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Trivia / Goofs
Summary / Analysis
Times of India
A huge dose of cuteness!
Four penguins break into Fort Knox for what they consider to be worth more than gold - a vending machine of 'Cheezy Puffs'. Once inside, they are kidnapped by the octopus Dave (Malkovich) who nurses an old grudge against them. They escape but now have to foil Dave's master plan to disfigure all creatures cute and cuddly.
We start off with the origin story of the four. While very young, Skipper (McGrath), Kowalski (Miller) and Rico (Vernon) break away from the pack in order to save a penguin egg. When it hatches, they adopt the baby, who they name Private (Knights). Curious about what lies beyond their polar surroundings, they hitch a ride on a floating iceberg and set out to see what the world has to offer. Years later, they escape a circus (where they are stars) and head to Fort Knox to buy packets of cheese crisps - Private's birthday present.
While clueless about why Dave has captured them and taken them to his headquarters in Venice, he tells the puzzled penguins that the public's love for them at zoos meant that he was blatantly ignored every time. He's therefore determined to disfigure them and all the cute penguins of the world (whom he blames for his misery) by zapping them with a 'Medusa Serum' so that people will then despise their appearance.
Somehow, they escape Dave's lair but after his minion octopuses chase them through Venetian streets, the penguins are saved by a mixed-species elite force called North Wind, comprising Classified (Cumberbatch), Short Fuse (Jeong), Eva (Mahendru) and Corporal (Stormare). The penguins still need to stop Dave and North Wind too needs to apprehend him. After a few hiccups, the anthropomorphic animals pool in their efforts to bring Dave down.
The pace is brisk - frenzied, even - the animation top-notch and the script is full of witticisms, puns ("Drew, Barry - more power!" Or "Nicolas, Cage - the penguins!") and there are jokes aplenty for the kiddies as well as belly-busters for the grown-ups. And of course, the penguins are simply adorable.
Animation films usually take long to make with post-production work taking up most of the time. However, Penguins of Madagascar was completed ahead of its schedule and hence the release date of the film was changed from March, 2015 to November, 2014.
Unable to pronounce the word 'Penguins' correctly, Benedict Cumberbatch says 'Pengwings' instead.
This is John Malkovich's first role in a fully animated film.
There is a major continuity goof-up in the film. In the scene where the penguins try to rescue the egg, both the snowball that the egg was embedded in and the snowball that balled up the penguins disappear miraculously by the time the seals attack them.
At the beginning of the movie, we see a long line of penguins make all making their way across the ice to take a dip in the ocean. This is In Antarctica. Meanwhile, an egg comes rolling down toward them Skipper, Kowalski and Rico jump out of line to go rescue the runaway penguin egg. A fortuitous move, because the egg soon hatches after a long chase battling hungry seals on a shipwreck and the baby seal who is cuteness personified is soon adopted by the three and made one of the family. He is called Private. The scene then cuts to when they're grown up and working in a circus. They leave the place with the intention of breaking into Fort Knox to steal the food which they love most - 'Cheezy Dibbles'. It's basically a birthday treat from the team, for Private. But Private and group get captured by an octopus who will later reveal himself to be Dave. Dave masquerades as a human in a costume but has a secret lair in Venice from where he plans to carry out his revenge against the penguins by making them look deformed by using what he calls the 'Medusa Serum'. the four manage to escape though by using a combination of their now-famous talents. Skipper is the leader and strategist, Kowalski is the nerd penguin an Rico, who swallows anything that can fit inside him, loves to make things blow up. We see Private being given secondary roles despite his willingness to prove himself, because he seemingly doesn't have any special skills apart from just his cuteness factor.
Dave's human alias is Dr Octavius Brine. We learn about Dave's pitiful back story. He was the start of the Central Park Zoo until the Penguins came by and took all the attention away from him. Suddenly, Dave was seen as 'ugly' and people would be repelled by him. He was transferred to zoo after zoo and each time, soon after penguins were installed as attractions, he would be sent away. Hence his long-term grudge and revenge plan. He illustrated his point by showing the penguins snow globes from each city he has been to and thereafter shunned from. Rico however gulps them down - a movie that would later help them figure out where he intends to strike next with his serum. Even though they escape from Dave's clutches (or rather, tentacles) in the lair, they are cornered by his minions in a dead-end but are saved by the North Wind (NW) . Turns out that now both the North Wind and the penguins need to stop Dave, for different reasons - for being a wanted criminal and wanting to transform all penguins into horrible-looking creatures.
However Classified, the wolf leader of the NW thinks the penguins are useless and just pretty faces. After a meeting at a North Wind base, they tranquilize the penguins and send them off to Madagascar. Fortunately for them, they wake up in the airplane's cargo hold and escape after ejecting. They land up in Shanghai next and put together a plan - a plan to foil Dave.
Private is again relegated to a distraction but their fairly elaborate plan works and during the plan's execution, Private once again feels unimportant when he is made the diversion element . Surprisingly though, the plan, set up in an aquarium, works and Dave is captured . Classified and gang are truly surprised but the slippery Dave manages to make his way out via a drain. However, before escaping he manages to take poor Private along. Both the NW and the penguins go after Dave and track him to a small island.
Skipper and Classified disagree on the best way to stop Dave. The penguins are also saddened that Private is captured. The penguins' escape plan is crude but Classified reveals a proper high-tech presentation which impresses almost everybody. Skipper admits that Classified is right and they agree to go along with the latter's plan. However, when Classified's team corner Dave, they are ambushed and captured. So are the rest of the penguins outside. Inside his base, Dave shows off what his serum can do. He straps Dave to a board and prepares to blast him. It appears that Private is disintegrated but he manages to escape, head out and rescue Classified and gang. However, while Private wants to rescue the others, NW instead want to head out and get more equipment. A dismayed Private head back to try and rescue the rest of the penguins by himself.
Meanwhile, Dave and his submarine reach New York and he releases hundreds of penguins into the public and blasts them with the serum. This includes Skipper, Kowalski, and Rico . But Private manages to get them back into the right mental state. They figure out that they can harness Private to the blaster ray and use Private's incredible cuteness to reverse the effects of the serum en masse. Then unexpectedly, Classified and gang return and help them to do this just in the nick of time. Dave is miniaturized and captured in a snow globe that is gifted to a little girl. As the film ends, we see King Julien make a surprise appearance too as a lead up to what could be the penguins' next set of adventures.