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Sunday, 7 February 2016

Penguins of Madagascar (2014)

Penguins of Madagascar is a sequel to the Madagascar animation series, except that this one does not have the main characters of hit movie series. As the title goes, the movie focusses on the self-appointed, ridiculously hilarious team of 4 covert penguins who believe in following old-school techniques to achieve their targets.

Main Characters

Skipper is the team leader, probably the oldest one in the group, who defies all rules, does not hesitate to challenge nature and loves to take reckless initiatives in order to accomplish what he believes is right. The others in the team display blind faith in him, and for a good reason - if not for him, they could not have rescued their junior most member Private from a sharp fall and the seals, while he was still yet to hatch.

Kowalski is the brain of the team, the second in command to Skipper, and is responsible for gathering intelligence, surveillance, re-con and any other actual work that a covert agent does. He is also very humorous and draws some great punch-lines.

Rico is the team's weapon and combat specialist - he can gobble up anything and throw it out any time he wants to, often showering cannon-like attacks onto his opponents. He comes to the rescue several times by bombarding the enemy side with cheesy dibbles powder from his mouth.
The penguins rescue the egg
Private hatches out of the egg
Finally, we have Private, the junior-most and cutest member of the covert team, whom Skipper insists on treating like a baby. Private struggles to prove that he can be a good secret agent too, but all Skipper wants him to do is to remain cute, stay safe and out of trouble.

Plot Summary

The awesome foursome are targeted by Dave, the Octopus, a villain who disguises in human form as a scientist named Dr. Octavius Brian, and has vowed to wreak revenge on all penguins of the world. His reason for revenge - he was the highlight of the zoo until the four penguins of Madagascar came along and stole his show, leaving Dave unwanted and forgotten by all.

Dave, the Octopus, aka Dr. Octavian Brian

As penguins keep disappearing from zoos all across the world, kidnapped and imprisoned by Dave, the penguins of Madagascar try to save the other penguins from the villainous scientist.

To ruin his plan of administering the penguins with his deadly serum that will convert any victim into a monster, the penguins of Madagascar join forces with the elite undercover organization known as the North Wind, led by Agent Classified, the husky, furry, smart and snobbish British agent who declares that his name is classified and ends up getting stuck with that name. Assisting Agent Classified in his mission are his three trusted special agents - one of whom Kowalski falls for.

Agent Classified and Skipper
The North Wind - Agent Classified with his special agents

Highlights of the Movie

With the absence of the main characters of Madagascar, it was easy to doubt whether Penguins of Madagascar would actually succeed. You would be wrong there!! The penguins capture our hearts with their reckless goof-ups and the constant dumb-and-dumber-and-dumbest play, resulting in one hilarious movie sequel.
  • The part where Dave, the Octopus, reveals his true identity to the penguins, then waits for an impact of his statement only to realize that the name Dave doesn't even ring a bell in them, is really funny.
  • Or the part where Skipper sternly proclaims himself to be an expert secret agent and then accidentally steps on the self-destruct button on Agent Classified's aircraft while chewing cheesy dibbles.
    Skipper (after stepping on the self-destruct button): You should really label these buttons
  • The most rib-tickling scene is the one where Dave the Octopus hacks into the security system of the North Wind but is unable to operate the audio and the webcam properly, to which Agent Classified heaves in frustration - this is just like talking to my parents.
  • Another moment worthy of mention is the time when the penguins steal the few million dollars worth aircraft from the North Wind, crashes it in a desert and then Skipper announces - now for the most important thing. The very next moment - the covert agent penguins are screaming, and jumping up and down on the trampoline.
And now, after crashing the plane, what's the next thing to do - why, jump on the trampoline of course!

Penguins of Madagascar moves at a fast pace, has awesome Bond-style and MI-style action sequences, with equally clever dialogues from both heroes and the villain. The action scenes involving car, bike and boat chases seem to be the comical version of a Bond movie.

Most importantly, the movie avoids the extremely cliché moments of sentiments where the main character has a deep realization of the truth. All the lead characters are jolly, practical and quick to recover from their follies, managing to keep up the fun quotient of the movie.

The climax was dramatic enough, but could have been slightly more clever in terms of preparing the anti-dote - having Private get into the serum-making machine to inject cuteness as an anti-dote is a little lame, given that Despicable Me was an animation movie too and has a much cleverer anti-dote rescue sequence in the climax.

While Penguins of Madagascar doesn't exactly fit the definition of a masterpiece, and isn't the greatest of the Madagascar franchise, it is definitely entertaining and worth a watch. It deserves a 7.5 or 8 out of 10, for the awesome humour and the Bond-style or MI-style action sequences alone, if not for anything else.

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