Birds of a feather somersault, karate kick and bicker together in Eric Darnell and Simon J Smith’s spin-off from the Madagascar films.
Frenetic and fast-paced, Penguins Of Madagascar initially sketches the back story of the four plucky Antarctic critters with a beak for adventure through the lens of a documentary film crew, who are keen to observe the flightless birds in their treacherous natural habitat.
The script soon fast-forwards to the conclusion of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and literally blasts the penguins into an outlandish spy caper replete with a menagerie of animal co-stars.
The colour-saturated animation is a feast for the eyes and there are a few neat visual gags such as the penguins’ novel approach to navigating a zebra crossing undetected.
Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath) leads a crack squad comprising Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights) on a daring mission to break into Fort Knox in search of treasure: a luminous orange snack called Cheezy Dibbles.
From the offset, goofball Private is identified as the black penguin of the operation.
The hunt for Cheezy Dibbles leads the penguins into the clutches of nefarious octopus Dr Octavius Brine (John Malkovich), who intends to take over the world using his mutation serum.
Thankfully, Skipper and co escape and a subsequent chase with hench-octopi along the canals of Venice leads the penguins into the company of a grey wolf called Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch).
It is on at the Hollywood Plaza, Scarborough, from Friday December 5 to Thursday December 11