A very good movie that continues to push the genre of animation forward.
I just think that all the extras should be listed out on the back of this DVD, especially because it is catering to kids AND adults.
Madagascar wasn’t a movie I was really looking forward to even though I have an affinity for animation due to my animated movie, 1985-1986. However, I heard nothing but great things about this film, and when I was asked to review it I decided to lay down my utter dislike towards Ben Stiller and really give this movie the fair shot that it deserves. And guess what? Dreamworks really does it again with this film about four animals who come to realize that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, and that if you work together you can accomplish anything.
Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and the rest of the cast really do a wonderful job with their voice work. I was able to forget that that was who I was listening to, and I found myself really getting into the subject matter and plots in this film. The animation looks awesome and I think why it works so well is because you have areas around the animals that look real, while the animals themselves look normal but act like humans. I hear that there is a sequel in the works and I am sure that that will do just as well as this one did.
The Penguins in “A Christmas Caper”
A Christmas Caper is a short that played in the theater when Madagascar had it’s theatrical run. I loved this as I think this animation is amazing. This is actually a prequel tale of sorts in which we get to see the Penguins celebrate Christmas “their way” in the zoo. Seeing these “cute” characters get into the situations that they get into really never gets old. The fact that it is all done with the language of a short film also helps put these ideas across.
Mad Mishaps; Meet the Wild Cast and Behind the Crates
I LOVED the Mad Mishaps because bloopers in animation are unlike bloopers in any other aspect of film. I say this because the creators of this DVD allow us to see the animators mistakes. When we watch the film it is flawless (at least that’s how it looks), but these mishaps, though short, show us another side. Meet the Wild Cast was essentially the actors sitting around talking about their roles and the Behind the Crates piece was more of the same. Both of these short featurettes are essentially EPK’s for the film, although I must admit that from a purely technical standpoint, I loved the Behind the Crates section because it illuminated the creative process behind Madagascar for me.
The Tech of Madagascar; Penguin Chat and Enchanted Island
I knew by the title The Tech of Madagascar that I was going to like this featurette. Anything that takes us behind the process a little bit more (especially with animation) is something that I want to view. I think that anybody with an interest in animation will be inspired by this DVD. Penguin Chat is a select commentary with the penguins from the movie (yes, you read that right) talking about their specific scenes. I don’t think a moment went by during this that they weren’t making some kind of a joke or cracking wise about something. Enchanted Island is a historical travelogue about this island. We find out about how it broke away from Africa, what kind of animals live there and what life is like on the island today.
Galleries and Dream Works Kids
The picture Galleries are actually done in a pretty in-depth way. They are broken up into New York, the Ship and Madagascar we can choose whichever renderings we wish the view. There is also a game on this DVD called Crack the Code in which we find random letters throughout the DVD menus, that then have to be used to “crack a code.” Once this happens, we get a special prize. Dreamworks Kids is a whole separate section unto itself that features a music video for the song “I Like To Move It, Move It” as well as games and activities. This DVD even functions as a DVD-ROM that you can use on your computer. Some of the games and activities on the DVD itself are “Learn to Draw,” “Matching Lemurs” and “Madagascar Symphony.”
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.85:1. Enhanced for Widescreen TVs. This movie leaps off the screen. It is easy to see why young kids would love it. First of all, you have animated characters that literally sparkle. They flop around and generally just get into a bevy of really sticky situations. Now, for adults there is a lot of good writing. So while someone like myself might lean a bit more toward the “talky aspect” of this film, there really is a bigger than life quality that the animals in Madagascar convey. I was watching this film and I was literally floored by how much it jumped out at me.
English and French Dolby Digital 5.1. English and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0. Captioned in English. Subtitled in English, Spanish and French. Like many animated movies, what would a film like this be like without jubilant sound and music? One thing that always impresses me with films like Madagascar is how quick they are, and how they can convey all the information that they do. When you listen to these animals talk, lets not forget that there’s a plot that they have to follow, but there is also a great deal of dialogue. Somehow, in watching this film, we lose none of that and yet it is almost relentless in how it is presented.
All of our favorite characters from the movie dance along this cover and if that doesn’t make you want to buy it than nothing will! It is truly astounding how well done this 3-D animation looks. The back features a shot of Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria as they stand on the beach. There is a description of the movie, an extras listing (which isn’t very comprehensive), a cast list and some technical specs. While I wouldn’t be surprised to see Madagascar released in a bigger version with more bells and whistles, I am quite content that this current copy dots all the “i’s” and crosses all the “t’s”.
I am constantly floored with how animated movies seem to be better than many of today’s live action vehicles. It seems like the film industry can never get it right across the board. By this I mean, only one or two types of films can be really good at any given time, while everything else seems to be slacking. However, this year, when box offices grosses were down, we seemed to get a lot of good films in the comedy, animation, thriller and horror genres, yet, this was a very bad year for the studios financially. Who knows? Audiences are fickle and if you make a good movie that doesn’t mean you’re gonna make good money.
Madagascar is the kind of film and DVD that really breaks ground for adults and kids. It has something for everyone and works thoroughly because of this.