'Penguins of Madagascar' -- What Parents Need to Know

Penguins of MadagascarTrying to figure out what movie to take the kids to over the long Thanksgiving break? Penguins of Madagascar is Dreamworks' attempt to get families into theaters over the holiday, cashing in on the following it's built up over three Madagascar films. But before you promise the kids popcorn, know this: Penguins is not a sequel. Which is exactly what the animated Benedict Cumberbatch flick has going for it.

Based on minor characters introduced in the popular trilogy -- and spun off into their own Nickelodeon show -- Penguins diverges from the story of four zoo animals and their adventures and instead follows Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private, four Arctic birds who spend their days committing capers around the globe. It's during a break-in at Fort Knox that the penguins end up kidnapped by the nefarious Dave (an octopus who has the world convinced he's a philanthropic scientist) and the hijinks ensue.


Sounds ... crazy? Frenetic? Bizarre.

It is. And that's why your kids will love it.

This is not a deep movie. It's not a message movie. You won't walk out with your kids and have a long conversation on the way home about what they've learned. You won't walk out with tissues clenched in hand from that one hit-you-in-the-guts moment where the characters grew as people, er, penguins.

Penguins of MadagascarYou will, however, walk out with kids who are giggling their little noggins off and repeating ridiculous jokes (my 9-year-old daughter's favorite involved something about moxie and sassy pants).

Because Penguins is ridiculous, from the moment the film begins to the ending credits. I mean, come on, an octopus who is a scientist? Penguins breaking into Fort Knox?

It's silly, kid humor for a silly afternoon with your silly kids.

The humor stays pretty clean, with most of the "adult" jokes focusing on sneaking in famous people's names in ridiculous (have I used that word yet) ways, ie, "Charlize! They're on the ..." You get the picture.

An extra bit at the end of the movie -- after the credits -- is worth sticking around for ... and hints at either a follow-up movie or yet another spin-off for a minor Madagascar character.

Will you be hitting the theaters for the holiday weekend? What will you be seeing?


Images via Dreamworks Animation

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