Somewhere, right now, my kids are losing their minds.
I'm not particularly fond of the “Madagascar” films, but they're fine, I guess. This is the side of Dreamworks that I'm less fond of, the super-jokey frantic-to-be-funny side. Coming on the heels of the beautiful, heartfelt “How To Train Your Dragon 2,” it feels like a far more crass decision. That sort of sums up exactly what's wrong with Dreamworks as a studio. They are capable of greatness, but they seem to aim for the “farts are funny” crowd more often than not.
The Penguins were at their funniest when they were supporting players, characters that the filmmakers could use to punctuate a few jokes here and there, but it almost never ends well when you take characters like this and push them center-stage. I would imagine there was a time when ABC strongly considered giving Lenny & Squiggy their own sitcom, but some characters aren't made to carry a story.
In this new film, Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (John DiMaggio) and Private (Christopher Knights) end up working with North Wind, a secret organization that is headed by Classified, who is voiced by the omnipresent Benedict Cumberbatch. Ken Jeong, Annet Mahendru, and Peter Stormare also play members of this all-animal team, and they end up teaming up with the penguins to battle an octopus named Dave.
I have no doubt there will be numerous jokes in the film that work, and the trailer's mildly funny. Yes, I know there's a TV show about these guys that's been on for a while, but it still feels to me like someone announced “Scrat: The Movie.” Maybe I'll be wrong. Maybe it'll be hilarious.
We'll see when “The Penguins Of Madagascar” opens on November 26, 2014.