Penguins of Madagascar

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For the Nickelodeon TV series, see The Penguins of Madagascar.
Penguins of Madagascar
Penguins of Madagascar poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Eric Darnell
Simon J. Smith
Produced by Mark Swift
Lara Breay[1]
Tripp Hudson[2]
Screenplay by Michael Colton[3]
John Aboud[3]
Brandon Sawyer[3]
Story by Alan J. Schoolcraft
Brent Simons
Michael Colton
John Aboud
Based on Characters created 
by Tom McGrath
and Eric Darnell
Starring Tom McGrath
Chris Miller
Christopher Knights
Conrad Vernon
Benedict Cumberbatch
Ken Jeong
Annet Mahendru
Peter Stormare
John Malkovich
Music by Lorne Balfe[4][5]
Edited by Nick Kenway
Production
company
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • November 14, 2014 (2014-11-14) (China)
  • November 26, 2014 (2014-11-26) (United States)
Running time
92 minutes[7]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $132 million[8]
Box office $373.6 million[9]

Penguins of Madagascar is a 2014 American 3D computer-animated spy-fi action comedy film,[10] produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is a spin-off of the Madagascar film series, and takes place right after the events of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted,[11] following the penguins Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private in their own spy thriller.[10] Apart from the main characters, it is unrelated to the TV series of the same name.[12]

The film is directed by Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell,[13] and written by Michael Colton & John Aboud[1] and Brandon Sawyer.[3] It stars the voices of Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, featuring the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich, and Ken Jeong. The film was released on November 26, 2014.[1] It is the first film in the Madagascar franchise that is distributed by 20th Century Fox and the final film to be produced by Pacific Data Images before its closure in 2015.[14]

Plot[edit]

In Antarctica three young penguins; Skipper, Kowalski and Rico defy the laws of nature to save an egg the other penguins believe to be doomed. After saving it from a pack of leopard seals and accidentally setting themselves adrift on an iceberg, the egg hatches into Private.

Ten years later, after the events of the previous film's events, the penguins decide to leave the circus to celebrate Private's birthday by breaking into Fort Knox in order to treat him to a discontinued snack in the vending machine of their break room. Despite this, Private begins to feel out of place with the team; as Skipper is the leader, Kwolski is the strategist and Rico is the arsenal. Suddenly, they are abducted into the machine and sent to Venice, Italy by Doctor Octavius Brine a known scientist who removes his human disguise and reveals he is actually an octopus named Dave, who has grown jealous of penguins, after their nature of cuteness had shunned him out of every major zoo in the world. Rico devours Dave's collection of snowglobes along with a canister of a green substance called the Medusa Serum before the four escape and are chased through the streets of Venice. When cornered, they are rescued by a group of animals from a spy agency called "North Wind" consisting of their leader, a gray wolf named Classified, a harp seal demolitionist named Short Fuse, Corporal; a polar bear and Eva, an intelligent snow owl with whom Kowalski is instantly smitten. Their mission; to protect the animals of the world who cannot protect themselves.

At their hideout, their communication systems are hacked by Dave, who reveals that he has an enormous supply of the Medusa Serum and that he intends to capture the penguins out of every zoo he was kicked out of. Not wanting the penguins' help, Classified sends the group to their most remote base (which happens to be on Madagascar) but the penguins awaken midflight and crash land in the Sahara Desert before making their way to Shanghai, which they mistake for Dublin, Ireland. Discovering Dave's next target in Shanghai; the penguins ship themselves to their current location and make their way to the zoo. Disguising himself as a mermaid-tailed penguin (as a tourist attraction) to distract Dave from his real target, Private himself is captured along with the Shanghai penguins after the North Wind arrives to put a stop to Dave's plan. The penguins take the North Winds' high-tech plane to give chase, but accidentally self destruct the machine. They manage to track Private to an island though, using a device planted on him when Classified tranquilized them. Meanwhile, on the island, Dave demonstrates his way to genetically mutate the penguins into hideous monsters as an effort to make humans disgusted in them as revenge.

