Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Penguins of Madagascar Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
They’re cute...they’re cuddly...they’re back! From the creators of Madagascar comes the hilarious new movie that proves global espionage is for the birds! In DreamWorks’ Penguins of Madagascar, your favorite super-spies—Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private—join forces with the elite North Wind team to save the world. It’s a side-splitting, globe-trotting adventure the whole family will love! Introduce the Penguin family to your family on March 17 when Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment releases DreamWorks’ Penguins of Madagascar on Blu-ray and DVD. And for a limited time, get two hopping Penguin toys only with the DreamWorks’ Penguins of Madagascar Easter DVD and Blu-ray pack on March 17 making it the perfect gift for Easter baskets.
Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Recent animated family releases The Lego Movie, or Big Hero 6 are films I had to admit I would watch even if I didn’t have a child. Penguins of Madagascar is one of the films I don’t mind watching with my son but I wouldn’t be likely to watch otherwise. All the Madagascar films are a little too silly for my taste and are more about bright flashy colors than a heart-felt story. This had a little bit more heart than I expected and was also slightly better than I anticipated. The big bonus for me is that it stars Academy Award Nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, someone whose voice is so awesome that I would listen to him read from the phone book.

The Penguins’ team is Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon) and Private (Christopher Knights). They are on a mission to gain access to Fort Knox in order to infiltrate a vending machine full of their favorite snack – Cheezy Dibbles. The vending machine offers more than Cheezy Dibbles as the penguins soon find themselves the hostages of an Octopus who likes to pretend to be a human scientist named Dave (John Malkovich). Dave was once a popular zoo attraction until he was out-shined by the Penguins. Now Dave has a chip on his shoulder and he wants to eliminate the penguins.

A covert organization called the North Wind is there to help. The North Wind is led by Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch), Short Fuse (Ken Jeong) Corporal (Peter Stormare) and Eva (Annet Mahendru). The penguins stumble and fumble around while The North Wind works like a well oiled machine. While trying to save the world from the evil Dave the heroes travel the world and put on quite a show. The two teams will need to learn how to work together to defeat Dave and his army.

The film is rated PG for mild action and some rude humor. Rude humor and everything else in this film are perfect for the elementary school aged boys. Girls will like it too but they just don’t seem to appreciate the rude humor like most little boys. My six year old son laughed out loud and often throughout the film. He thought most of the penguins’ antics were downright hilarious. I thought they were mildly amusing and that’s not bad considering some of the films I’ve been forced to sit through on my son’s behalf.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Penguins of Madagascar is presented on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition with a 1.85:1 ratio. The computer animated film is incredibly bright, colorful and sharp. There is an amazing amount of lifelike texture found in animal fur, rope and mechanical equipment. Many animated films succeed in making alien creatures come to life and it works because there is no earthly frame of reference. In Penguins of Madagascar the animals and humans are authentic and believable and DreamWorks can be proud of their film and the Blu-ray transfer.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Penguins of Madagascar’s DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack delivers a robust and immersive experience. Dialogue is even and consistent and sound effects and peripherals are appropriate and well defined. The music supports but doesn’t overwhelm the action in this balanced presentation.
Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Penguins of Madagascar contains a single feature on DVD and a significantly longer list of extras on the Blu-ray. Just in time to fill up your child’s Easter basket, the Spring Gift Pack includes the movie and two poppin’ (wind up) penguins appropriate for ages 3 and up. The Blu-ray disc has the following supplements: 

  • Top Secret Guide to Becoming an Elite Agent (3:39): Everything you need to know to become an agent including false identities a strong memory, lock picking techniques, martial arts and more. 
  • Music Videos – The videos for “He is Dave and “Celebrate” 
  • Flipper Slap Shake Waddle and Roll – The penguins perform a two minute song and dance. 
  • Do the Penguin Shake with tWitch 2:27): tWitch teaches you a special dance routine. 
  • Deleted Scene 
  • Madagascar Mash Up – (3:12) – A look at the penguin’s highlights. 
  • Global Flight Plan (1:29): A look at how the origins of the Penguins and their spying roles. 
  • Cheezy Dibbles Ad (:33) – A commercial for the penguins’ favorite snack. 
  • The World of DreamWorks Animation - (1080p): Featuring Shrek, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda, The Croods, Turbo and Mr. Peabody & Sherman
  • Still Gallery 
  • Trailers 
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Penguins of Madagascar is a fun family friendly film that will appeal to all ages on different levels. I don’t usually set my expectations very high when it comes to films like this. The characters are funny and likable and the film should be a big draw with the elementary school crowd. DreamWorks has provided a Blu-ray with exceptional audio and video quality and a decent list of extras. The supplemental items are as silly as the film itself and should entertain your little ones if you can convince them to watch bonus features instead of just playing the movie again. I recommend adding this to your family movie collection.

Order your copy today!

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