My son really wanted to watch this, so even though I didn’t think it would be that great we went and were pleasantly surprised. It’s basically a kid’s version of a James Bond movie—what’s not to like?
Movie review: Penguins of Madagascar
by PAULIEN BAY
Storyline in short
Discover the secrets of the greatest and most hilarious covert birds in the global espionage biz: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. These elite of the elite are joining forces with a chic undercover organization, The North Wind. Led by handsome and husky Agent Classified (we could tell you his name, but then, you know), voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch. Together, they must stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, voiced by John Malkovich, from destroying the world as we know it.
For me always the sucker for the underdog, it was Private, the little penguin. For my seven-year-old son it was all the penguins although he loved all the super spy gear Agent Classified had. Now my daughter didn’t really say who she liked most but it was likely the penguins dressed as mermaids.
My four-year-old daughter’s favourite part was the happy ending; she thought Penguin Private looked adorable with antlers (no spoilers!). For my son, there was not clear-cut favourite, but the kids have been playing a lot of spy games lately.
Discussions to be prepared for
“What makes someone a hero?” “What is bravery?” and “Mummy, can an octopus really wear a suit?
G: Some scary scenes.
Starring (voices of): Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Conrad Vernon, John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, Peter Stormare, Andy Richter, Danny Jacobs, Werner Herzog
Directed by: Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith
Running time: 92 minutes
Rated: G (Australia), U (UK), PG (USA)
Violence/gore: Characters are sprayed with goo (amniotic fluid), gassed, caged, gagged, punched, hit with objects, slapped, kidnapped, shot with tranquiliser darts, handcuffed, catapulted, hit by trucks. Animals eaten by other animals. Explosions, smashed objects, broken glass. Break-and-enter. Characters fall from high ledges. Blood/gore: An animal almost chokes. Objects protruding from skin. Animal skeleton (display).
Sex/nudity: Kissing. Innuendo. Bare bum.
Vices/drug use: Characters are gassed, sedated (tranquiliser darts), exposed to shape-changing serum. Alcohol (champagne).
Offensive language: Name-calling. Slang for body parts. Cultural, gender, animal stereotypes. Religious exclamations.
Themes: Adventure, family, high fives, flightlessness, documentary making, Fort Knox, revenge, missions, leadership, rivalry, teamwork, monsters, snow globes, cheesy snacks, dastardly plans.
Hidden extras: Penguins, seagulls, leopard seals, octopuses, cricket, arctic wolf, cat, dead fish/seafood, polar bear, harp seal, snowy owl, sheep, squid, lemur. Fireworks, planes, helicopter, submarine, full moon. Fart noise, regurgitation, vomiting. Salmon eating.
Critics like: Hilarious, whirlwind, droll, loose, funny, entertaining, amusing, madcap, charming, peppy, in-your-face. Non-stop action, clever dialogue, zany energy, sassy script, excellent voice work, cute and cuddly penguins, sharp humour, hilarious puns/movie references/impersonations for adults, well-animated action sequences, graceful camerawork, precise editing.
Critics don’t like: Over-stuffed, exhausting, limp, predictable, lacklustre, unfunny, unmoving, uninspired, charmless, disposable, lazy, noisy, clichéd. Poor female characters, unoriginal villain, occasionally drags.
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