time: 2 mins, 11 secs

Critics Ratings: 2.5 stars

Cast: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich

Direction: Eric Darnell, Simon J Smith

Produced: DreamWorks Animation, Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Written: John Aboud and Michael Colton

Genre: Comedy, Action, Adventure, Animation

Duration: 92 Mins

At long last, a feature film on the fantastic four penguins. The Madagascar series had a rather uninteresting start, but gathered steam in the sequels. Despite its hit-and-miss humour, the escapees from Antarctica made an exuberant diversion from the main plot. Unfortunately, too much of a good thing does get excessive and possibly even on your nerves.

Skipper (Tom McGrath) leads his brainy right-hand Kowalski (Chris Miller), the nutty Rico (Conrad Vernon) and group fledgling Private (Christopher Knights) into incredible misadventures, this time to stop an octopus/mad scientist Dave, who has taken on the more villainous-sounding moniker Dr. Octavius Brine. Long story short, he hates penguins. They are cute and deprived him of his share of admiring fans in the zoo. He concocts the Medusa Serum for revenge. There is the undercover North Wind task force of elite creatures, led by a wolf (Benedict Cumberbatch), who have their sights trained on eliminating the villain.

That is all there is to the wafer thin story. Everything else is a blur of remarkable chase sequences, uneven gags with a few puns and references to go around. Penguins of Madagascar works because of its sheer vigour as if attained from a blend of caffeine and energy drinks.

The film is a breathless race with little respite in the beginning when the foursome launches themselves out of the circus extravaganza in Madagascar 3 and right into Fort Knox. Their globe-trotting, slap-happy ways have their charm but wear off, much like a sugar rush which dwindles to a disappointing low.

When the penguins are not in the throes of some last-minute saves or bounding across cities, they are caught up in inane dialogue that would probably appeal only to the younger among the audience. Watch out for the chase sequence down the streets and canals of Venice. Benedict Cumberbatch’s ‘Classified’ act will keep the Sherlock fans entertained. There is also a cameo by Werner Herzog in the prologue which cinephiles might want to keep their ears peeled for.

If you can put up with the sheer silliness of the filler scenes in between, Penguins of Madagascar makes up for it with its frenetic spell. However, in the wake of some genuinely good story-telling in animation (Frozen, The Lego Movie, Big Hero 6), the moviegoers are spoiled for choice. Still, it is unpretentious and delivers to the demographic it caters to.

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