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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

94






Studio and Year: DreamWorks - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 89 Minutes
Genre: Animated/Comedy/Family

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett-Smith, David Schwimmer, Bernie Mac, Cedric The Entertainer
Directed by: Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath
Music by: Hans Zimmer & will I am
Written by: Ethan Cohen, Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 6, 2009







"Move it Move it!"



Film Synopsis:


The sequel to 2005's "Madagascar", in which New York Zoo animals, Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo, still stranded on Madagascar, start to leave the island. All of a sudden, they land in the wilderness of Africa, where Alex meets the rest of his family, but has trouble communicating with them after spending so much time at the Central Park Zoo.




My Take:


Sequels to successful films have a tough road to hoe. The original Madagascar was fresh, heartwarming, and of course funny. Trying to recreate those traits without making it feel like a simple rehashing of the original can be tricky. I think that is where Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa comes up just a bit short. By that I mean it feels very much like the first one but without the fresh feel. I think that it successfully achieves the heartwarming and funny aspects and in this case that is enough to make it enjoyable to watch. These are great characters that are played perfectly by the cast lending them their voices. Everything from the great music to the incredible animation help to drive the story and keep interest high. The gang leaves Madagascar attempting to return to New York via airplane but instead crash lands in Africa and reunites Alex with his parents. This leads them on a series of misadventures that provide plenty of entertainment for the whole family. There are several new characters introduced (lead by Alec Baldwin as Makunga) that are a hoot and at 89 minutes its pacing is right on the money. My family enjoyed it and I suspect yours will too.




Parental Guide:


The rating is for mild crude humor. I see no reason why this would be inappropriate for younger viewers.





AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


Audio: 92


  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:





Video: 96


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa comes to Blu-ray Disc from DreamWorks featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.6 mbps.

This is a reference quality audio/video presentation that looks and sounds great. Images are painted with incredible three dimensional perspective that at times is visually arresting. Intricate details like the separation of individual strands of hair or the flowing of feathers as they blow in the breeze are incredibly lifelike. I was able to fully appreciate the attention to detail that went into the look of the water at the watering hole. It had a supple, rippling texture that drew my eyes to it every time I saw it. Colors were tonally rich with a beautiful and diverse palette that looked succulent in high definition. Contrast and brightness were as good as I have seen and struck a wonderful balance that highlighted the multi-layered grays and gradational whites within the video. There are a few examples of this that stood out for me. The scene in chapter 4 after the plane takes off from Madagascar. It is a long distant shot of the plane against a backdrop of puffy gray clouds. The varying gradational structure of the light and dark segments within the clouds is appreciable and the color of the plane is in stark contrast to them. Later as Alex stands in a herd of Zebra looking for Marty the entire image is achromatic (except for him) and has excellent depth and perceptible white detail. The shots of the jungle at night have superb depth of field and resolvable shadow delineation. Blacks had excellent depth and dynamic range but didn't achieve the ink like levels of the best discs available in high definition. That is a minor quibble from an otherwise flawless presentation that simply looked stunning.

The lossless Dolby TrueHD soundtrack was just as good as the video and was a real treat. This is an engaging mix that utilizes the entire system to create a theater like experience. Sound staging is excellent as both the front and rear channels are seamlessly integrated so that sound effects seem to traverse the room. Surround activity is frequent and immersive as both directional and spatial information mixed to the rear channels weaves an enveloping pattern of sound. Dynamics are energetic and forceful which lends weight to the plethora of impact felt moments during the movie. This is a fairly aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already powerful dynamic range. The result is impressive low frequency effects that have authoritative depth and response that is occasionally room shaking. Dialogue is rendered with aplomb and ranks up there with the best sound mixes that I have heard. The film's music sounded simply marvelous. Instrumentation and sound field placement allowed it to flow through the room as it maintained a position of prominence without a dominating presence. This is an active surround mix that heightened the home theater experience as it simply sounds marvelous.




Bonus Features:

  • Filmmaker's commentary

  • Animators commentary

  • Trivia track

  • (HD) Its a family affair: The cast of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa - 9 minute featurette

  • (HD) The making of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa - 11 Minute featurette

  • (HD) Crash landing - 3 minute feature on the crash sequence

  • (HD) African adventure - 7 minute feature on the development of the story based upon the locations in Africa

  • (HD)Jambo Jambo: Swahili Speak - 36 minute feature on the language with help from characters/segments from the movie

  • (HD) The Bronx Zoo: Madagascar - 8 minute documentary on the zoo exhibit

  • (HD) More Penguins - 2 film shorts featuring the Penguins from Madagascar

  • (HD) Mad music - 6 videos to choose from featuring characters from Madagascar

  • Text flight of air penguins game

  • (HD) 5 BD Trailers

  • BD-Live enabled





Final Thoughts:


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a fun family movie that is reminiscent of the original film. While it may lack its freshness and better developed storyline it rejoins the audience with these lovable characters as well as a few new ones that are sure to bring a smile to your face. DreamWorks has brought it to Blu-ray Disc boasting an exemplary audio/video presentation that is sure to become demonstration material. Add to that a full compliment of high definition bonus supplements that include Blu-ray Disc exclusives and you have a fantastic package that should find a place in your collection. Enjoy!















