Kowalski: status report. The Madagascar franchise ran aground a long time before the third limped out (it was something to do with a circus, right?) but the one thing keeping it afloat was not that annoying meerkat but those adorable Antarctic would-be antagonists. After a hit TV spin off they get their own full-blown cinema outing. And in 3D no less.
kipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon), and Private (Christopher Knights) have come up against a new nemesis: Dave (Malkovich) the octopus was the star attraction of his zoo until the cute foursome showed up and is now driven mad with revenge - with the help of his squid henchmen he plans to zap all penguins with an ugly ray. But help arrives in the shape of the North Wind, a covert spy team headed up by Cumberbatch’s wolf.

t was increasingly obvious that the Madagascar writing and directing team of Eric Darnell and Simon Smith were having more fun with the penguins than any other character and they set out to make the big screen outing count. This hits the ground running (a real funny joke involving Werner Herzog and an Antarctic documentary crew) and doesn’t let up. Not for a moment. It’s gag after action sequence after gag.
ut nothing can keep up that kind of pace without flagging. But it’s not the movie that flags – that keeps things chugging to the end - it’s the audience’s ability to stay on board with the crazy antics. The action and the jokes and the dialogue are so relentless the movie plateaus, numbs out, and the ninety-two minutes feel longer than they should. Eventually, all that registers is Cumberbatch’s pronunciations of penguin (Pengwing? Pengling?) and if Dave’s human disguise is supposed to look like Rainn Wilson. The 3D isn’t worth forking out for either. There should be enough here to warrant another movie of daring escapades fill with coincidences and convenience, however.
ut wait. What’s this? Madagascar 4 has been given the green light and should be here for 2018. Have the cuddly but deadly penguins been mere foil for kick-starting a dying franchise? Say it ain’t so, Joe. Say it ain’t so.