A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that if your kids are already fans of these scheming penguins and the rest of the Madagascar gang, they're sure to want to tune in to see what this latest adventure brings. Overall the special is age-appropriate for kids, although there's some cartoon violence (laser guns damage buildings, animals slap each other) and short-lived peril surrounding a favorite character's well-being. And many surprises pop out on screen, which might make littler kids a little jumpy. Aside from that, though, the show's wacky characters are a real crowd pleaser, and there's enough humor targeted toward adults that parents will enjoy it, too.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Central Park Zoo's clever resident penguins face their greatest challenge yet when their nemesis, Dr. Blowhole (voiced by Neil Patrick Harris), plots to hijack Skipper's (Tom McGrath) memory to locate his faithful friends and turn them against their leader. Deserted on an island without a clue to his identity, Skipper turns to his holographic spirit guide, Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), to find his way home, arriving just in time to thwart Blowhole's plans against his friends. But untimely interference from the lemur king, Julien (Danny Jacobs), gives Blowhole a new weapon of destruction, and the zoo crew must pull together to save themselves from the power-hungry porpoise.
Is it any good?
Part comedy, part spy thriller, and now part musical, this addition to the crafty penguins' resume ramps up the wackiness in crowd-pleasing style. There are still plenty of hilarious spoofs on spy dramas and secret agents, but this special takes unpredictability to a whole new level by throwing in show-stopping ballads and group song-and-dance numbers as well.
This is whole-family entertainment at its best. The well-rounded characterizations, sharp dialogue, and seamless union of physical gags and adult humor make it fun for both parents and kids. If you plan to tune in with your youngest tots, though, you may want to prep them for a number of startling appearances by a disembodied head from Blowhole's Segway, which can be frightening if you're not expecting it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teamwork. Which characters in this show work as part of a team? What's their goal? How do they work together to achieve it? What qualities are important in a team leader?
Kids: What does the saying, "What goes around comes around" mean? Do you think that people who are mean to others eventually fall victim to meanness themselves? Have you ever seen it happen? What lessons can be found in this movie?
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