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Category:    Home > Reviews > Computer Animation > Comedy > Animals > Madagascar (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation Blu-ray)

Madagascar (Paramount/DreamWorks Animation Blu-ray)

 

Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: C     Film: C

 

 

Dreamworks Madagascar is from the same minds that brought the world of Shrek and A Shark Tale to life; oddly enough the quality of the film falling somewhere between the genius of Shrek and the debacle of Shark Tale. 

 

The film centers on a few select animals at New York’s Central Park Zoo.  When a zebra named Marty (Chris Rock) turns ten years old, he realizes that he has outgrown and tired of his mundane, pampered life at the zoo. Marty decides that he has to get back to his wild and natural roots; but first he has to escape the zoo.  After Marty breaks out his friends, an OCD giraffe named Melman (David Schwimmer), a hippo named Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), and a lion named Alex (Ben Stiller), set out to save their delusional friend from his wildlife aspirations.  After causing a night of havoc at Grand Central Station the animals are shipped off to Africa, to be assimilated back into the wild; whether they like it or not.  On the way back to Africa a crew of sly and odd penguins take control of the ship, unwittingly knocking their fellow animal friends’ crates overboard.  As the animals wash up on shore on the island of Madagascar they are greeted by a slue of cute, cuddly, and CRAZY lemurs, headed by head lemur King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen).  The lemurs see the new animals’ arrival as a chance at having some protection from the island’s wild cats that have been terrorizing them for years.  True chaos arises when under the stress of hunger Alex begins to revert back to his primal urges for meat and his friends start to look like a mighty fine buffet.

 

It has taken a few viewings over the years for this reviewer to even slightly enjoy this film.  It seems to lack the heart and soul that the Shrek films have always embodied, but is far from the mismatches and poor choices that Shark Tale made.  The characters are fun and nicely designed, but the voice choices could have been better and feel bland much of the time.  The unique style of the film is nice to see, even if it doesn’t hold up to many other CGI films that are being distributed today.

 

The technical features of Madagascar on Blu-ray are pretty nice, but nothing to go full out wild over.  The detailed picture is presented in a 1080p High Definition that has wonderful colors, solid blacks, and great depth that all lend to a rich image that shows every little detail to down to the hair on the lions mane.  The sound is not as great as the image but in its Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack it is adequate enough to boost Chris Rock’s annoying rants or the lemurs’ shouts of “I like to move it, move it” with a solid clarity, but little use of ambience or light noise.

 

The extras include The Penguins in a Christmas Caper [HD], Mad Mishaps [HD], “I like to move it, move it” music video, Behind the Crates, Penguin Chat [HD], Learn to Draw, and an exclusive Blu-ray Mad Trivia Pop-up feature.  The features aren’t bad, especially if you like the film; but to this reviewer the penguins highlight the best part of the film…the penguins.

 

The penguins steal the film from beginning to end and the audience in many ways waits for them (or the lemurs) to return to the screen so the film can get lively again.  Madagascar is a fun enough film, but comparatively to other CGI films of today it is nothing fantastic.  For a film that should have been a ROAR it is barely a meow…

 

 

-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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