Tag Archives: Scott Malchus

DVD Review: “The Penguins of Madagascar-Operation: DVD Premiere”

Who could have imagined that the Penguin characters from the two Madagascar film would spin off to their own animated series so successfully? In both films, the characters were essentially comic relief, thrown in as a “C” story that pretty much had nothing with the main plots until they show up at the end to rejoin the rest of the escaped zoo animals. Yet, in their own show, the penguins not only carry the show, but they are funny and enjoyable for parents and kids alike.

The Nickelodeon series has been on the air nearly a year now and it’s a big hit for the network. So, in true fashion of the marketing savvy network, Nickelodeon has released Operation: DVD Premiere, the first “feature length” DVD with over two hours of entertainment. The DVD is a collection of some of the Penguins best adventures, as well as a brand new, never-before-seen special, “Dr. Blowhole’s Revenge,” and two never- before-seen episodes, “Truth Ache” and “Command Crisis.” On a side note, I know that Nick plans to air “Dr. Blowhole’s Revenge” on President’s Day. I don’t understand the logic in advertising something as “never-before-seen” for just one week before putting in on television. I digress.

The set up for the show is simple: The Penguins, that is Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private, are back living at the New York City Zoo. Even though they are residents in the zoo, that doesn’t mean they’re confined behind bars. Instead, they have plenty of crazy adventures within the zoo and outside it. Along for the fun are three characters they never lived in the zoo in the films: King Julien, the insane lemur, originally voiced by Sacha Baren Cohen, by on television capably handled by Danny Jacobs, Maurice, an aye aye who is Julien’s trusty servant, and Mort, the accident mouse lemur who is the brunt of Julien’s contempt.

Supporting characters on hand to fill the absence of the main Madagascar characters include Marlene, an otter whose character is solely new to the series, plus Mason and Phil, the two chimpanzees from the films.

“Dr. Blowhole’s Revenge” is a funny, “save the world” adventure that finds the Penguins pitted against the evil Dr. Blowhole, an angry dolphin who gets around on a Segway. Dr. Blowhole plans to melt the North Pole in order to flood the earth as payback to humans for making him perform tricks in a ring of fire. Making matters worse for the Penguins is the fact that Julien has teamed up with Blowhole. The nefarious Blowhole is voiced by guest-star Neil Patrick Harris (who seems to be everywhere these days) and he has a good time with the role. Like most animation being produced these days, the adult behind the creation of the show often slip in a little bit of safe grown-up humor to make the show enjoyable for parents, as well as their kids.

The other two episodes, “Truth Ache” and “Command Crisis” fit right in with the seven other episodes included on this DVD, all of which have previously aired on Nickelodeon. As for bonus features, they aren’t much. But you shouldn’t expect too much when you’re buying TV episodes on a single disc like this one, anyway. There are trailers for upcoming Dreamworks animated features, Nick animated show and a couple of online games. Like I said, it isn’t much. Still, if you have a Penguin or King Julien fan in your house (child or adult) then this DVD is a worthwhile investment.

DVD Review: Walt Disney Treasures “Zorro: The Complete First Season” and “Zorro: The Complete Second Season”

41i-qOw0YIL._SCLZZZZZZZ_[1]Nostalgia is a tough sell when it comes to today’s children. With 21st century kids used to quick, Michael Bay-paced edits and brilliant, flashing colors to keep their attention, sitting them down to watch a black and white television series from 50 years ago may seem like a lost cause. With the release of Zorro the Complete First Season and the Complete Second Season in deluxe DVD format, Disney is showing the utmost confidence that this adventure series will delight not only the diehard Disney fanatics, but future generations of TV watchers. Trust me when I tell you that if you sit down with your son or daughter to watch Zorro, they’ll love it, and you’ll find your inner kid bursting with enthusiasm.

When Walt Disney decided to produce his first primetime series, he went all out to ensure that what he was airing met the high standards he set for his studio, both in motion pictures and television. He smartly chose to adapt the pulp novels of Johnston McCulley and partly based his vision of the masked avenger on the wildly successful silent film starring Douglas Fairbanks.  The Fairbanks version of the hero was a lighthearted take, adding humor and charm mixed with swordplay and spectacular stunts. Disney hired top writers to produce the show, he built an elaborate, permanent set on the Disney lot, and he brought together a cast of talented character actors to bring to life the colorful characters he envisioned. In the role of Don Diego/Zorro, an unknown actor named Guy Williams was cast. While this may have seemed like a risk, the actor exuded charisma as the masked avenger out to defend the oppressed. Moreover, Williams had an everyman, relatable quality that draws you in and keeps you entertained. And entertained you will be. Continue reading

DVD Reviews: “Marvel DVD Comic Book Collection: X-Men Volumes 3 & 4”

X-Men 3Picking up where they left off earlier this year, Disney and their new acquisition, Marvel Comics, have released the next two volumes of their “Marvel DVD Comic Book Collection” with the 2 DVD sets, X-Men Volume 3 and X-Men Volume 4. These DVDs continue in the release of every episode from the 1990’s hit Saturday morning TV series. X-men aired for five seasons and featured a popular lineup of Marvels band of mutants from the early Clinton decade. Those characters included Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, Gambit, Rogue, Storm, Jubilee, Professor Xavier and fan favorite, Wolverine.

What I always liked about this particular X-Men series was the way it adhered to the mythology from the long-running comic books. Even though some of the characters were changed, the story lines about the Savage Land and  in particularly the Phoenix saga (in which telepath Jean Grey is gradually transformed into a God with unlimited power) were played out over a series of episodes that treated this show more like a continuing drama you’d find on prime time instead of a Saturday morning cartoon aimed at kids seven years and older. Continue reading