Skipper and Classified argue on the best means to rescue the captives and stop Dave, settling on Classified's plan of a frontal assault. They are quickly captured however, and the other penguins are as well when North Wind does not return. Dave demonstrates his ray at full power on Private, apparently disintegrating him with the beam, but unbeknownst to them he has escaped. Private rescues Classified and the others who want to regroup but Private, not wanting to leave anyone behind goes to stop Dave. As Dave's submarine docks at New York with the promise of returning the penguins he found to the zoo, he turns the ray on the rest of the penguins, mutating them all into hideous monsters. The city erupts into chaos as the uncontrolled, mutated penguins run amok on the terrified human crowd. Getting the senses back into Skipper, Kowalski and Rico, they decide to connect the cute Private into the machine to return them to normal. Dave jumps into the path of the machine and is turned into a baby-like version of himself while the others attach his snowglobes to the machine, returning all the penguins back to normal in one shot.

Private is left mutated from the machine while the rest of the penguins are restored to normal. Private has been tinted pink and grown antlers. Despite his strange new look, the Penguins show their gratitude and newfound respect for Private. Dave has also been made cute by the ray and stuck in a snow globe where he is admired by a little girl. Finally seeing one another as equals, Classified promises to grant the Penguins anything they want. In addition to Kowalski getting a kiss from Eva, the Penguins are given their own jetpacks. The four Penguins then fly off above the clouds looking for their next adventure.

In a mid-credits scene, the Penguins return to the circus and plug Mort into the ray and use him to revert Private back to normal. Mort doesn't appear to show any side effects from the ray until he manages to swallow King Julien whole.

Cast[edit]

John Malkovich and Benedict Cumberbatch talking at the Penguins of Madagascar panel at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con International

Production[edit]

A direct-to-video film featuring the penguins had been in the works since 2005, when the first Madagascar film was released, with a release date planned for 2009.[19] In March 2011, it was announced that the penguin characters would be given their own feature film, similar to the 2011 Puss in Boots movie spin-off of Shrek,[20] to be directed by Simon J. Smith, the co-director of Bee Movie, produced by Lara Breay, and written by Alan J. Schoolcraft and Brent Simons, the writers of DreamWorks' Megamind.[21]

In July 2012, at Comic-Con, it was announced that the film, titled The Penguins of Madagascar, would be released in 2015.[22] Robert Schooley, one of the producers of The Penguins series, said that the film would be unrelated to the TV series of the same name, but added that that could always change.[23] In September 2012, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation announced a release date of March 27, 2015, and a new pair of writers, Michael Colton and John Aboud.[24] In August 2013, it was reported that Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich joined the cast.[1] Malkovich, who had been offered the role of Dr. Octavius Brine three and a half years before the film's release, thought that it would be funny to use his voice for an octopus.[12]

Release[edit]

On May 20, 2014, the film's release date was moved up to November 26, 2014, from its initial March 27, 2015 bow, switching places with DreamWorks Animation's other film, Home.[25] Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation's CEO, reasoned that the film, coming from one of DWA's most successful franchises, would have an easier task to stand out around the Thanksgiving holiday season, while Home will try to take advantage of a less competitive spring release window, and repeat successful spring launches of some of DWA's original films, including The Croods and How to Train Your Dragon.[26] The film was released two weeks earlier in China, on November 14, 2014.[27]

The film was released in RealD 3D and Digital 3D formats.[6] It was digitally remastered into the IMAX format, and released in select theaters across Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America.[28] A four-issue comic book series based on the film was published by Titan Comics. Written by Alex Matthews and drawn by Lucas Fereyra.[29]

Home media[edit]

Penguins of Madagascar was released on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on March 17, 2015.[30] It topped the home video sales chart in its first week.[31]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

As of April 19, 2015 Penguins of Madagascar has grossed $83.3 million in North America and $290.2 million in foreign countries for a worldwide total of $373.5 million.[9] The film's production budget was $132 million, which, according to the DreamWorks Animation's president Ann Dally, excludes "incentive-based compensation."[8]

