Penguins of Madagascar

Penguins of Madagascar (released on home video as Penguins of Madagascar: The Movie) is a 2014 American computer-animated spy action comedy film[10] produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by 20th Century Fox. Starring the voices of Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Conrad Vernon, Christopher Knights, Benedict Cumberbatch, John Malkovich and Ken Jeong, 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 adventure.[10] Apart from the main characters, it is not directly related to the Nickelodeon TV series of the same name.[12]

Penguins of Madagascar
Penguins of Madagascar poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Alan J. Schoolcraft
  • Brent Simons
  • Michael Colton
  • John Aboud
Based on
Characters created
by
  • Tom McGrath
  • Eric Darnell
Starring
Music byLorne Balfe[4][5]
Edited byNick Kenway
Production
company
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • November 14, 2014 (2014-11-14) (China)
  • November 26, 2014 (2014-11-26) (United States)
Running time
92 minutes[7]
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$132 million[8]
Box office$373 million[9]

Directed by Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell[13] from a script written by Michael Colton, John Aboud[1] and Brandon Sawyer,[3] Penguins of Madagascar was released theatrically on November 26, 2014 in both 2D and 3D,[1] making it the only film in the Madagascar franchise to be distributed by 20th Century Fox as well as the final DreamWorks Animation film to be produced by Pacific Data Images prior to its closure on January 22, 2015, as well as DWA Glendale taking over.[14] While the film received generally positive reviews from critics, it also underperformed at the US box office (forcing a write-down for the studio), but did better internationally, grossing $373 million on a $132 million budget.[15]

PlotEdit

In Antarctica, three young penguins — Skipper, Kowalski and Rico — chase and try to save an egg the other penguins believe to be doomed to be lost. After saving it from a pack of leopard seals on an abandoned ship, and accidentally setting themselves adrift on an iceberg, the egg hatches into their new member, Private, before the events of the first film.

Ten years later, after joining the circus, the penguins leave to celebrate Private's birthday by breaking into Fort Knox in order to treat him to a discontinued snack called "Cheezy Dibbles" in the vending machine of the fort's break room. Despite this, Private begins to feel out of place with the team, as he is constantly described as being the "secretary/mascot".

Suddenly, they are abducted by the machine and taken to Venice, Italy by Dr. Octavius Brine, a renowned geneticist who reveals he is actually an octopus named Dave, who has grown resentful of penguins after their cuteness resulted in him being shunned by every zoo and aquarium in the world, all of which started with the four getting him moved out of the Central Park Zoo due to all the visitors ignoring Dave. Rico swallows 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 canals and streets of Venice by Dave's henchmen (who are all octopuses).

When cornered, they are rescued by a group of animals from an elite undercover inter-species task force agency called "The North Wind" consisting of their leader, a wolf whose name is classified, whom Skipper mistakenly calls "Classified", a harp seal demolitionist named Short Fuse, a polar bear named Corporal who adores the penguins’ cuteness, and an analyst and intelligence officer snowy owl named Eva whom Kowalski becomes smitten with. The mission of the team, as stated by classified, is to help animals who can't protect themselves, and the team has been fighting Dave to protect the penguin population.

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 and use the serum on them. Viewing Skipper and his team as a hindrance to their mission, classified tranquilizes the group and sends them to their most remote base (which happens to be in Madagascar) but the penguins awaken mid-flight, and evacuate the plane, and crash land in a desert, before making their way to Shanghai, China, where, upon discovering that Dave's next target is in Shanghai using Dave's snowglobe collection, the penguins ship themselves to the same location (as they believe that they are in Dublin, Ireland) and make their way to the aquarium. Skipper disguises Private as a mermaid-tailed penguin to distract Dave from his real target, but Private is captured along with the aquarium penguins soon after the North Wind arrives to put a stop to Dave's plan. The penguins steal the North Wind's $19 million high-tech vehicle to give chase, but inadvertently self-destruct the machine. They then tag along with the North Wind who use a lifeboat, and manage to track Private to an island base, using a tracking device planted on him when classified darted them before planting them in the flight.

Meanwhile on the island, Dave demonstrates his plan to use the Medusa Serum to genetically mutate the penguins of the world into hideous monsters in an effort to make humans disgusted by them as revenge. Skipper and Classified argue on the best means to rescue the captives and stop Dave, and Skipper reluctantly settles on Classified's plan in which the North Wind attacks and Skipper, Kowalski and Rico act as a diversion, out of guilt for letting Private get captured. The North Wind manages to corner Dave in his lair only to be captured by Dave's henchmen along with the penguins. Dave demonstrates his mutation ray at full power on Private, apparently disintegrating him with a beam that delivers the serum, but unbeknownst to them he escapes at the last minute by using a paper clip he swallowed earlier to pick the lock that trapped him. Private rescues the North Wind, and classified opts to regroup due to lack of equipment, but Private, not wanting to leave anyone behind leaves to stop Dave. As Dave's submarine docks at New York with the promise of returning the penguins he "found" to the zoos of the world, he uses the ray on the rest of the penguins, mutating them all into hideous monsters. The city erupts into chaos as the brainwashed, mutated penguins run amok on the terrified human crowd, and pest control services are brought in. After successfully getting Skipper, Kowalski and Rico back to their senses by appealing to their memories, Private decides to connect himself into the ray to return all the penguins to normal using his own cuteness inspite of Skipper insisting that Private not do so. The North Wind also returns in an Icecream truck and rams it into Dave's submarine, destroying the submarine and escaping only to be trapped by a pest control vehicle. After fending off Dave and his henchman while Rico gets batteries for the beam's remote, they manage to turn all the penguins back to normal.

