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November 28th, 2014

Movie Review - Penguins of Madagascar

Penguins of Madagascar

Starring: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, Conrad Vernon, John Malkovich, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong, Anne Mahendru, Peter Stormare, Andy Richter, Danny Jacobs, and more.

Directed by: Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith Screenplay by: John Aboud, Michael Colton, and Brandon Sawyer Based on Characters Created by: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath Original Music by: Lorne Balfe

Premise: Leaving the rest of the animals at the circus to go celebrate Private's birthday, the penguins's plans get interrupted when they're kidnapped by an unknown enemy. This turns out to be Dave, who has a problem with all penguins - Skipper and the others but the first of many. However, the four escape, taking with them the mutagen Dave threatened them with. They're handling their escape just fine until the arrival of the North Wind - a self proclaimed animal protection organization.  And they do not believe our four operatives anything but innocent, vacuous penguins. Will the two groups be able to acknowledge each other and their unique skills before Dave enacts his nefarious plans on penguin kind? (Rated PG)


1) Voice Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, and Conrad Vernon are just too fun as the four intrepid, and highly chaotic penguins. John Malkovich gave just the right amount of crazy to poor unloved Dave. Benedict Cumberbatch was fun as the much flustered Agent Classified.

2) Artwork/Animation - Total Thumbs Up: Dreamworks continues to prove they have what it takes to make animated films. Crisp colors, super attention to detail, and some awesome texture generation were used throughout the movie. Cheezy Dibbles are a major part of the film and they look crunchy, their cheese powder going everywhere, in effect totally convincing the audience they are the messy, noisy snacks they are.

Lots of cool vehicles and HUD screens. The North Wind has all the cool gadgets you'd expect from a top secret world organization. The penguins work the opposite direction, all their instruments made from what's around them - a pivotal part of their continued survival. (And a whole lot of luck!)

The entirety of the gondola chase scene in Venice shows it all. What an inventive and wild ride!

3) Plot/Story - Total Thumbs Up: The Penguins have always been my favorite part of the Madagascar movies. I fell even more in love with them in their Nickelodeon TV series The Penguins of Madagascar. So I was very pumped when the previews came out for this film.

The story actually picks up at the end of the last Madagascar film, after we go through a hilarious flashback of how the four intrepid penguins met and what set them on the path as international daring doers. There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek moments, like the dramatic dialogue of the documentary men over the young penguins's plight, then actually shoving them into it.

Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private are all about saving the world, going on missions, and having fun doing it, so the adventure takes on the look and feel of a James Bond film while also keeping some of the problems being faced by the foursome closer to home.

A lot of themes are covered - family, finding ones place, trusting in yourself and those around you, not dismissing others just because they do not fit your mold of how they should be. If you've watched the TV series, the plot involving Private will seem a little heavy handed, but otherwise should flow flawlessly by.

The film is full of cute moments, jokes, slick maneuvers, and as always lots of penguin fun.

4) Music - Total Thumbs Up: Lorne Balfe did a fantastic job on the music score. Fast paced tunes with just the right tone for awesome spy daring do!

Conclusion: "Penguins of Madagascar" is a fun ride with plenty of fun for adults and kids alike. A little extra fun during the credits, but nothing more at the end - well worth staying for that middle bit though. Great penguin fun!

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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