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Overall Rating

Awesome: 15.15%
Worth A Look30.3%
Average: 23.48%
Pretty Bad: 22.73%
Total Crap: 8.33%

10 reviews, 72 user ratings

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by Jason Whyte

"God bless those penguins."
2 stars

Like with the execrable “Robots” earlier this year, we are getting stuck in a rut in computer animated films where everything is pretty much formula. Let’s look at our checklist: A group of wacky lead characters voiced by A-list actors? Check. Pop culture references? Check. Supporting characters that are typically funnier than the leads? We got penguins. And a really annoying song that gets blown out of proportion? I like to move it, move it…

The film begins in a New York zoo where Marty the zebra (voice of Chris Rock) is celebrating his tenth birthday. His neighbour and best friend is Alex the lion (voice of Ben Stiller) who is the star of the show, happily performing for the crowd and dining on prime steaks every night. Marty, on the other hand, is bored and wants to return to the wild. Marty does get out one night and Alex, along with Gloria the hippo (voice of Jada Pinkett-Smith) and Melman the giraffe (voice of David Schwimmer) find him at Grand Central Station.

They are then captured and shipped off to a wildlife preserve in Africa and through a group of pesky penguins who want nothing more than to get to Antarctica, they fall from the ship and find themselves washed up in Madagascar. They are back in the wild, all right, but they find themselves near a group of lemurs (led by Sasha Baron Cohen, best known for playing Ali G) and no food to be found. Alex becomes furious at Marty that he is no longer back home at his zoo being pampered everyday with his steaks, and starts to look towards Marty for his food supply.

This is about the point where Madgascar runs out of steam. The animal instincts kick in which leads us to a lot of scenes where Alex is hungry, Marty is sad because his best friend hates him and Alex and Melman don’t really have much to do but make light of their animal personality in the wild. Friendships break apart and they come back together as they always do.

But oh my, there is referential humour everywhere! Here are a few scenes worth noting:

- Marty the zebra walking down a New York street references to Saturday Night Live with the Bee Gee’s timeless “Staying Alive” pulsating on the soundtrack. Bear in mind this was also referenced in the film Virtuosity.
- Chariots of Fire is referenced in a scene where Marty and Alex find each other again on the beach. The reference was funnier in National Lampoon’s Vacation
- Alex the lion dreams of eating his prime steaks again, and suddenly the American Beauty soundtrack kicks in with a specific reference to the film’s dream sequence. I’m not sure if the film’s target audience will understand it, but I can see Mena Suvari going to see this movie and going “What the…?”
- The song “I Like To Move It” is the main song by the lemur colony, and is also the end credits song. I guess that will drive up the soundtrack sales.
- Even Shrek 2 is referenced in a scene with a baby lemur gets scared when they meet the four animals. Remember those sad cat eyes in last year’s Ogre tale? They are now plastered onto the baby.

Madagascar is gorgeous to look at. The film’s use of color, depth and shading is very well done. The animals are well animated, from the detail on Alex’s waving hair or Marty’s stripes, which he can’t stop counting. I’d go so far to say it’s one of the best looking computer animated films to date. The look of New York, for example, is subtle but elegant; we get several views of the city from the perspective of the zoo and the animals; I really liked the shot where the “Essex House” stands out in the background.

Like with Robots, the voice work calls too much attention to itself; is it really necessary to plaster the names Ben Stiller and Chris Rock over the opening credits? There’s too much of the big name actor, not enough character in the voice work. You could hire half of the cast of Rugrats and The Family Guy for a fraction of the cost, and you’d have some pretty interesting vocals that don’t call attention to the fact the star of Meet The Fockers is in a new movie and Chris Rock has been on too many interview shows recently promoting the fact that he has this and The Longest Yard opening on the same weekend.

In the end, the most enjoyment I got out of]Madagascar besides the visual beauty were the penguins, who are half mafia, half "The Great Escape" who want nothing more than to get to their destination down in the chold. There’s a great laugh when they arrive at their destination in Antarctica and find their surroundings filled with excessive snow and cold, to which one of them quips “Well, this sucks!” I said the same thing during the end credits.

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originally posted: 05/30/05 02:49:17
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User Comments

