Tom: Oooh. Maybe a leopard seal, because leopard seals are the enemies of penguins.
Alex: I’d make the leopard seals henchmen, like really tough henchmen-slash-bodyguards.
And what would you make the main villain?
Alex: Maybe, like, a big seahorse?
How did this movie compare to other animated movies you saw this year, like Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Lego Movie?
Alex: I think there were a lot of great movies this year and it’s hard to compare them.
Tom: I think Big Hero 6 is still the best. It’s nice, and it’s sweet, and it’s very sad and funny. And then this movie—I think it’s a tough call, but this was probably better than the other animated movies this year. And it was better than Madagascar 3.
Alex: It was much better than I expected from the commercials.
If you were in charge of coming up with a story idea for a sequel, what would it be?
Tom: The North Wind should help again, but this time there should be a much deadlier plot. The Medusa serum was a little gross, but …
Not that scary?
Did it remind you of the ray that turned the minions into monsters in Despicable Me 2?
Tom: Not really. The monsters in Despicable Me 2 were, like, invulnerable. They could swallow bombs and not blow up. In this movie, the ray just made the penguins look weird.
Alex: I agree. The Medusa serum was a bad idea. They needed to have something more creative. It didn’t really turn the penguins crazy—they still wanted to hug everyone—it just made them ugly. If it’d turned them into actual monsters that were bloodthirsty, that’d be okay. But instead it’s like ewww, you’re ugly. Get over it.
What do you think should happen in a sequel, Alex?
Alex: They should go back in time. And they should have new little baby penguins. And they’d have to survive the kinds of things that used to be around.
You mean back in prehistoric times?
Alex: Yeah. And the North Wind would go with them. And I think Classified should be older, and almost ready for retirement.
So, older than me?
Tom: I don’t know. It’s hard to be that old.
Nice. I kinda walked into that one. Any final thoughts on the movie?
Tom: It was a very good movie for people who like action and comedy. If you liked Madagascar, you’ll like this.
Alex: I thought it was really funny, and there were a lot of good characters. And if you watch Sherlock, it has [stage whisper] Benedict Cumberbatch in it.
So, in sum: Benedict Cumberbatch is terrific—but you already knew that—and judging penguins solely on their appearance is not cool, even if they’ve been mutated by an octopus villain’s ray machine. More to the point, if you’re looking to kill a few family-time hours over the holiday weekend, you could do worse than Penguins of Madagascar, especially if you’ve already seen Big Hero 6.