Private is left mutated from the machine while the rest of the penguins are restored to normal. Despite his strange new look, the Penguins show their gratitude and newfound respect for Private, while Dave (who was affected by the blast) has been turned into a cute miniature version of himself and trapped inside a snowglobe where he is picked up and admired by a little girl, finally gaining the affection he desired, but then being violently shaken by the girl. Finally seeing one another as equals, Classified promises to grant the Penguins anything they want. In addition to Kowalski getting kisses from Eva, the Penguins are given their own jet packs and they then fly off above the clouds back to the circus.

In a mid-credits scene, the penguins plug Mort into the ray and use him to revert Private back to normal; Mort does not show any physical or mental side effects from the ray until he manages to swallow King Julien whole, much to the latter's amusement.

Voice castEdit

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

Danny Jacobs and Andy Richter voice King Julien XIII (in place of Sacha Baron Cohen) and Mort in the mid-credits scene.

ProductionEdit

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 initially planned for 2009.[23] The studio announced in March 2011 that the penguin characters would be given their own theatrical feature film 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.[24][25]

At the July 2012 Comic-Con, DreamWorks Animation announced that the film, titled The Penguins of Madagascar, would be released in 2015.[26] Robert Schooley, one of the producers of The Penguins of Madagascar series, said that the film would be unrelated to the TV series of the same name, but added that that could always change.[27] In early September 2012, 20th Century Fox, the studio's new distributor, and DreamWorks Animation announced a release date of March 27, 2015 and a new pair of writers, Michael Colton and John Aboud.[28] Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich joined the cast in August 2013.[1] Malkovich, who had been offered the role of Dr. Octavius Brine three and a half years before the film's release, told an audience at the July 2014 Comic-Con that he thought that it "was a funny idea" to use his voice for an octopus.[12]

ReleaseEdit

On May 20, 2014, the film's release date was moved back to November 26, 2014 from its initial March 27, 2015 date, switching places with DreamWorks Animation's other film Home.[29] 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 was to try taking advantage of a less competitive spring release window and repeat successful spring launches of some of DWA's original films, such as The Croods and How to Train Your Dragon.[30] The film was released two weeks earlier in China, on November 14, 2014.[31]

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.[32] A four-issue comic book series based on the film was published by Titan Comics, written by Alex Matthews and drawn by Lucas Fereyra.[33]

Home mediaEdit

Penguins of Madagascar was released on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on March 17, 2015.[34] It topped the home video sales chart in its first week.[35]

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

Penguins of Madagascar grossed $83.4 million in North America and $290.2 million in foreign countries for a worldwide total of $373.6 million.[9] The film's production budget was $132 million, which, according to the DreamWorks Animation's president Ann Dally, excluded "incentive-based compensation."[8] By the end of 2014, the studio had to take a $57.1 million write-down, primarily related to the performances of Penguins of Madagascar and another DreamWorks Animation film, Mr. Peabody & Sherman.[15][36]

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.[37] It earned $10.5 million on Black Friday.[38][39] 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.[40] The opening-weekend audience was evenly split among those under and over the age of 25, with 58% and female accounted 51%.[41]

The film was released in China on November 14,[31] 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).[42] In its opening weekend, the film earned $36.5 million from 47 markets.[43] Overall, the top openings were in Russia ($8.2 million), Korea ($6 million), Italy ($4.63 million), Germany ($4.2 million), and Australia ($3.68 million).[44][45] The film's opening in Germany was the second-highest for an animated film in 2014, behind How to Train Your Dragon 2.[44]

Critical responseEdit

The film has a 73% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 110 reviews, with an average rating of 6.2/10. The site's consensus was "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."[46] On Metacritic, the film achieved a score of 53 out of 100 based on reviews from 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[47] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade A–.[48]

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."[49] 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."[50] 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."[51] 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."[52]

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."[53] 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."[54] 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."[55]

Awards and nominationsEdit

List of awards and nominations
Award/Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
42nd Annie Awards[56] Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production Mitul Patel, Nicolas Delbecq, Santosh Khedkar and Yash Argawal Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production Ravi Kamble Nominated
Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Craig Kellman, Joe Moshier, Stevie Lewis and Todd Kurosawa Nominated
51st Cinema Audio Society Awards[57] Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Picture - Animated Tighe Sheldon, Paul N.J. Ottosson, Dennis Sands and Randy K. Singer Nominated
28th Kids' Choice Awards[58] Favorite Animated Movie Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith Nominated
11th St. Louis Film Critics Association Awards[59] Best Animated Film Nominated

SoundtrackEdit

Penguins of Madagascar: Music from the Motion Picture
Film score by
ReleasedNovember 25, 2014 (2014-11-25)
Recorded2014
GenreFilm score
Length52:46
LabelRelativity Music Group
ProducerHans Zimmer
DreamWorks Animation chronology
How to Train Your Dragon 2
(2014)
Penguins of Madagascar
(2014)

Lorne Balfe composed the original score for the film,[60] making it his first solo debut in a DreamWorks Animation film. Balfe wrote the additional music for the previous two Madagascar films and helped Madagascar composer Hans Zimmer with the score for Megamind. The soundtrack was released on November 25, 2014, by Relativity Music Group.[60] Relativity also released an EP, Penguins of Madagascar: Black & White Christmas Album, which featured five holiday songs.[60]

No.TitleLength
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 gameEdit

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.[61]

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit