When it comes to comedy sequels, they rarely, if ever, surpass the original. One simply cannot reinvent the wheel, one can merely add a few new jokes and some colorful characters to it. Truer words have never been spoken when it comes to Zoolander No. 2, a sequel that took 15 years to make. Paramount Pictures and writer/director/producer and star Ben Stiller seriously couldn’t come up with a better followup to the adventures of a dimwitted male model which was a very clever satire on the fashion world. 15 years and they came up with a slightly amusing yet contrived and forced spy adventure with plenty of broad humor and corny zingers. Sure, it works (here and there) but the only saving graces are the interactions between some of the characters, most notably scenes with Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig, two seasoned comedians and former SNL cast mates. The moments between Stiller and Owen Wilson are okay but it just feels like we’ve gone down this runway before.
At one point in time, animated films catered to children almost exclusively. Wholesome messages and brilliant art propelled these films to great heights. Thankfully, for nearly two decades now, the animated film has evolved to include parents into the proceedings. The new Dreamworks spin-off adventure Penguins of Madagascar is a prime example of a cartoon made for both kids and adults and the results are actually really fun. I had a chance to speak with the directors of the film (Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith). Here’s how it went:
The Madagascar film series is one of the highest grossing animated film franchises of all time. Since 2005, three feature length films, a spinoff series and tons of merchandise have been produced to capitalize on the animated animals and their various adventures. A fourth film, Penguins of Madagascar is now out and it focuses on the exploits of the four lovable penguins who appeared in supporting roles throughout the franchise. With a mission to simply make more money, DreamWorks Animation is continuing its successful crusade but sadly, Penguins is overstuffed with stimulation which will delight young ones but will fall somewhat flat with parents.