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Penguins Of Madagascar Movie Review

Reviewed by on Nov 26, 2014
Rating: 4 Star Rating

It’s Skipper, Rico, Kowalski and Private…on the big screen! Kidzworld reviews Penguins of Madagascar, an action-packed animated adventure starring the world’s most adorable undercover team.

By: Lynn Barker

Penguin Origins

In Antarctica, a long line of penguins is waddling across the desolate terrain to their mating ground in “March of the Penguins” style because it’s just what they do. Tiny kid versions of Kowalski, Skipper and Rico decide to break from the flock and rescue a run-away egg that eventually hatches into little Private and the foursome floats away on an iceberg bound for adventure.

Penguins decide their next movePenguins decide their next moveCourtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Present Day

While on a crazy mission to rob Fort Knox of all of the beloved “Cheesy Dibbles” (think Cheetos) in a vending machine, the gang is kidnapped by Dr. Octavius Brine (John Malkovich), a mad scientist who’s actually an evil, shape-shifting octopus in disguise named Dave. He hates our guys because he used to be a star zoo attraction until the ultra cute penguins stole the crowd from him… in zoo after zoo. He wants revenge and has a master plot to capture tons of penguins from around the world and, using his secret Medusa serum, transform them into monsters that no zoo-visiting family could possibly love.

The North Wind TeamThe North Wind TeamCourtesy of DreamWorks

Skipper is addicted to cheesy treatsSkipper is addicted to cheesy treats.Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation


The gang escapes and ends up in Venice, Italy (don’t ask) where they are semi-rescued from Dave and his squid army by Corporal (Peter Stormare’s voice) a giant polar bear enforcer, and his cohorts; a cocky, James Bond type wolf leader called Classified (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), a gorgeous owl communications specialist named Eva (Annette Mahendru) and a baby seal explosives expert named Short Fuse (Ken Jeong). They are The North Wind, an elite undercover group sworn to aid and rescue animals in trouble everywhere.

Rowing an escape on a Venice canalRowing an escape on a Venice canalCourtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Spy Vs. Spy

The rest of the film is a competition between the think-on-their-feet…uh flippers penguins and the more high tech and organized North Wind group to rescue the many penguins Dave has captured and stop his awful plan to turn them into monsters then let them loose on NYC. Always the under-bird, little Private gets to prove that he can hatch his own worthy plans and become the hero.

Uh...don't push that button!Uh...don't push that button!Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Wrapping Up

Penguins of Madagascar gives the little flightless birds who always steal the show in the Madagascar movies their own film and, mostly, it works. The plot lags a few times but the action is so fast-paced throughout that it’s hard to ever be very bored. There are verbal funnies to please adults, including some funny plays on celebrity names, and plenty of speedy and colorful visuals to appeal to younger kids. Escapes and chases are very cleverly executed as well.

Skipper challenges ClassifiedSkipper challenges ClassifiedCourtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Voice actors are the usual guys who voice the penguins on screen and on their TV show. Guest actor Benedict Cumberbatch is perfect as the cocky and frustrated spy leader simply known as Classified and John Malkovich makes a great mad scientist villain as Dave/Dr. Brine.

Penguin voice actors in actionPenguin voice actors in actionCourtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Although a lot happens in the film’s 90 minutes, it is nice to see the origin story of our little penguins as well as see them on a world-wide adventure vs. another spy team (this film obviously is trying to set us up for more North Wind spy team adventures.)

Penguins are ready for actionPenguins are ready for actionCourtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Maybe the penguins are just better in smaller doses but we were entertained enough to go four stars. Be sure to stick around through most of the end credits for a bit more of the story. 

Penguins Of Madagascar Movie Rating:4

Penguins Of MadagascarPenguins Of MadagascarCourtesy of DreamWorks Animation

Penguins Of Madagascar is in theaters now!