The three Madagascar movies are about a lion and his best friends who escape a zoo in New York and end up living in Madagascar. They were boring. The only bright spot in them is the four penguins who engineered their break out. They were really funny and now have their own movie, Penguins of Madagascar, which is — hooray — really funny too.
Co-writers and co-directors Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith begin their movie with Werner Herzog narrating footage of a line of penguins going wherever penguins go. It’s there we meet the young Skipper, Kowalski and Rico, who save the egg that became Private.
Flash forward in time, and an evil octopus — Dave — who was the star of a zoo until the penguins arrived, invents a formula that turns penguins into monsters. He plots revenge on these and all other penguins on the planet.
Darnell and Smith and their three co-writers — including Tom McGrath, who voices Skipper — start their film with belly laughs and for the first half, keeping you in stitches. The second half isn’t bad either, but it’s not nearly as fun.
They twist celebrity names into some clever bits, put the penguins in super silly slapstick scenes and pack the movie with comedy routines reminiscent of the great comedians of antiquity like Abbot and Costello and Bob Hope and Bing Crosby.
This is a very funny film in the ordinary two dimensions or glorious 3D. It’s loaded with fun stuff that kids of all ages will love, and comedy that — unlike so many animated features — will tickle the funny bones of adults of all ages.