Directors: Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith
Writers: Michael Colton, John Aboud and Brandon Sawyer
Cast: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Werner Herzog, John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong
Studio: Dreamworks Animation
“Penguins of Madagascar” is an attempt to keep getting blood from a stone. The Penguins are back with a few tangential characters to tell a new story about their buddy Private. Werner Herzog gets a fun cameo as part of his Golden Years tour of things that Americans like. But, there wasn’t anything else that really took part. Malkovich was an Octopus that wanted to torture our heroes. That guy has never quite got out of his Ray Milland weird movie phase.
As a new parent, I’m learning to never underestimate a child’s ability to keep any tired bit of animation in business. Sure, the main Madagascar franchise ran out of steam and the Penguins have a popular cartoon, why not give them a movie? It was the Holidays and kids need to see movies. They came out, supported it and I’m sure they got a few new Happy Meal toys out of it. It’s just why even bother? What happened in this film that couldn’t have been a TV episode?
Maybe it’s because I don’t dig the humor of the DreamWorks animation team. I like “Dragons” and “Kung Fu Panda” when they focus on world building and character dynamics rather than slipping in a fart joke. But, what do you do when your franchise is built upon bodily function jokes, predefined personalities and a liberal use of Afro Circus. Hell, even Cumberbatch’s Arctic filler team sported the same issues in a short amount of time. I’m not saying that animation for kids was that much better in the 1980s, but I guess I didn’t see enough schlock back then.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!