REVIEW: Penguins of Madagascar

The Penguins of Madagascar in action.
The Penguins of Madagascar in action.

Mikey Clarke goes in search of some festive family fun at the cinema with the Penguins of Madagascar...

If you’re looking for a family film for this festive season then look no further – Penguins of Madagascar is here to entertain the whole family.

Accompanied by a 50-year-old (sorry to reveal that mum!) and my six-year-old niece, I knew it would be hard to impress us, but these four cheeky and charming penguins managed it.

The film comes after three successful Madagascar movies, and with the franchise having done stellar business, the penguins make sure they carry on this tradition with plenty of slap-stick humour to keep us laughing along.

In the first fifteen minutes the audience are treated to a gondola race through Venice, an exploding boat, and a rescue mission led by a polar bear, owl and a wolf – so I knew then I wouldn’t be leaving disappointed.

Let me reassure everyone, you can see this movie without having seen any of the previous Madagascar animations, with the opening sequence conveniently starting in the past when the three penguins – Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), and Rico (Conrad Vernon) – come together to save baby penguin Private (Christopher Knights).

The whole audience is led nicely into the special relationship between this pack of penguins – and then the action really begins.

In this explosive family flick, the Penguins are soon set on an adventure to save other penguins from across the globe from a scorned Octopus (John Malkovich) – as he’s fed-up with always being second best at the zoo, as the penguins attract all the attention from the crowds.

My only criticism is that, having seen the previous Madagascar movies, I did feel at times like I missed some of the old characters – even though new characters voiced by the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch and The Hangover’s Ken Jeong go someway to placating that.

The new gang of friends helping to ‘save the day’ sometimes lacked the charm I might have expected – and perhaps a few more jokes slipped in for the adults would have been nice too.

But overall, the film is heart-warming and laugh-out-loud funny at times, and keeps you hooked until the end – as it runs more than it waddles.