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Featured TV on DVD Review: The Penguins of Madagascar: Happy King Julien Day!

August 7th, 2010

The Penguins of Madagascar: Happy King Julien Day! - Buy from Amazon

Happy King Julien Day! is the second or third DVD release for The Penguins of Madagascar TV series. (It depends on how you categorize the DVD that was bundled with Madagascar 2.) I reviewed the previous release and was left with mixed feelings. So how well does this offering fare in comparison?

The Show

The cover says that this DVD has 8 Julien-themed episodes, which is not exactly true. When shown on TV, each episode is comprised of two 11-minute shorts, and this DVD has 8 of those, or four episodes in total. Things start with...

  • King Julien Day
    King Julien announces that the next day is King Julien Day and everyone in the zoo must celebrate and honor him... And of course give him gifts. None of the other animals are interested, so Maurice and Mort have to resort to threats and bribery to get them to go along. But that's not enough for Skipper and the penguins.
  • Assaults & Batteries
    King Julien as been annoying the rest of the animals in the zoo with his loud music all night long, so Skipper has a plan: he will steal the batteries from his stereo. Julien gives chase to get them back and as a result they both wind up in the same pen as Joey, the violent kangaroo. Now they have to work together to get out.
  • Kingdom Come
    King Julien is sent to the hospital and while he's away, Maurice is put in charge. At first he resists being made King, as he's always just been an adviser. But when he does accept power, it quickly goes to his head. But is there more than just "Power corrupts" at work here?
  • Operation: Plush & Cover
    The zoo is selling plush toys of all of the animals and the new Mort doll is very popular. This is not acceptable to Julien, who plots to get them sent back to the factory, but when Mort accidentally falls in with the dolls, the Penguins have to go to the factory to rescue him.
  • Crown Fools
    It's Fun Day (the zoo's Monday promotion) and Marlene points out that Skipper is not exactly built for fun. Throw any crisis at him you can and he will find a way to handle it, but when it comes to fun, King Julien is the King. Skipper decides to prove her wrong, but as a result, Julien's crown is lost in the sewer.
  • Jungle Law
    The power has gone out in the zoo and Skipper concludes it is Space Squids. On the other hand, Marlene thinks it is a citywide blackout. While Skipper and the penguins want to start up their emergency generator and ration the remaining food, King Julien wants to declare jungle law with him as King. The animals choose Jungle Law. That works about as well as you as you would think and the Penguins have to rescue the zoo.
  • The Helmet
    Kowalski creates a helmet that can give the wearer the power of Telekinesis. He calls it, The Helmet. At first he uses this power for good, like allowing Private to fly, but when Julien sees it in action he steals it and immediately starts abusing the power.
  • All King, No Kingdom
    Maurice and Mort accidentally destroy King Julien's throne and as a result he divides the Lemur pen in two and banishes Maurice and Mort from his part. We've seen this plot played out in hundreds of shows, and there's not much new here.
The show is still generating mixed feelings for me. On the one hand, the penguins are still the most interesting characters from the Madagascar franchise while Marlene is a good addition to the chemistry. On the other hand, they are best taken in small doses; at least that's the way I feel. Also, while the voice acting is good, for the most part, the animation is obviously cheap compared to the movie. It's bright, but it lacks the detail and the movement is not as smooth.

The biggest problem here is the theme, as for me King Julien is the most annoying character from the movie. I always felt Sacha Baron Cohen was doing a mediocre Robin Williams impersonation, which is same opinion I have of most of Robin Williams' recent voice-over work. And while he is not doing the voice on this show, the character hasn't changed, so having a full DVD of shorts focusing on him is not really a selling point in my mind.

The Extras

There are no extras on the DVD. Plus, the price per minute is a little high for this type of TV on DVD release, at least compared to some of the more recent releases.

The Verdict

If you are a fan of the Madagascar franchise, especially the four penguins, then The Penguins of Madagascar is a good show. Your opinion of Happy King Julien Day! will depend greatly on your appreciation for the King Julien character. The price per minute is merely adequate, while there are no extras, which further erodes the overall value. If you bought the first DVD and were happy, odds are you will be happy with this DVD as well.

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