Penguins of Madagascar

Director: Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith
Year Released: 2014
Rating: 1.0

The sneaky Penguins (Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and dumb-dumb Private) from the Madagascar series are (unfortunately) given their own movie in which they have to stop a mad octopus (voiced by John Malkovich, of all people) from turning cute creatures into freaks with a morphing ray. The Penguins were neat diversions in Madagascar - their effectiveness was based on their ability to distract from the main, stupid storyline - and here they're given their own stupid storyline to stumble and bumble their way through, and collectively they aren't interesting enough characters to carry a picture of their own (as with Big Hero 6, this one is strictly for the pre-teen crowd, and the sporadic pandering to the adult audience doesn't produce chuckles). The Dreamworks animators still have their creations make the same exaggerated facial expressions (usually with one raised eyebrow and a crooked grin) and Benedict Cumberbatch still cannot properly pronounce "penguins" (he says "peng-wings").