Madagascar (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

At the Central Park Zoo, the animals attract millions of visitors, all excited to see the various sights within its walls. Most of the animals are content with their lives at the zoo, but a zebra named Marty (Chris Rock) has started to have some doubts. After his latest birthday, Marty began to think a lot about life outside the zoo’s walls, what the wild might hold. But when he shared his thoughts with his friend Alex (Ben Stiller), the zoo’s prized lion, the idea was met with concern. After all, the zoo offers safety and consistency, both in short supply in the real world. But when Marty’s curiosity drives him to escape the zoo, his friends try to bring him back, only to wind up captured and transferred. When the plane crashes and the once domesticated animals find themselves in the wild however, how will their adventure turn out?

While Pixar reigns supreme in the world of computer animated features, Dreamworks Animation has had some hits of their own, with Shrek being their powerhouse. While Madagascar wasn’t the box office juggernaut Shrek was, it was well received and even sparked a sequel of its own. Madagascar is not a classic or animation masterpiece, but it is a fun movie that provides more than solid entertainment. The story is passable, the characters are fun to watch, the voice talent is good, and of course, the animation is always a pleasure to experience. I do wish the writing was sharper, but the cast is so well chosen, they elevate the mediocre script and make Madagascar better than it should have been. And without question, the movie is stolen by those rascals the penguins, who never fail to deliver the laughs. This Blu-ray release boasts a gorgeous transfer and contains all of the extras, so if you’re a fan, make sure this is the one you go after.

Video: How does it look?

Madagascar is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. This movie has some beautiful visuals, so I was glad to see it was given an excellent transfer. The image is bright and bold, with vibrant colors that capture your attention and black levels that never waver in the slightest. The movie benefits from a digital-to-digital transfer, which means no print issues and a pristine foundation for the visuals. I found detail to be superb, so the animation looks as good as you’d expect, with great depth and some eye popping moments. A few minor issues surface, but they’re fleeting and never prove to be a distraction. So we’re left with a top shelf transfer, great work from Dreamworks.

Audio: How does it sound?

The included Dolby TrueHD 5.1 option is quite good, but I expected a little more from this track. After all, the wild should sound, well…wild. But even when the animals reach the wild, the surrounds remain quiet, as they did during the hustle & bustle of the zoo’s packed visiting hours. The atmosphere is fine, but seems like it could have offered more depth. Even so, the audio is by no means bad, just a touch limited. The music sounds great and dialogue is flawless, which is all wonderful news. This disc also includes French, Spanish, and Portuguese language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The directing duo of Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath offer their audio comments, in a solid overall session. The two do tend to get long winded in some rather dull subjects, but they also provide some worthwhile moments. So not a dynamite session, but one fans might want to give a listen to. A Christmas Caper is the best of the extras, a short film starring the penguins. A fun piece, this is just an excellent inclusion. This disc also includes audio comments from the penguins on select scenes, four brief featurettes, some animated outtakes, a learn to draw feature, and a music video from the lemurs. Exclusive to this Blu-ray release is a Pop-Up Trivia track, which sounds great, but comes off rather flat.

Disc Scores