HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: The Penguins of Madagascar
HTS Overall Score:87
I never thought that the cute and cuddly penguins of Madagascar would make it into their own feature length film, but here they are. Actually it seems that sidekicks are becoming a thing as “The Minions” movie is coming out soon, and they’re largely in the same boat. Incredibly entertaining side characters that got so popular they actually eclipsed the main characters in their respective universes. Kowalski, Skipper, Private and Rico are back at it again, but this time they’re leaving the desert and the zoo, going all out on their first global adventure as an elite fighting force team (or so they’d like to think). I giggled, I laughed, I rolled my eyes a few times, but I had a really good time watching the 4 penguins wise crack their way across the globe, causing mayhem and destruction wherever they go.
The film opens with a little short vignette that chronicles the early days of Rico (Conrad Vernon), Skipper (Tom McGrath) and Kowalski (Chris Miller) as they rescue a tiny Penguin egg from certain doom. As you probably guessed, that Penguin egg happens to be the king of cute himself, Private (Christopher Knights). Cut forward to the present and our heroes have had enough of listening to Chris Rock belt out “Afro Circus” and decide to break into Fort Knox to get the last remaining stash of Cheezy Doodles left in the world. Caught in the act the four minions of unintentional mayhem are captured by the evil scientist genius, Octavius Brine (John Malkovich), who just so happens to be a slighted octopus in disguise named Dave. It seems that Dave was the main center of attention at the New York Zoo (local of the first “Madagascar” movie) until the cute and cuddly Penguins took center stage. Pushed off to the side by every zoo and aquarium by the influx of the cute white and black birds, Dave escaped to the sewers where he has been plotting his revenge for years, and of course making a secret serum that will turn all things it touches into monsters.
Escaping Dave’s clutches, the four think they’re kings of the world, only to have Dave’s octopi minions chase after them. Saved by The North Wind, an inter species elite fighting force, headed by Agent Classified (Benedict Cumberbatch), the penguins, along with the North Wind soon come to learn that Dave has TONS of his secret serum that he will use to ruin penguins all over the world. Setting out to thwart Dave’s evil plan, the penguins and the North Wind have to learn to get along, or kill each other trying.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40778[/img]“Penguins of Madagascar” is a lot of fun and Tom McGrath as Skipper is owed a large amount of the praise for the laughs. His dumber than a brick leadership style is filled with lots of holes, lots of stupidity and lots of puns. Benedict Cumberbatch as Agent Classified adds a certain “straight man” element to the story as he butts heads with the rock hard head of Skipper and his crew. Ken Jeong adds a limited amount of humor to the show, but the majority of the time you’re giggling to Skipper and Kowalski smart mouth the entire runtime and watch Rico eat everything in sight.
As with most spinoff movies, the downside to the film comes from taking a sidekick (or 4 sidekicks to be precise) and turn them into a full movie. That means there is more than enough moments where filler is added or excessive exposition is crammed in to fill out the time. Private is now the focus of the movie, as he does his best to be thought of as a valued member of Skipper’s team, and a lot of the movie’s time is relegated to that type of feel good effort. Besides that, the movie is a blast, as the Penguins get into one scrape after another and somehow make it out in one piece. The amount of “name” puns that they pulled was incredible and actually had me laughing myself to death (especially during the final battle when they REALLY pull out all the stops). Long story short, if you liked the Penguins in the “Madagascar” movies, then you’ll like them here.
Rated PG for mild action and some rude humor
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40754[/img]This is a Dreamwork pictures films, and the expectations were set very high after their recent stunners like “How to Train Your Dragon 2” and the like. Thankfully expectations were met as they deliver a mind blowing 1.85:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray disc for us. The first thing I have to get out of the way is “Holy colors Batman”! There are bright shiny colors EVERYWHERE! Blacks, pinks, purples, oranges, reds, blues, whites, you name it. Deeply saturated and full of pop, the colors look incredible, and the digital animation looks like it’s taken straight from the digital tap. Detail is through the roof and the picture is razor sharp. I noticed no softness or issues with the lines in any way shape or form. Black levels are inky and deep as can be with lots of shadow detail and the disc itself is devoid of any compression issues like banding or macroblocking. To put it short this a demo disc to the core.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40762[/img]The provided 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is about on par with the audio. Bombastic and surprisingly aggressive, it fills all 8 channels with LOTS of activity. Surrounds are pumped up and blasting from all angles as the music flows evenly throughout and balances well with the explosions, fisticuffs and other auditory havoc the penguins provide. Dialog is crisp and clean, with some nice panning effects amongst the mains. LFE is deep and throbbing, adding some SERIOUS punch to the movie as I noticed several times where the output extended into the low teens. The track shows some amazing directionality and sonic accuracy that makes it so you can hear even the minutest of background details. Simply superb.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=40770[/img]• Top Secret Guide to Becoming an Elite Agent
• “He is Dave” Music Video
• Flipper Slap Shake Waddle and Roll
• “Celebrate” Music Video
• Do the Penguin Shake
• Deleted Scene
• Madagascar Mash Up
• Global Flight Plan
• Cheezy Dibbles Ad
• Image Gallery
• Theatrical Trailer
• Promo Trailers
"Penguins of Madagascar" is cute and fluffy, with all sorts of giggles from the penguins you loved from the "Madagascar" series. The movie isn't a perfect movie, as it suffers from the issues related to taking a few cute side kicks and turning them into a feature length film. However, the laughs are still plentiful and Rico, Private, Skipper and Kowalski still know how to tickle your funny bone for the majority of the film. Dreamworks has been knocking it out of the park with their video and audio encodes and this one is no different. Amazing audio, incredible video and a solid array of extras makes this a no brainer for fans of the "Madagascar" universe. That and you will want to own the disc of indescribable cuteness, don't you? Recommended.
Starring: Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ken Jeong
Directed by: Eric Darnell, Simon J. Smith
Written by: Michael Colton, John Aboud
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish, French DD 5.1
Studio: Dreamworks Entertainment
Runtime: 92 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 17th 2015
Buy The Penguins of Madagascar 2D On Blu-ray at Amazon
Buy The Penguins of Madagascar 3D On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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