12/19/09 Jeff Wilder Funny in spots. But humor is of the cheap variety. 3 stars
1/15/09 Anonymous. cute and forgetable, not one of the better animated movies. 3 stars
8/30/08 Shaun Wallner Great Kids Film! 5 stars
3/28/08 sweeta-kt Sorry, but what is kimerikas? Jane. 1 stars
10/06/07 Marty It was super!, I really liked marty the zebra!! 5 stars
6/21/07 Dark Enchantress i love this movie! I love the head lemur as well. 5 stars
5/28/07 fools♫gold Has anyone who rates this 5 stars seen a single cartoon on television? 2 stars
5/19/07 APosterTest Good site, thanks! APosterTest 2 stars
2/08/07 Matt Starts off all right but goes clean off the rails around half way through. 3 stars
11/04/06 Tony Myers Why why WHY are studios like DreamWorks and Disney insisting that CGI is "the big thing"? 1 stars
7/29/06 Generic User Name People are too blinded by their own complaining to see some of the real meanings. Loved it. 5 stars
7/23/06 PM it's a great movie!!!! not only for kids. AWESOME!!! 5 stars
7/20/06 David Cohen I've seen enough "hip" comedies to last me for life, now can we please see some funny ones? 2 stars
6/20/06 Sarah it was aweosme.. the little small thing with big eyes was soo CUTE!!! 5 stars
6/05/06 mary terrible 1 stars
4/22/06 Poopy Woopy A Funny very worth while 4 stars
4/15/06 Joe Schmoe cOtToN-eYeD Joe Awesome!!!!!! 5 stars
4/03/06 JRE penguins are cool but the rest is the stupidest most unfunny plot ever 2 stars
1/09/06 Bad Critic Good animation, but the rest is just so so. 3 stars
1/06/06 JM Synth Dreamworks score a winner after the dull "Shark Tale", and the middiling "Shrek 2" 5 stars
12/29/05 fargat King Jullian, is all they've got! i like to move it move it! 3 stars
12/17/05 Ala'a Haddad The movie's idea is new and really funny and not only for kids 4 stars
11/22/05 J.D. Pittman III Animation got on my nerves and alex isn't a very good mean lion. PENGUINS! 3 stars
11/21/05 tatum Your kids will love the "American Beauty" reference!? 4 stars
10/16/05 Japanamie Cool film, loved the penguins. 3 stars
9/30/05 laura peñaloza 1 stars
9/13/05 bbbr funny 4 stars
8/26/05 Quigley too short with a weak ending, but man, it was pretty funny. I like to move it move it! 4 stars
8/15/05 Frenzy funny 4 stars
8/11/05 LopsyBunny Totally great. What are these people talking about saying it's bad? It's hilarios! 5 stars
8/10/05 Erica Bobifacio Greatest movie ever!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
7/29/05 The Man With No Name funny, but doesn't live up to "shrek" or "finding nemo" 3 stars
7/27/05 Willam Marley Not on par with Shrek but gets the target audience's attention 4 stars
7/18/05 bullit16 Had its moments. Cute for kids. 4 stars
7/14/05 Ronald Newbold What a hoot! 4 stars
7/11/05 Brooke I thought it was great especially the lemurs 5 stars
7/11/05 Peteca It's good if you don't have anything else to watch / Buena solo para pasar el rato 3 stars
7/08/05 Uncle Salty it puts the ZZZZZZZZZ in Zoo 1 stars
7/08/05 Kendra Amorson i loved it, i laghted, cryed, adn smiled 5 stars
7/05/05 helen yost this was an awsomely funny flick that would warm any cold kids heart especially the lemurs 4 stars
7/03/05 Natalia i though it waz kool 5 stars
7/01/05 Jack Farnsworth Not the best movie but kicks Robots ass! 4 stars
6/30/05 John Ay Okay for the kids, slow for adults. 3 stars
6/28/05 ashley trosclair it was freakin awesome and it was also hilarious!!!!! 5 stars
6/28/05 isabella great movie for kids and teens parents need to live a little happyer to get the movie 5 stars
6/26/05 ryan I liked the characters, the song, and the quote " I like to move it". 4 stars
6/25/05 Samantha Not on same level as Shrek but still funny. Ending annoyingly inconclusive. 4 stars
6/25/05 Njakalahy Excellent summer movie. Looking forward to Madagascar 2. 5 stars
6/24/05 andrew thomson great family movie 4 stars
6/23/05 azpinoy Better than expected, loved the penguins! 4 stars
6/19/05 Quigley definitely not shrek 2 or the incredibles, but had it's laughs. king julien rocks! 4 stars
6/15/05 Kayla AWESOME!! 5 stars
6/13/05 Steven Awesome Movie!!! 4 stars
6/13/05 Holly I LOVE the baby lemur, it's soo cute!!! 5 stars
6/13/05 Jean I thought it was a cute childrens movie 4 stars
6/11/05 KingNeutron AVOID, AVOID - these people are obviously trying **WAY** too hard (and failing) to be funny 1 stars
6/11/05 katelyn I loved It (I love king Julian!) 5 stars
6/07/05 Darcy ok for family but not a classic 3 stars
6/06/05 Naka It's, well, total crap. 1 stars
6/05/05 Brian the uninspired dreamworks crapfest rolls on 1 stars
6/04/05 Abigail This was one of the best movies I've ever seen! 5 stars! I only wish they had pictures of t 5 stars
6/03/05 Quigley had some pretty hilarious scenes, but it felt too forced for its own good. 4 stars
6/01/05 Robbie my 2 year old and myself(33) enjoyed alot 4 stars
6/01/05 Titus It ain't pixar, but it was definitely fun, and had some moments of greatness. 4 stars
6/01/05 Ham Sandwich These filmmakers don't understand kids. Kids want violence. 1 stars
5/31/05 Gary Pretty Weak!!!!!! 2 stars
5/31/05 mary todd lincoln save your money!!!! 2 stars
5/30/05 yuk double yuk 1 stars
5/28/05 HL The penguins could not save this movie. 3 stars
5/27/05 Christy Schultz The first ten minutes are kind of slow..but it gets pretty funny after that. Penguins rule. 4 stars
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  27-May-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 15-Nov-2005



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