Penguins of Madagascar…a movie review by Roz Tarszisz

December 29, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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Taking a small child to the movies is about so much more than just what’s on the screen; it’s an outing, and the movie can easily end up the least of it.

It has been years since I watched a kids’ film on the big screen, so when an invitation to a family preview was sent to J-Wire, my grandson and I decided to go together.

The Kid, 3¾ years, was very excited at the prospect of the “penguin movie”. Advance discussions ensued: Bus or train? What’s for lunch?   Is a treat included?

Penguin Day dawned, and it was hard to tell which of us was more excited. Cheetah (a favourite soft toy) was allowed to come but had to stay in a bag.

After the bus ride and sushi lunch came the first highlight – a chocolate ice cream cone, which The Kid selected only after much deliberation. While we waited for the movie to begin, he methodically consumed it down to the last crumb, and pronounced it dee- licious.

The second highlight was the 3D glasses. He had seen a few older boys trying them out so when The Kid realised he was getting his very own pair, he was thrilled. He was now in the big league. Let the animated story begin.

Four plucky penguins, Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private take on Dave, a wicked giant octopus. Dave is intent on rounding up all the penguins in captivity and exacting revenge on them for being much cuter than him. Meanwhile, an expensively kitted-out troupe of top agents – The North Wind – is also trying to foil the plot.

There is plenty for adults, with cracks and smart throwaway lines, as Penguins of Madagascar moves at a furious pace. Although rated G, the octopus was monstrous and rather scary. While much of the dialogue is sophisticated, the plot was not always clear, at least not for me. Logic has no place here so I went with the flow and enjoyed the fun.

How does Madagascar fit in? At some point the penguins were packed in a box to be shipped there and this movie is part of the Madagascar franchise. Everybody knows penguins don’t live in Madagascar.

The Kid liked the penguins best but found it hard to pinpoint anything else. Later he told me that Cheetah found the movie scary. We both enjoyed the train ride home and the whole outing was a great success.

3.5/5 Rated G   2014 92 mins Released January 1st

Voiced by Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich

Directed by Simon J. Smith, Eric Darnell