North America[edit]

Penguins of Madagascar was released on November 26, 2014 in North America and Canada across 3,764 theatres. It earned $6.25 million on its opening day and $3.95 million the next day on Thanksgiving Day.[32] It earned $10.5 million on Black Friday.[33][34] The film underperformed during its opening weekend earning $25.4 million and debuting at #2 at the box office behind The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 for which 3D accounted for 24% of its opening weekend gross.[35] The opening-weekend audience was evenly split among those under and over the age of 25, with 58% and female accounted 51%. In CinemaScore polls conducted during the opening weekend, cinema audiences gave Penguins of Madagascar an average grade of A- on an A+ to F scale.[36]

Other territories[edit]

The film was released in China on November 14,[27] two weeks ahead of its North American debut, and earned $11.3 million from 3,500 screens, debuting at number two at the Chinese box office behind Interstellar ($42 million).[37] In its opening weekend, the film earned $36.5 million from 47 markets.[38]

Overall, the top highest openings came from Russia ($8.2 million), Korea ($6 million), Italy ($4.63 million), Germany ($4.2 million) and Australia ($3.68 million).[39][40] Its opening in Germany is second-highest for an animated film in 2014, behind How to Train Your Dragon 2.[39]

Critical response[edit]

Penguins of Madagascar received generally positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently holds a 71% rating, based on 98 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's consensus is "Penguins of Madagascar is fast and brightly colored enough to entertain small children, but too frantically silly to offer real filmgoing fun for the whole family."[41] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 53 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[42]

Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter gave the film a negative review, saying "While there are plenty of madcap antics to fill a feature, all that manic energy ultimately proves to be more exhausting than exhilarating."[43] Elizabeth Weitzman of the New York Daily News gave the film three out of five stars, saying "Granted, it's no classic, but a sassy script and good-natured voice work from Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich should keep kids and grownups entertained over the holidays."[44] Ignatiy Vishnevetsky of The A.V. Club gave the film a B, saying "Frenetic and frequently funny, Penguins Of Madagascar represents the DreamWorks Animation franchise style -- which boils down to self-aware, but naïve, talking animals who learn kid-friendly life lessons -- at its most palatable."[45] Ben Kenigsberg of The New York Times gave the film a positive review, saying "The lack of originality is offset by sheer silliness, including Classified and Skipper's Abbott and Costello-style argument over whether there's a long I in "diversion." The word fits the movie."[46] Bill Zwecker of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three out of four stars, saying "Once again the Madagascar team have come up with a winner -- a nice way to kick off the Thanksgiving and holiday filmgoing experience for the whole family."[47] Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave the film one out of four stars, saying "Penguins of Madagascar is a lazy, noisy ADHD-addled collection of animated clichés guaranteed to give anyone older than 5 a headache, even if you don’t see it in optional 3-D."[48] Jeff Labrecque of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a C-, saying "Penguins of Madagascar aims primarily for the kiddies, racing from one frenetic action sequence to another like some haywire Walter Lantz cartoon."[49]

Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times gave the film a negative review, saying "The story, like everything else, tries to do too much. It's an origins story, a mission impossible, a coming-of-age saga, a revenge story."[50] Simon Abrams of The Village Voice gave the film a negative review, saying "Plays like a sampler of DreamWorks Animation's worst creative impulses: sugar-rush pacing, pandering meta-gags, and a slick, flavorless animation style."[51] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post gave the film three and a half stars out of four, saying "The screenplay by John Aboud, Michael Colton and Brandon Sawyer has a fizzy, pop-culture pizazz, tempered by a distinctly vaudeville sensibility. It’s smart, but not brainy; dumb, but never inane."[52] Patrick Dunn of The Detroit News gave the film a C, saying "While Madagascar's young faithful will likely get the most out of this flick, even they are likely to find they prefer these penguins in smaller doses."[53] Chris Cabin of Slant Magazine gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying "The humor recalls the snappy, rampant guffaws of Looney Tunes, '90s-era Nickelodeon cartoons, and sitcoms like Get Smart, most potently felt when Skipper mistakes Shanghai for Dublin and starts a new mission to get his team to where they already are. And Penguins of Madagascar similarly feels like a spin-off that takes the long way to do exactly what its Madagascar predecessors already did, creating an entertaining, fleeting romp that gets by on being only so much better than average."[54] Tom Russo of The Boston Globe gave the film two out of four stars, saying "Beyond some imagery, we don't get much that's bigger or better than on TV. Nothing narratively richer, certainly."[55]

