Blu-ray Review “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar”

Actors: Morgan Freeman, Patricia Wright
Directors: David Douglas
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Run Time: 39 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
3D: 3 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 stars

Who doesn’t love nature documentaries, especially ones shot with IMAX 3D cameras? “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” is the latest of the IMAX nature films. Did I also mention that Morgan Freeman narrates this film? Bonus! This film is an interesting journey through world of Madagascar. I am a little weary though of these IMAX films because they are very short running barely 40 minutes. Disneynature is putting out a new film every Earth Day that is a feature length. How can people expect to pay full price to see half a film. Just sayin’, this style was cool when 3D was new and rare but it is everywhere now and these films would be much wider received if they went feature length.

Official Premise: “Island of Lemurs: Madagascar” highlights the tireless efforts of trailblazing scientist Dr. Patricia C. Wright and her lifelong mission to help these strange and adorable creatures survive in the modern world. Joining David Douglas once again behind the scenes are editor Beth Spiegel, co-producer Diane Roberts, and composer Mark Mothersbaugh. Songs are by Hanitrarivo Rasoanaivo & Tarika. The film reunites Freeman with Drew Fellman, who also wrote and produced the 2011 IMAX 3D documentary “Born to Be Wild 3D,” and director David Douglas, who served as director of photography on that film.

Warner Bros is releasing this film as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD. They are also including a bonus 3D version of the film. I have to admit, the 3D version was not as good as I expected. There wasn’t any outstanding 3D effects like we have come to expect from the IMAX 3D shot films. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track sounds good and Mark Mothersbaugh’s score is well represented throughout.

There are a few short extras included. First is “Making of The Island of Lemurs”, which is looks briefly behind-the-scenes. There is another “Behind the Scenes” promo, not sure why these two weren’t combined. “The Story of Lemurs” features the filmmakers and Primatologist Patricia Wright discussing the film. “Meet Patricia Wright” is a feature on the Primatologist. Other extras include, “A Baby Indri” featuring Fellmantalking about working with the scientists. “The Cutest Lemur” introduces us to the lovable creature. “Go-Kart Racers” focuses around the carts used for filming. Lastly “Five Things About Indri” features fun facts for kids.

Own ISLAND OF LEMURS: MADAGASCAR on Blu-ray combo pack and Digital HD on March 31

DVD Review "Madly Madagascar"

Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: January 29, 2013
Run Time: 22 minutes

Film: 4 out of 5 stars
EXtras: 3 out of 5 stars

The gang is back in “Madly Madagascar” in this new Valentine’s Day-themed special. This franchise is not a stranger to holiday specials after “The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper” and “Merry Madagascar”. They were both very clever and fun. This special is loaded with great jokes and continues the trend that the “Madagascar” franchise is not even close to being dried up. I recommend this for all families to enjoy for the holiday and I hope that they have more planned in the future, while we are waiting for “Madagascar 4”.

Official Premise: Your favorite Madagascar pals are back in an all-new adventure! Alex’s favorite holiday, Valentine’s Day, brings hilarious surprises and excitement for the entire gang. Melman plans a big surprise for Gloria, Marty tries to impress a new friend and everyone wants to get their hands on King Julien’s love potion. You’ll fall in LOVE with Madly Madagascar!

I would have loved to have this film on Blu-ray, I am not sure why Fox decided not to deliver that. The special features included on the DVD are two additional animated shorts. The first is called “Hammy’s Boomerang Adventure” and the second is “First Flight”. They are both very funny and worth checking out. Since the feature is only 22 minutes, the extra content is well worth checking out. In case you think it is not worth the purchase you can always catch it on TV airing on Valentine’s Day this year…and I am sure this will become a yearly tradition.

Blu-ray Review “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”

Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer
Directors: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon
Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: Paramount
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Run Time: 93 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 4 out of 5 stars

When it comes to the “Madagascar” franchise, they are nothing but plain and simple fun. The third film in the series “Europe’s Most Wanted” is definitely the biggest and most ambitious. This film was released in 3D in theaters and really looked nice within the format.  We are reviewing the 2D version of the film here and it still is entertaining with the third dimension effects.  If you are a fan of the series and looking to escape for a few minutes, while keeping the kiddies entertained this will be the film for you.  Since this installment takes place in a circus, this release comes with a Rainbow Wig, so you can party like Marty! If you are a fan, there is still lots more to come.  “The Penguins of Madagascar” feature-film should be next in 2015, followed by “Madagascar 4”. So stay tuned!

Official Synopsis: Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple and of course, King Julien, Maurice and the Penguins are all along for the comedic adventure. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent – Madagascar style.

“Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” comes in a sweet Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo + Digital Copy + UltraViolet release, along with Marty’s Rainbow Wig.  The star of the film has to be the audio track included, which is Dolby TrueHD 7.1.  It really works with the films music and action scenes, which there is quite a bit of both. The special features are also quite impressive.  Under the category of “High Flying Fun”, we have Filmmakers’ Commentary, Big Top Cast, Deleted Scenes, Mad Music Mash-Up and Circus Acts. All of these features are flashy, fun and even great for kids. There are three deleted scenes including, “Melman Picks a Circus Act”, “Next Performance: New York City” and “Lion Meets Venom”, fun but well cut. Lastly there are two featurettes “The Animators’ Corner” and
“Get Them to the Train”, as well as a trivia track included.


Related Content

Book Review “The Art of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”

Author: Barbara Robertson
Hardcover: 156 pages
Publisher: Insight Editions
Release Date: May 15, 2012

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

When it comes to animated films, I always love to check out the “Art of” books since they are always the best. “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” is definitely no different. The book is extremely colorful and I really enjoyed reading/looking through it. Dreamworks Animation really has CGI films down also including the “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda” series. I haven’t seen “Madagascar 3” yet but after reading this book, I am now very much more interested to see it. I also really enjoyed the foreword from Chris Rock, it is a great way to kick off this book.

“The Art of Madagascar 3” focuses on all aspects of the film ranging from character design, development art, and special effects. This really showcases the amazing work that the artists at DreamWorks Animation did for this film. There is a breakdown of every new character from this installment including a very detailed descriptions. Since the film is very location based, there is a detailed concept art showing where the film takes place ranging from New York to Monte Carlo. I also really enjoyed the specific focus on the visual effects from various scenes in the film. This book also doesn’t just include CGI pictures from the movie, literally every shot is a unique drawing from the film.

If you are a fan of this series, then you are going to definitely want to check out this book. It really has a little bit for everyone of all ages. For kids it focuses on the film’s notable characters and for adults it includes details aspects from the artists that brought them to life. The images in the book are extremely high quality and really sharp. The colors are the page literally jump off and look really great. Insight Editions succeeds again with this release. They continue to release great “Art of” books for Dreamworks Animation films and they deliver yet another excellent book.