Here’s a funny tidbit about the new Dreamworks Animation movie, “Penguins of Madagascar” that opens today, November 26, it comes from a film franchise that did not put out a good entry until the third movie (“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted). The Penguins, that includes Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private who saw themselves as elite super agents were the comic relief of the franchise when the other jokes in the movie fell flat, so it’s understandable that they got their own movie.

This is not the first time Dreamworks has given characters from a successful franchise and given them their own spin-off installment. “Puss in Boots” got his own movie a few years ago. That movie was an origin tale. “Penguins of Madagascar” does show the humble beginnings of the four intrepid penguins, but most of this adventure takes place after the events of the last Madagascar movie. An old foe they never knew existed is back for revenge and Private may be the only one who can stop him.


“Penguins of Madagascar” starts right away with laughs. It’s a funny movie, but eventually more of the laughs are for children than adults. The most successful family animated movies are generally the ones adults can love just as much as the kids. This movie is not a torture for grownups to sit through as some other animated movies are, but there are times in this movie where, as an adult, you feel the movie has abandoned you for the sake centering its attention on the kids.

Dreamworks usually has a great reputation of turning out movies with excellent 3D effects. However, lately they have been hit or miss in that category. In “Penguins of Madagascar” the 3D effects are good, but below what the studio is capable of making. If you pay the extra money to see it in 3D you will not feel like you got ripped off. However, if you see it in a 2D theater you are not missing out on much either.

Thanksgiving is a time for families to get together and releasing a family for this weekend with a recognizable franchise name should reap inflated returns.  The biggest question revolving around “Penguins of Madagascar” is whether these comic relief guys could hold it together for their own movie. For the most part, they do and it is a viable option when looking for something to do over the long weekend, especially if it is a rainy day, which we do get quite a bit of here in South Florida. It is rated PG for mild action and some rude humor.