A couple of days ago. DreamWorks Animation kicked off the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con with its very own panel. During the panel, panelists discussed upcoming features like Home and B.O.O: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations but the main stars of the panel were The Penguins of Madagascar who are returning to the big screen later this year with their very own spy-flick.
The Penguins panel kicked off with the announcement of a brand new Penguins app, called the is available for download now. With the app you can send a selfie to someone else that has the penguins of Madagascar added in. As an extra bonus, you can send the finished product to Twitter or Instagram to the film’s other characters: the crime-fighting wolf Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch) or the villainous octpous Dave (John Malkovich) using the #penguinprotection or #penguins4dave hashtags, respectively. DreamWorks will be giving away Penguins prizes twice a month to people who upload and tag their photos in this way.
After the panel’s moderator Craig Ferguson announced the Penguins app, the film’s directors Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell and voice actors Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom McGrath and John Malkovich started discussing the film’s story. The filmmakers described the film as an “epic spy thriller” that tells the origins story of the penguins we love from the Madagascar trilogy.
Malkovich, who plays the villainous octopus Dave in the film explained that his character is an octopus who feels he had his life ruined in every zoo or aquatic park where he lived because the penguins lived there and were so cute that he didn’t get any attention.
But Malkovich’s character isn’t the only character the penguins are facing in this film. Benedict Cumberbatch also joined the panel to talk about his character Classified, described by Cumberbatch as an all-action wolf.
Throughout the panel attendees were treated with over twenty minutes of footage from the film. Slash Film was kind enough to share some details about what was shown in the clips.
Clip 1: Fort Knox
The first clip that was shown was an early scene from the movie, set in the present day. It’s Private’s tenth birthday, and he and the other three penguins are on a hang glider on their way to Fort Knox. They crash land over the entrance. The penguins sneak in, using their black-and-white coloring to hide in plain sight and playing recorded banjo music as a password (“It’s Kentucky”).
They get inside the vault, which is stuffed with gleaming gold bars… and pass right through it so they can make their way to a break room with a vending machine full of cheese puffs. Skipper gives Private a gold coin so he can buy a bag, but while trying to retrieve the snacks Private somehow gets sucked into the machine.
The other penguins see that he’s mixed in with cheese puff bags and that it’d cost $3.50 to buy him back. While they’re trying to decide what to do, octopus tentacles start coming out of the machine and suck the other penguins in there with Private.
Clip 2: Scientist
Inside a large room, the penguins look up to see a scientist with red hair, a white lab coat, and long, thin limbs walking across the ceiling. He drops down to the floor right in front of the penguins, and his limbs are all tangled up.
The penguins demand to know who he is, and the scientist presents a TIME magazine with himself on the cover. He’s known to the public as Dr. Octavius Brine, “renowned geneticist, cheese enthusiast, and frequent contributor to NPR pledge drives.” But then he discards his disguise and exposes himself as a bright purple octopus, dramatically revealing his true identity: “I AM DAVE!”
Unfortunately for Dave, the penguins still have no idea who he is. Awkwardness ensues, and in the uncomfortable silence we hear cricket chirps. That is, until the cricket apologizes, stands up, and walks out of the frame. The penguins pretend to remember Dave, even though it’s clear they don’t.
Clip 3: Venice
We see the four penguins on a rooftop in Venice. “All right boys, it’s just like Cuba,” Skipper says. They jump into a gondola with a guitar-playing gondolier. Meanwhile, three of Dave’s colorful octopus henchmen have hijacked a gondola of their own. A chase ensues through the canals of Venice.
Penguins and octopuses battle with oars, with Skipper getting blinded at one point by octopus ink. The battle even carries over onto dry land, with the penguins using the oars as stilts. Eventually their boat winds up on top of a Vespa, speeds up a watermelon cart onto a roof, and flies into the air.
Everyone crash lands and the penguins find themselves cornered in an alleyway. Things look bad for them until an owl, a seal, and a bear materialize seemingly out of nowhere. They use high-tech gadgets to subdue the octopuses and rescue the penguins. It turns out they’ve been sent by North Wind.
Clip 4: North Wind
Classified is leading a meeting at North Wind headquarters, with his team (the owl, seal, and bear) and the four penguins all in attendance. He explains that Brine has a doomsday weapon called the Medusa serum. As he tried to figure out a plan, one of the penguins smugly reveals that he’s already stolen the vial of Medusa serum.
Just at that moment, though, Dave’s face shows up on the big teleconferencing screen. After some technical snafus, Dave finally gets the teleconferencing equipment to work correctly so he can deliver his message. He starts gloating and eventually reveals that he has a whole vat of the serum, to Classified’s horror.
Dave dramatically declares that he must go “do some shopping for revenge,” but then has trouble figuring out how to close the connection.
DreamWorks released this clip online after the panel, you can watch it below!
Clip 5: The First Six Minutes
The last shown clip wasn’t really a clip at all, but a rough cut of the first six minutes of the film. The movie opens on a snowy landscape with the caption “Some Years Ago,” and Werner Herzog launches into a March of the Penguins-style narrative introduction about how even Antarctica has life — “joyous, frolicking, waddling, cute, cuddly life.”
We see penguins walking in a straight line, until one falls and the others topple like dominoes. Eventually the camera makes its way to Skipper, Kowalski, and Rico. They’re just little baby penguins at this point, but they still have the same bold personalities. They try to fly to the front of the line, but realize that their wings are no good for soaring. Instead, they invent the “high one” and begin to slap their fins together.
The trio notice an egg rolling downhill, but no other penguins seem willing to do anything about it. An adult penguin shrugs that their species is “nothing but cute and cuddly. Why do you think there are always documentary crews filming us?” The camera zooms out to reveal two documentary crew members shooting the whole thing.
Skipper and his friends follow the egg and watches as it rolls off a clip and onto an abandoned ship. They watch in horror as seals come out of the water to try and eat the egg. The documentary team watches for a bit, and then the director instructs one of the crew members to shove them off the cliff.
So Skipper, Kowalski, and Rico end up on the ship too, surrounded by seals. They climb on a harpoon launcher and when the seal accidentally pulls the trigger, the penguins soar through the air to relative safety on a nearby ice floe. Meanwhile, the ship explodes behind them.
The penguins cheer, “We are really awesome at this!” and start giving each other so-called “high ones.” Eventually one of them slaps the egg, which cracks open to reveal the little baby bird who will become Private.
The newborn asks, “Hello, are you my family?” After some wordless conferring, Kowalski takes it upon himself to answer the question: “You don’t have a family and we are all going to die.” But Skipper chastises Kowalski and reassures Private that they are a family. The penguins then decide to set out in search of “adventure and glory like no penguin has ever seen before.”
”Discover the secrets of the most entertaining and mysterious birds in the global espionage game: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private now must join forces with the chic spy organization, the North Wind, led by Agent Classified (we could tell you his name, but then… you know), voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch to stop the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine, voiced by John Malkovich, from taking over the world.”
Penguins of Madagascar opens on November 26 , 2014.