NYCC: Dreamworks panel featuring Home and Penguins


The last true movie related panel of NYCC is now over. The movie stuff wrapped up with Dreamworks Animation presenting a panel for both Home and Penguins of Madagascar for our viewing pleasure. The panel consisted of a bunch of clips and then a commentary from the director of Home, Tim Johnson, and the co-directors of Penguins, Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith. 

In all honesty the panel was half empty and mostly crammed with kids. I’m not even sure why these guys were at NYCC, but they put on a pretty good show for the audience and we actually saw more content than I’ve seen at any other panel. So good job on them even if it wasn’t really what the general audience here was clamoring for. The kids really enjoyed it though.

We kicked things off with the previously released trailer for Home. If you haven’t seen it you should check it out. It looks cute and gives off some Lilo and Stitch vibes, but man does it feel generic. This is kind of odd since Johnson kept insisting that the goal was to create an alien invasion film we haven’t seen before. The humor doesn’t quite seem to hit in this trailer despite the fact that Jim Parson’s is one of the voices working opposite Rihanna as the little girl. 

Unfortunately, the clip we saw didn’t really do much to inspire me to greater confidence in the film. In the movie the adorable aliens (clearly trying to be the minions from Despicable Me) can control gravity. In the scene we saw alien Oh (Parsons) and human Tip (Rihanna) manage to start a floating Eiffel Tower to rotate, wreaking havoc. The anit-gravity stuff was actually pretty cool, but once again everything felt a little generic. The humor was flat even when it was simply geared towards the kids. As the tower slowly rotated around causing aliens and Tip to tumble down it it definitely seemed cool, but there going to have to do a lot more to get some heart into.

Penguins on the other hand had plenty of heart. Darnell explained to the audience that this Penguins film takes place in the movie universe and not the one on the television. Evidently those are two different universes in case anyone cared. This announcement did not quite have the same impact as when it was re-confirmed that Daredevil was part of the entire Marvel cinematic universe yesterday. They pretty much said they wanted to have fun with it and from the clips we saw that looks like what they’ve done. 

First we got a look at the Penguins breaking into For Knox for Privates birthday, but not to steal gold. Instead they’re after some snacks. The jokes came pretty quick and when the snack machine started sucking them into it via octopus arms it was pretty damn funny. They than chatted a bit about the humor of the film and then jumped into another clip that showed off the new villain, an octopus disguised as a human who wants revenge on all penguins. This scene was particularly funny as the penguins didn’t recognize him invoking his humorous rage.

The third scene introduced an elite spy team who are actually good at their jobs instead of the bumbling awesome that are the penguins. The leader, Covert (Benedict Cumberbatch) seems interesting though we didn’t get much from him. The scene showed off the conflict that will occur between the ridiculous penguins and the straight laced team. Smith discussed trying to put the penguins into what is basically an old Bond film and you definitely got the feeling there, though I’m not sure how well it will work overall.

Finally, after some question and answer, we got to watch the first six minutes of the film that show off how the penguins met each other. Aside from being adorable this might have been the funniest part as the jokes came quick and easy. If you’re a fan of the penguins and their brand of humor than this movie is going to work for you. From what I saw I’ll like it more than the Madagascar  films themselves. It looks like the penguins are going to be able to carry their own film. It’s not clear if Home is going to be able to be its own film. 

Matthew Razak
Matthew Razak is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Flixist. He has worked as a critic for more than a decade, reviewing and talking about movies, TV shows, and videogames. He will talk your ear off about James Bond movies, Doctor Who, Zelda, and Star Trek.