I don’t think penguins are cute. I mean, can birds really be cute with their cold reptilian eyes, claws and sharp beaks? When I see birds, I think, “beautiful, majestic, charming” but never “cute”. Birds can be funny though. Chickens are funny. Ostriches are funny. Ducks are friggin’ hilarious. The waddle, the quack. But thanks to Penguins of Madascar, penguins have stolen the crowns as emperors of avian comedy.
Plot: Does It Matter?
Penguins of Madagascar, a spin off of the Madagascar series of films, follows the bonker adventures of Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, as they save the world with the help of the Arctic animals of Northwind.
OK, the plot is pretty dumb and is really there just to hang up the vivacious comedy. If you must know, the feathered fab four are involved in some espionage highjinks as they attempt to save their penguin buddies from the totally not cute octopus baddie Dave (Or is it Darren? Delilah?). Now, you have seen this arch played out in every stupid cartoon that attempts to spoof the spy genre. What we have here is an anarchic mess in the best way possible. Perfectly designed for kiddies who haven’t crossed the height bar to get on actual rollercoasters, jumping on this thrill ride will have you holding on to your theatre seats so you don’t fall off laughing.
The penguins throw every single joke at you from the screen: corny celebrity-based puns (Nicolas! Cage them!), sly allusions that will go over the kids’ heads (I especially giggled at the NPR and French tax law jokes), and brilliantly choreographed action sequences that reach new heights of visual comedy slapstick. So many, many jokes that will have you groaning, laughing and squealing in equal measure.
You Gotta Love the Cute
You know what, while tugged heartstrings are probably not why you and Junior are jumping on these exploits, if you are looking for some love, the brotherhood of penguins is oddly sweet and endearing. Great work from mostly little known voice talents downplays the annoyance factor that such rambunctiousness might beget while adding a sparkling, emotional tone. Plus, they will make you and your kiddies guffaw with goofy delight.
Penguins of Madagascar is showing in most cinemas in Cebu this weekend 28-30 November.