I have to admit I was always kind of curious about the Madagascar movies, but never quite interested enough to check them out. For some reason, though, the Penguins of Madagascar spin-off that is now coming out in theaters (November 26) is really making me want to buy some popcorn and put my family's bottoms in some theater seats! I mean, some of the characters are voiced by the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich. What could go wrong? I did some recon first, and read a Boston Globe review pointing out that the penguins have been a little hard to keep track of. Apparently some of that will be rectified in the movie's opening, which they flatteringly describe: "The film’s cleverest element by far is its prologue, which flashes back to these unlikely adventurers’ pint-size origins down in Antarctica, complete with Werner Herzog (!) popping up as a ’toon documentarian." SO... I decided to make myself a little penguin dossier and get to know these crazy characters before I delve in. Okay, by recon I also meant going to Wikipedia. Regardless, here they are: + Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath) - This guy is the penguin leader. Skipper is the penguin with a plan who gets them in line and hands out the orders. "Calculating and nearly unflappable, Skipper's raving paranoia and tendency to view even the most ordinary activities as a military operation, combined with his experience in covert ops, has driven him to prepare for nearly any situation, no matter how bizarre or unlikely." Apparently he's also afraid of needles. Every leader needs a flaw. + Rico (voiced by John DiMaggio) - Rico is the penguin who specializes in weapons and explosives. Flippers, explosives, what could go wrong? He sometimes speaks normally, but mainly communicates through grunts and squeals. "Slightly unhinged, Rico swallows useful tools, such as dynamite, and regurgitates them when needed, to the point of regularly regurgitating objects that appear to be too large for him to have swallowed in the first place. He has been referred to as a psychopath in several episodes. He is shown in some episodes to be in a relationship with a beautiful, female doll called Mrs. Perky." I love this guy already. + Kowalski (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - Kowalski is the strategist and gadgeteer of the crew. "Kowalski is a brilliant inventor, but he cannot read (although he does carry around a clipboard upon which he records drawings of their plans). He also tends to over-analyze situations and has created many amazing devices which have put the team in danger." Like Skipper, this penguin also has a weakness - he is afraid of going to the dentist. + Private (voiced by James Patrick Stuart) - Private is the younger, less experienced and more emotionally sensitive rookie of the penguins. However, he is also the most down to earth (doesn't seem that hard, considering the others). "Private tends to offer simpler, more commonsense solutions in response to Skipper and Kowalski's complex strategies (although he also shows an unusual interest in unicorns on occasion)." Fun fact: "Private speaks with a middle-class British accent (as opposed to American voices for Skipper and Kowalski), much in the spirit of English-soldier characters in popular World War II films." I didn't miss any penguins, did I? Who is your favorite?
'Penguins of Madagascar': Meet the Penguins!