Dave is a major antagonist in the Madagascar franchise, serving as the main antagonist of Penguins of Madagascar: The Movie.
Prior to the events of the film, Dave mentions that he was one of the star attractions of the Central Park Zoo's aquarium, until Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private gained more popularity. He is then shipped to another zoo and this would repeat multiple times with other penguins. Bitter for his own loss, he became a mad scientist bent on destroying the penguins' reputation.
Dave first captures the team when they are attempting to get a snack for Private and tells them his backstory as well as his plans. Rico eats all his snow globes and, they escape capture with a paper clip as well as a sample of the Medusa Serum. Dave's forces give chase, but they are thwarted by the North Wind.
In his next attempt, Dave sieges Shanghai, kidnapping all penguins exhibited there as well as Private. The North Wind task force and the remaining three penguins give chase, ultimately leading to Dave's island hideout. The others attempt a rescue, but are all captured by Dave, who intends on using Private as a test subject for the serum. Private is seemingly killed in the blast while other penguins were mutated and the North Wind were left for dead, but he returns, having saved himself just before the laser fired. Private frees the North Wind and heads off for his friends.
Dave orders the Medusa Serum to be fired upon all penguins, mutating them into hideous monsters. The exterminators subsequently arrive with containment vehicles and capture all the mutated penguins, while Private retrieves his friends and restores their sanity. They hijack Dave's laser and attempt to fire it, though it runs out of power when he arrives. The penguins then began fighting off Dave and his allies, and during the fight Kowalski is thrown into one of the vehicles. Private also fights back with his mutated arm, preventing Dave from damaging the laser's interior structure. Rico brings back batteries and Skipper installs them just as Dave throws them both in an exterminator vehicle. However, Skipper prevails, as he fired a Cheesy Dibble at the remote moments earlier. The laser activates with Dave still attached to its projector, restoring all penguins, as well as shrinking Dave and injecting him into a snow globe. The penguins give the item to a little girl, who violently shakes it and leaves the scene soon after with it, with Dave still at her mercy.
Dave is a maniacal octopus bent on his revenge, often proceeding solely for his goal of destruction and justifying it as retribution of consequences he unintentionally suffered from.
Dave like all octopi, has the ability to disguise himself by changing his skin color and molding his bone-less body into different shapes. He was able to squeeze himself into a vending machine in order to capture Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private. He usually disguises himself as a human geneticist that goes by the name Octavius Brine. Unlike his octopus henchmen, Dave conveniently has a freakish human-like face and mouth which lets him easily pass as a human after doing some minor disguise alterations. Similarity to the tv-show-exclusive villain Dr. Blowhole,he is extremely intelligent. He was also able to hack into North Wind's computer systems.
Being a scientist, Dave is also an inventor, having created the following items:
- Medusa Serum - A green liquid that mutates organisms into their hideous selves.
- Laser - An energy weapon that can be infused with a substance, allowing its payload to be administered with terrifying ease.