Cover Art and Menus: 9/10
So while taken each on their own, the covers for Madagascar 2 and the Penguins of Madagascar are good, they cleverly go together, as you can see from the image above. I like that a lot. You basically get all of the main characters on the front of the box, and it really is pretty fun.
The menu features the main characters shaking their booty to the infamous “Move It, Move It” song done by Reel 2 Real. It is better than a static menu, but beware, the song will ear worm you within seconds, and you will sing it for days. (I found myself singing it while walking into court just the other day, and I hope and pray the judge did not hear it, because then she would be singing it also, and probably blame me.)
The Madagascar disc is chock full of features. You have the classic Dreamworks Jukebox, which seems to be included on all of their DVD releases, and features numerous songs from the Dreamworks animated catalog. There is also a decent commentary, a nice piece on the cast of the movie, as well as several smaller features that really were pretty good overall. There is also a demo game for an Activision Air Penguin game. The Penguins of Madagascar disk is also full of extras, which include a few (not so good) DVD games, and Alex’s Dance Off, which shows you how to dance like Alex does. Again, pretty decent stuff, and things that kids will really get into.
Finally, I have to add that there are a few short extra “easter eggs” hidden on the Penguins disk. They show a few funny little penguin shorts. I won’t give away the tricks, but check the internet if you are really interested and can’t find them on your own (hint – they are all accessible from the main menu. Full list of extras below.
- DWA Jukebox
- Filmmaker Commentary
- It’s A Family Affair The Cast Of Escape to Africa
- The Making Of Escape To Africa
- Crash Landing
- African Adventure
- Jambo Jambo Swahili Speak
- Test Flight Of Air Penguin Game
- Madagascar Escape 2 Africa Activision Game Trailer
- Four Music Videos
- Popcorn Panic & Gone In A Flash
- The Bronx Zoo Madagascar
- Alex’s Dance Off
- The Heart Of A Lion
- DVD Rom Games
- Easter Eggs
The Movie: 8/10
Madagascar – Escape 2 Africa starts off with a scene involving Alex the lion as a cub, in Africa with his father (voiced by the late Bernie Mac). It shows how Alex ended up traveling to New York before he became a featured zoo attraction. We then are switched to the current view of Alex, with his friends Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Melman the hypochondriac giraffe (David Schwimmer). The crew is getting ready to pick up where the original Madagascar movie left off, as they are boarding the repaired airplane that the lemurs had been living in. As the plane gets ready to take off to go back to New York, Julian the Lemur King (Sasha Baron-Cohen) decides he will accompany the group of New York animals on their trip. The penguins launch the plane, and the new adventure begins.
But instead of making it all of the way to America, the plane runs out of gas, plummets, and lands somewhere in Africa. It just so happens that the spot that they land is exactly where Alex grew up, and his lion pride is still there, as are his parents. Alex is forced to prove himself to the pride by challenging another lion to a fight, but seeing as how Alex is a dancer, and not a fighter (zoo life is a cake ride apparently) he ends up getting banished from the pride as he tries to have a dance-off with another lion instead of actually fighting him.
Ther rest of the crew is forced to deal with the dangers of wild living, and adjusting to their new life, as the penguins (still by far the funniest part of the movie) attempt to fix the badly damaged airplane with the help of some rather sophisticated monkeys (the penguins have no opposite thumbs, and are left to deal with the monkey workforce as if they were a union). When the water dries up, the entire group of animals become desperate, and as Alex tries to win over his father and join back up with the pride, things get out of hand to the point where the penguins end up rescuing the whole crew, and eventually the water hole.
Madagascar 2 is a great little animated movie. I was a little bit shocked to see that it had a PG rating, and a few of the words were a bit over the top for my 3 year old. That being said, he really enjoyed the movie, and while it definitely is for kids, this is another of those animated movies that has enough going on that it can get a bit hard to follow for the young ones. It was sophisticated enough for adults to enjoy also, and the voice acting was again really great. I had a blast watching it, and I could watch the penguins all day long.
The Penguins of Madagascar disk features two of the new animated TV series that will appear on Nickelodeon in March 2009. these are about 30 minutes each, and feature the lovable penguins as they take on various missions while at the zoo. The animation is just as good as the feature length movie, and the penguins doing anything is always hysterical. The first short features the animals at the zoo who have become addicted to popcorn that has been handed to them by zoo patrons. When Alice the evil zookeeper bans feeding the animals popcorn, the penguins take it upon themselves to get their hands on the tasty treat. It ends up being a competition to see who can get the popcorn first – the penguins or King Julien, who is now living at the zoo with Mort and Maurice.
The second short feature the penguin crew investigating the disappearance of Maurice, who is fed up with King Julien’s antics. King Julien things that Maurice has disappeared magically into a small box, that turns out to be a digital camera with Maurice’s photo on the display. Our heroic ice loving birds swing into a full investigation to find Maurice. Again, both of these shorts are excellent, and I can’t wait for the television show to debut.
Audio & Video: 9/10
Another brilliant animated movie – I am shocked. All of these releases these days are spot on. They look amazing even in standard DVD. I now I will sound old, but kids these days do not have any idea how good they have it. Both DVD’s are presented in wide screen format, and they look absolutely amazing.
Audio was again excellent, and the music to dialogue mix was perfect. both disks are presented in 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound.
How can you go wrong with a double dose of penguins? The Madagascar 2 movie is a keeper, and the Penguins disk is a nice addition, and has me excited for the Nickelodeon series that is coming out in March of this year. My boy loved both disks, and I am sure we will watch them again, and again, and again . . .
Overall Score 8/10