The Penguins of Madagascar: Operation Blowhole

The Penguins of Madagascar: Operation Blowhole
The group of zoo penguins that first gained fame in 2005 DreamWorks animated feature Madagascar are back for more unlikely adventures. These guys were one of the comedic standouts of the original theatrical feature, mostly because of their pseudo-serious engagement in top-secret international crime-solving missions, so it's no wonder they've been given spin-off after spin-off, in the form of a Nickelodeon show. The latest DVD release is The Penguins of Madagascar: Operation Blowhole, a three-episode series in which the eponymous heroes do battle with an evil dolphin named Dr. Blowhole, whose villainous quest to destroy the Earth must be stopped. Dr. Blowhole is an amusing parody of the stereotypical movie super-villain ― one of his eyes is covered with a robotic patch, continuing in the long tradition of villains that have one weird eye (Emilio Largo in the 1965 Bond film Thunderball, Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers franchise, etc.). The penguins are moderately funny, dropping cleverly modified puns on the spy thriller genre (one penguin heads to Shanghai on a secret mission called "the dim sum of all fears"). But the comedic standout is King Julian, the feather-crowned leader of a languishing race of hedonistic lemurs; his mild lisp only adds hilarity to his often self-aggrandizing and ignorant comments. The disc boasts "six original musical numbers," all of which are presented in an episode in which an evil machine merges with a super-powered battery and King Julian's mp3 player, resulting in a trance-like spell cast over the entire zoo that forces everyone to sing. One particular song is an incredibly catchy reggae/dubstep piece in which King Julian dons sunglasses and instructs you to "thump, thump, thump, thump a little lower now, thump a little slower now." It's got a pretty decent bass line and is guaranteed to stick in your head for days, for better or worse. The disc also includes previews of the currently playing Puss in Boots feature and the forthcoming sequel to Operation Blowhole, Dr. Blowhole Returns Again! An amusing cast of characters surrounds the penguins and the overall fast-paced mood of action and adventure is pretty engaging. This is a disc that could safely entertain kids and adults alike, and the running time is just right, so you can appreciate the mildly inoffensive, yet sharp, comedy without growing too sick of the repetitive plot structure. (Paramount)