A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this holiday special is a merry addition to the popular animated series The Penguins of Madagascar, and most of its content is worry-free for kids. There’s some mild language (“shut it,” “stupid,” and “oh, sugarplums”) that you might not want your kids repeating, and the characters’ problem-solving tactics are questionable at best (stealing a tree because it’s the biggest, for instance), but viewed in the intended humorous light, the special is mostly harmless for older kids. Very young kids might be upset at scenes that show a Santa figure tied up and slapped or hit by a truck, so use your judgment if this kind of material bothers your kids.
What's the story?
The scheming penguins that fans first met in Madagascar are geared up for the holidays in THE ALL NIGHTER BEFORE CHRISTMAS. With the Central Park Zoo closed for the holiday, Skipper (voiced by Tom McGrath) and his pals are preparing to host their annual Kidsmas celebration for the zoo families/ But the troublesome lemur “king” Julian (Danny Jacobs) complicates things by reassigning the animals’ responsibilities at the last minute. Skipper sets out to locate Santa and learn his secrets to ensure the celebration’s success, but, as usual, things don’t go entirely as planned.
Is it any good?
These crafty characters and their Mission: Impossible-style escapades are surefire fun for kids, and this merry holiday special is no exception. The story also incorporates feel-good messages about the true spirit of Christmas and the joy that’s found in being with friends and in bringing joy to others.
As is typical with this crew, there's some language (“stupid,” “lame,” “shut it,” and “oh, sugarplums,” for instance) that parents probably won’t want kids using, and it’s a good idea to make sure that kids can identify the humor in the totally unrealistic content. What violence exists is there for comedy, but very young kids might not like to see a Santa character tied up and slapped or hit by a truck.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about helping others. How does it make you feel to do something nice for someone else? Why is it important to look beyond our own needs? What small changes can you make that would help others on a daily basis?
Do you think this special enhances the Penguins series? What messages did it try to convey? Did it succeed? Why or why not?
How are the real-life versions of the animals in this show different from what’s portrayed in the movie? How do animators change their features for humorous effect? Where can you go to see animals like these?
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