DreamWorks Animation hit the motherlode when they began making the Madagascar movies. The films did not boast much for adults, but cute animals, silly situations, and lots of action kept the kiddies interested and launched, among other things, an animated TV show featuring the elite fighting penguins that were minor characters in the films. Now The Penguins of Madagascar have their own movie, complete with super-villains and celebrity guest voices.
According to the latest trailer for the film, the four penguins are actually secret agents faced with a new super-villain in the form of Dr. Octavius Brine (John Malkovich voicing an octopus) who has plans to take over and/or destroy the world. They join up with The North Wind, a group of arctic-themed secret agents with voice talent from the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, to defeat Brine and his nefarious plot. In the midst of it all, there’s a lot of throwaway humor, celebrity cameos, and pop culture references.
Based on this trailer and the clip that accompanies it, The Penguins of Madagascar definitely appeals more to children than to a large age-range – although one does have to question how many six year olds will understand a Riverdance reference or the presence of Werner Herzog voicing himself. But when your humor relies on octopi having difficulty working a laptop mic and a penguin eating Cheese Doodles, one probably takes all the grown-up humor one can get.
Not that there’s anything wrong with appealing to children without giving too many nods to their parents. The Penguins of Madagascar is for kids and it’s nice that DreamWorks can produce amusing films directed at that audience. Not everyone has to be Pixar, after all, and the film looks cute enough to not bore parents to tears.
The Penguins of Madagascar comes to theaters (in 3D!) on November 26. You can watch the latest trailer and clip below.