I was frankly surprised to see this movie getting pretty good reviews; maybe that’s because I’d never seen the TV show, which I now understand is some kind of comedy genius or something. Regardless, I enjoyed this movie. Personally, I think the penguins work as main characters; this whole “they only work in small doses” thing is just completely untrue. Anyway, this film finds our erstwhile penguins competing with a special tactical unit led by Benedict Cumberbatch’s arctic wolf and facing up against John Malkovich (in a vocal tour de force) as a bitter octopus with a penguin vendetta. Yes, it’s silly. It’s also a lot of fun. Tom McGrath remains an absolute force of nature as Skipper; his vocal work is just purely hilarious. Christopher Knights is also very funny as Private, the loser of the group. And you’ve got to love any kid’s movie that opens with a Werner Herzog joke. Anyway, I found this film very enjoyable. There’s a lot of humor that doesn’t land, but when it does land, boy, is it fantastic. I roared very loudly with laughter numerous times (“Ah, Tokyo’s famous ‘Little Dublin’ district!”) and it was basically consistently enjoyable. It’s not a genuinely great film or anything, but it’s definitely better than a lot of animated movies. Bring on more penguins! Conditionally recommended. Good movie. 3 stars.
tl;dr – entertaining, occasionally a little too manic and silly, but hilariously funny at times, this is far better than most films of its ilk. 3 stars.