Directed by David Soren
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 anamorphic
Running Time: 22 minutes
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English, 2.0 surround Spanish
Subtitles: SDH. French, Spanish
MSRP: $ 14.98
Release Date: January 29, 2013
Review Date: January 22, 2013
With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, each of the friends is eager to make the day special. King Julian (Danny Jacobs), who wants more than anything to have subjects obeying his every whim, happens on a bottle of perfume (Love Potion No. 9) and for the price of absolute obeisance will squirt some on each subject guaranteeing them a discovery of true love, but when it runs out he has to foster his own concoction. Alex remembers all of the Valentine cards he used to get as king of the zoo and tries to interest the jungle inhabitants in the custom only to be shot down by their indifference. Melman (David Schwimmer) wants to do something special for girl friend Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) but his secretiveness leads her to think he’s lost interest in her. And Skipper (Tom McGrath) is uneasy when his bobble-headed hula dancing girl friend makes eyes at a body building surfer bobble-head.
For a program that lasts only a bit over twenty minutes, there is a lot of plot squeezed into the presentation by writer-director David Soren, almost too much to do a satisfactory job in developing his stories. Of course, with the target audience being the younger folk, it’s likely the plots were kept simple and easily resolved with minimal bother. Yes, there’s a lesson or two imparted (Alex realizes it’s not the number of cards one gets but the depth of affection that accompanies them that counts), and the penguins steal the show as usual with their faux military-inspired antics. But it’s not as laugh-filled as the films and not as charming as the Christmas special from a couple of years ago.
Most of the voice cast from the films returns for this program (Sasha Baron Cohen’s King Julian gives way to Danny Jacobs who does a fine job with the egotistical imbecile) with Tom McGrath a standout as the Skipper (Cedric the Entertainer in sterling support as his flunky Maurice) and Ben Stiller and David Schwimmer just fine in their familiar roles as Alex and Melman.
The program is framed at 1.78:1 and is anamorphically enhanced for widescreen televisions. Though colors don’t pop off the screen as they do with the feature films on Blu-ray, they’re solid enough and never bleed. Sharpness is excellent throughout, and the transfer handles the violet spray from the perfume atomizer especially well. There may be some slight banding in one or two shots, but you’d have to really be looking hard for it to be very distracting. The program has been divided into 4 chapters.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix is a good if not great presentation given the likely low budget of the enterprise. There are some split effects which show up in the fronts and rears, and the score gets a nice placement through the soundstage (you just knew the classic song “Love Potion No. 9” would make an appearance and it does). Dialogue has been solidly recorded and has been placed in the center channel.
A new Dreamworks short “First Flight” is on the disc. This 8-minute featurette (which appears to have been made in 3D though naturally it’s presented in 2D here) concerns a businessman who takes a personal interest in a bluebird fledgling who drops from the nest and is clueless about how to fly.
“Hammy’s Boomerang Adventure” brings characters from Over the Hedge including rascally raccoon R.J. (Bruce Willis) playing a trick on Hammy with a box of boomerangs. This runs 5 minutes.
There are promo trailers for Rise of the Guardians and Dragons: Riders of Berk.
3/5 (not an average)
Fans of the Madagascar franchise will likely enjoy seeing their favorites in another (brief) adventure, but the level of wackiness and farce is toned down in this 22-minute presentation which is certainly geared to all members of the family but particularly the younger ones.