Animation movies carry lovable characters in abundance. That is no surprise, for the primary target audience is of course the younger ones. And when the restrictions of the real world and its physics are removed, it is the creator’s imagination and the artist’s picturisation that come into play. Then whether it is a talking mammal, a winking vehicle, a singing tree, there is nothing much to stop you. Make them as cute as you want to. Putting them into a cohesive storyline and get the audience to fall in love with them… that still is a task to be fulfilled, but the animation studios have been doing this with aplomb for quite a while now. And it is not only about the central characters of the film. Animation movies make you fall in love with the side characters more than any non-animated movie could. Be it Timon and Pumbaa in The Lion King, Dory in Finding Nemo, Mater in Cars or Donkey in Shrek, they embark on an adventure with the central character and delight you with their quirks and styles, free from having to carry with them the burdens of the task ahead.
Many of these non-central characters have gone on beyond the movie to feature largely in TV spin-off series, but it is only now that full-length feature films on them are being explored in a more serious manner. We had Puss in Boots release in 2011, featuring the Puss from the Shrek series that explored the events before Puss met up with Shrek. The origins of the lovable and hilarious minions would be explained next year in a spin-off of Despicable Me series in the movie titled Minions. Dory is also set to have her own movie now, called Finding Dory, with a 2015 release planned by Pixar. And in all this, another bunch of characters, this time from DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar movie series are also getting a movie of their own… aha, the penguins! Aye, aye! Titled The Penguins of Madagascar, a March 2015 release is planned, and we are now hearing of big names stepping in the penguins’ feet.
He wouldn’t be voicing the penguins, but whichever character he lends his voice to, the presence of Benedict Cumberbatch should liven things up. In The Penguins of Madagascar, Cumberbatch is set to play a high-ranking animal CIA agent (as reported by The Wrap)… and his interaction with the snappy penguins should be a wonderful encounter to witness. The Brit actor is a hot property these days, featuring as the antagonist in Star Trek Into Darkness this year where his booming loud and clear voice stole the show, and now set to play the role of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate, where he has put on a different persona itself, as the trailer highlights. And not to forget the manner in which he has altered his speech style, the enunciation of words starkly different from his role as either Sherlock in the BBC TV series or his character from Star Trek Into Darkness. That is the kind of talent that really brings life to the characters in an animated movie, and while I usually love the presence of a Steve Carell or a Jim Carrey in an animated flick for their eccentricities are uniquely their own, Cumberbatch seems another perfect actor to provide a peculiarity to an animated character that would make him distinct and memorable. Cumberbatch’s voice is quite in demand we see, and he would be ‘heard’ next in the remaining chapters of the The Hobbit movie series, as Smaug the dragon.
Joining Cumberbatch is John Malkovich, another fine actor with a fine voice suited well for an animated flick. Malkovich would be voicing the main villain of the film, whom Cumberbatch’s character is chasing. Bet the penguins are going to get entangled and mess a few things up! There is no plot synopsis out yet for the movie as the movie’s script is currently being worked on, though Simon Smith has been attached for directing duties whose only full-length feature film credit is the rather disappointing Bee Movie. Ahh, but if you can get the penguins to be themselves, smart, sassy, orderly, and chirpy, then nothing could go wrong with the movie, can it? Ain’t sure on which of the voice actors from the Madagascar series would be returning, but you expect that the original group would rejoin (though some had opted out of the TV series aired on Nickledon that went by the same name). At least, Tom McGrath would surely reprise the role of the leader and the bravest captain at least in the penguin world, Skipper. Then you have Kowalski, Private and Rico, that complete the ‘cute and cuddly’ penguin group. This movie has the potential to be a real entertainer, and hopefully DreamWorks will do justice to the ‘screen presence’ the penguins enjoy. If they don’t, well, the penguins would be coming after them! Right, boys? Here’s remembering some of the best moments provided by the lovable bunch of penguins!
When they are trying to dig their way out of the zoo [Madagascar]
Skipper the Penguin: You, quadruped. Sprechen Sie Englisch?
Marty the Zebra: I sprechen.
Skipper the Penguin: What continent is this?
Marty the Zebra: Manhattan.
Skipper the Penguin: Hoover Dam! We’re still in New York! Abort! Dive! Dive! Dive!
Events before the penguins take over the ship going to Kenya [Madagascar]
Skipper the Penguin: [Looking at the shipping label on their crate] Kowalski. What does it say?
Kowalski the Penguin: I can’t make it out, Skipper – it’s an older code.
Skipper the Penguin: Not good enough.
[Looking over at Mason the Chimpanzee]
Skipper the Penguin: You! Higher mammal. Can you read?
Mason the Chimpanzee: No, but Phil can. Phil?
[Phil the Chimpanzee begins motioning with his hands, which Maason interprets]
Mason the Chimpanzee: Ship to… Kenya Wildlife Preserve… Africa.
Skipper the Penguin: Africa! That ain’t gonna fly! Rico!
[Rico begins coughing and spits up a paper clip, with which he picks the lock on the crate. The penguins then escape and take over the ship]
When negotiating with the monkeys [Madagascar 2]
Mason the Chimpanzee: The plane will not be finished until the suits meet our demands. Now, about maternity leave.
Skipper the Penguin: Maternity leave?
[looks under table]
Skipper the Penguin: You’re all male!
Skipper’s message to passengers aboard the plane that was to fly to New York [Madagascar 2]
[on the microphone]
Skipper the Penguin: This is your captain speaking. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we will be landing immediately.
Skipper the Penguin: The bad news is, we’re crash landing.
[Plane goes on a dive]
Skipper the Penguin: When it comes to air travel, we know that you have no choice whatsoever, but thanks again for choosing Air Penguin.