Science has yet to create a device that can measure the length of time between The Barbarienne never having heard of Penguins of Madagascar and it being the defining movie of her generation! I had zero interest in seeing it after hearing that the original cast was largely not in it, and it's somehow regarded as a "spinoff", not quite connected to the series...hell, I don't know.
Well, I guess they largely used the movie voices of the penguins rather than the TV voices, and decided to extra-special stick it to John DiMaggio, who defined the belching Rico character on the series (and who is the beloved voice of Bender from "Futurama" and Jake from "Adventure Time"). The new characters are all face actors, like John Malkovich, Peter Stormare and Benefract Cumberdink.
The only one that made me smile was Werner Herzog, playing himself making a documentary of the Penguins.
There's sadly not a lot to smile about here. When the penguins first showed up in Madagascar, they seemed as hackneyed as only a riff on a 40-year-old TV show could. The Penguins TV series actually developed the characters a bit more and made the whole thing more interesting. Here, they're back to their devil-may-care mission-based nonsense, where everything just sort of randomly works out for them.
I didn't hate it. I was bored. The story arc is so tired, you could feel like they didn't even try. The Barb liked it all right, though she didn't rank it very high, and it seems to have made no lasting impression.
With $132M budget, this film ended up being a $50M+ write-off for the studio. Call it DiMaggio's revenge.