Monday, December 29, 2014

Monday Movie Mania - The Penguins of Madagascar

The Penguins solo adventure picks up at the party at the end of Madagascar 3, though there is a quick flashback to the boys' childhood. The story revolves around the team's competition with another secret agent group called Northwind in taking down the mad octopus Dave.

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1) I love the Penguins to the point of watching their animated TV shows. This is the first movie or TV program that layers the guys' personalities. Watching Skipper admit that Confidential's plan was better than his was painful, but a necessary evolution to his character.

1) The other penguins' treatment of Private really didn't make sense in terms of this being a story set after Madagascar 3. Private has proven his bravery and resourcefulness over and over again. For Skipper, Kowolski and Rico to treat him in such a patronizing manner was off-putting.

2) The pacing of the story was glacial compared to the other installments of the Madagascar franchise. There were points I started to nod off.

For the record, that is not a good thing.

3) The animated series did the same basic plot with Dr. Blowhole in the animated series, and it was done MUCH better there.

Because Neil Patrick Harris rocks!

4) Dreamworks' intention to launch the Northwind team as a new series was painfully obvious.

As much as I love the Penguins, this movie version didn't cut it. I'd give a 5 out of 10 stars at best.


  1. I haven't seen the movie and am not sure I want to. Your observations just reinforce that.

    I've seen this sort of thing happen before, where there's a supporting character who's over-the-top in some way, who's a really wonderful supporting character, or guest star, or whatever, in someone else's story, but then when the really cool supporting character is given a story of their own, it flops. In comics, it happened with the Phantom Stranger, who sort of glided in and out of various DC heroes' comics for years -- he'd step out of a shadow, give the heroes some vital piece of information or assistance, then vanish before they could find out anything about him. His near-omnicience, and the secrecy around who he was, and how and why he did what he did, was what made him cool. Then they gave him his own comic. You can't maintain that kind of shadowy secrecy with a protagonist, and a protag has to have clear limits or his story is boring. PS's comic was boring.

    Ambush Bug was another fun side character. He was sort of a villain, but he was crazy-whacky, playing tricks that could hurt people rather than setting out TO hurt people. Imagine crossing Superman, or the Legion of Super Heroes, with a classic Warner style whacked-out cartoon. :) It was wonderful, because Ambush Bug was the antagonist and was allowed to do just about anything to cause zany mayhem while the heroes tried to catch him. Then they gave Ambush Bug his own comic. Making him a protagonist and POV character let all the air out of his balloon, and it was boring.

    I think the penguins in the Madagascar movies are the same way. They're funny in a whacky-crazy way, and they're awesome side characters in somebody else's movie. The idea of making them protagonists, though, never struck me as a good one. :/

    I've never seen their TV cartoon, though -- never knew they had one -- so maybe it IS doable, and the folks making their movie just didn't do a very good job of it.


    1. I think the Penguins' TV show works because it's basically Get Smart and Warner Bros. cartoons mixed together. Good old-fashioned slapstick fun.

      You're right. The film-makers pulled the plug on Skipper's over-confidence (which is the launch point of their previous adventures), and that's where the story fizzled.