Barbara VanDenburgh of The Arizona Republic gave the film three out of five stars, saying "All the glossy, kinetic animation and inventive action sequences get lost in the gag machine. The film throws jokes out like a tennis-ball machine on the fritz: gross humor, slapstick pratfalls, bizarre non sequiturs."[56] Steven Rea of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two and a half stars out of five, saying "If Penn-wings of Madagascar has a certain machine-made feel about it (and it does), that doesn't mean attention hasn't been paid to the animation."[57] Lindsey Bahr of the Associated Press gave the film two and a half stars out of four, saying "Penguins of Madagascar is a passible, inoffensive addition to DreamWorks Animation's canon, even if there's a faint whiff of a North Wind spin-off sullying the contained story."[58] Geoff Berkshire of Variety gave the film a mixed review, saying "The graceful camerawork, precise editing and high-quality animation still can’t disguise the lack of imagination that went into the overall conception and the repetitive sameness that creeps into every bind the penguins find themselves in."[59] Scott Tobias of The Dissolve gave the film two out of five stars, saying "What Penguins Of Madagascar needs is a roomful of ruthless editors to take jokes out of the script, particularly the ones aimed at pleasing the grown-ups in the audience."[60] Peter Howell of the Toronto Star gave the film two out of four stars, saying "It may be a case of damning with faint praise to say that Penguins of Madagascar never really gets a chance to bore, since it never slows down."[61] Walter V. Addiego of the San Francisco Chronicle gave the film three out of four stars, saying "Directors Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith keep up a headlong pace -- if one joke or sight gag misfires, there'll be another one soon."[62]

Accolades[edit]

List of Accolades
Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
2015 Kids' Choice Awards[63] Favorite Animated Movie Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith Nominated

Soundtrack[edit]

Penguins of Madagascar: Music from the Motion Picture
Film score by Lorne Balfe
Released November 25, 2014 (2014-11-25)
Recorded 2014
Genre Film score
Length 52:46
Label Relativity Music Group
Producer Hans Zimmer
DreamWorks Animation chronology
How to Train Your Dragon 2
(2014)
Penguins of Madagascar
(2014)

Lorne Balfe composed the original score for the film,[64] making it the composer's first solo debut in a DreamWorks Animation film. However, Balfe previously composed the additional music for the previous two Madagascar films and previously helped Madagascar composer Hans Zimmer with the score for Megamind. The soundtrack was released on November 25, 2014, by Relativity Music Group.[64] Relativity will also release Penguins of Madagascar: Black & White Christmas Album, which will feature five holiday songs.[64]

No. Title Length
1. "The Penguins of Madagascar"   4:10
2. "Antarctica"   3:31
3. "Demersus"   2:53
4. "Sclateri"   3:25
5. "Adeliae"   3:31
6. "Forsteri"   2:52
7. "Patagonicus"   3:03
8. "Magellanicus"   1:24
9. "Private’s Theme"   2:34
10. "Robustus"   3:36
11. "Eudyptula Minor"   1:35
12. "Chrysolophus"   2:51
13. "Chrysocome"   1:59
14. "Antipodes"   1:20
15. "Schlegeli"   2:46
16. "Mendiculus"   3:14
17. "Papua"   1:56
18. "Humboldti"   2:52
19. "He Is Dave" (featuring Antony Genn) 3:14

Video game[edit]

A video game based on the film, titled Penguins of Madagascar, and published by Little Orbit, was released on November 25, 2014 for Nintendo 3DS, Wii, and Wii U.[65]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]