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector

Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen

Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)

Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)

Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player

Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier

Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control

Canton "Ergo" Series speakers

Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers

SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)

APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld Ultraviolet & BetterCables Silver Serpent Reference HDMI Cabling

Best Deal Cables - Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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I agree on all fronts. Good movie with amazing HD picture. This is the new king when it comes to CG (sorry KFP).
 

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Let me get this straight, the SD comes with an extra disc/ short film ? I saw the commercial, and it appears that it comes with a extra disc..I think they call it a double pack?


Those the blu ray comes with this?


djoel
 

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I don't remember the first one very well but my son and I have watched it twice since bringing it home last night from Redbox. Very funny. We'll probably buy it. Might be my first Blu-Ray disc.
 

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Another honest and legible review Ralph. Will definitely pick up in some sort of discount sale.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AvGeek07 /forum/post/15765544


Nah,it only came with 1 dvd sd disk. for,Madagascar 2



I just watched a commercial, and the sd appears to have an extra movie, or short film called Nick Penguin??? It also mentions a double pack!






Here's a photo of what I talking about..


Thanks


Djoel
 

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Weak bass....
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland /forum/post/15773143


Weak bass....

From the review:


"This is a fairly aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already powerful dynamic range. The result is impressive low frequency effects that have authoritative depth and response that is occasionally room shaking."


I would think this is at least one criteria that is not subjective. Does this movie have powerful bass or not??
 

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Nice review, Ralph.
Just watched it tonight, the "better half" and I loved it. It looked great, sounded great and of special note for me, the dialogue was crystal clear thoughout.


The fight between Alex and the old lady (Nana?) had me LMAO.


While my wife liked both 1 & 2 equally, I thought 2 was even more entertaining. Overall, this was a fantastic HT experience for us. Way to go DreamWorks.



Mike T
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by coolstrategist /forum/post/15773438


From the review:


"This is a fairly aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already powerful dynamic range. The result is impressive low frequency effects that have authoritative depth and response that is occasionally room shaking."


I would think this is at least one criteria that is not subjective. Does this movie have powerful bass or not??

Greetings,


The bass response isn't "weak". Deep bass isn't applied consistently throughout the movie but when present you can feel it.


Regards,
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by coolstrategist /forum/post/15773438


From the review:


"This is a fairly aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already powerful dynamic range. The result is impressive low frequency effects that have authoritative depth and response that is occasionally room shaking."


I would think this is at least one criteria that is not subjective. Does this movie have powerful bass or not??


From my take, there were 2 scenes where the bass momentarily got somewhat low and subsonic.. But mostly, to me, the bass was weak throughout.. I was watching it but my subs seemd like they were turned way down and dynamics limited.. But my system was fine...


Now, a few days earlier I watched War of the Worlds. Ralphs assessment of : a fairly aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already powerful dynamic range. The result is impressive low frequency effects that have authoritative depth and response that is occasionally room shaking... I'd only modify the word 'occasionally' for War of the Worlds..


Nice review but a small disagreement here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by thebland /forum/post/15775344


From my take, there were 2 scenes where the bass momentarily got somewhat low and subsonic.. But mostly, to me, the bass was weak throughout.. I was watching it but my subs seemd like they were turned way down and dynamics limited.. But my system was fine...


Now, a few days earlier I watched War of the Worlds. Ralphs assessment of : a fairly aggressive mix that makes regular use of the subwoofer to accentuate its already powerful dynamic range. The result is impressive low frequency effects that have authoritative depth and response that is occasionally room shaking... I'd only modify the word 'occasionally' for War of the Worlds..


Nice review but a small disagreement here.

Greetings,


As always I appreciate hearing your take. From my perspective the persistant presence of bass that reaches subsonic levels when it is not called for can be distracting. Proper balance is important and in this case I think that bass response was more or less appropriate. I agree that I would liked to have had that feeling of the near infinite, low level, and earth shaking bass that War of the worlds produces but it probably wouldn't have worked here. That film calls for it and its application is out of this world...



Cheers,
 

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One thing to remember, this is a kids movie, and the mix may be a bit tame for this reason. I didn't find the bass overpowering, but nice and balanced as well. My review hasn't posted yet (it's in for editing), but I rated it 9/10 for audio and 10/10 for picture. The movie itself....7/10. I liked it better than the first.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Djoel /forum/post/15765313


Let me get this straight, the SD comes with an extra disc/ short film ? I saw the commercial, and it appears that it comes with a extra disc..I think they call it a double pack?


Those the blu ray comes with this?


djoel
Quote:
Originally Posted by Djoel /forum/post/15768770


I just watched a commercial, and the sd appears to have an extra movie, or short film called Nick Penguin??? It also mentions a double pack!






Here's a photo of what I talking about..


Thanks


Djoel

The Blu-ray comes with all those featurettes/extra movies on one disk whereas the DVD needs another disk, not to mention the featurettes are in HD


Great review, I thought this was one of the best video reproductions I have ever seen.
 
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