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Overall Rating
3.21

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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Madagascar
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by U.J. Lessing

"This is not Scorsese, folks, but it sure is a cute cartoon."
4 stars

More like a child’s picture book, than a summer blockbuster, Madagascar is refreshingly unpretentious in its goals. It’s not out to deliver a moral message. It’s not trying to accurately render animals. It certainly doesn’t want to make its audience think. Heck, it’s not even trying to win over adults. Madagascar is a simple story designed to make children laugh, and it succeeds splendidly.

The film is friendly and practically villain-free. Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) live in the center of New York’s Central Park Zoo and lead a blissful carefree life performing for crowds and getting treated like royalty.

However, things go awry when the zebra gets restless. When the restive and anti-social penguins escape from the zoo, Marty follows their lead, and escapes into the wild. His friends give chase and they are all captured and shipped off to Africa.

After the penguins sabotage the ship, the four animals find themselves washed ashore on the island of Madagascar. There, their skills and friendships are put to the test as they attempt to stay alive and help a pack of cute furry lemurs.

While Ben Stiller, Chris Rock and David Schwimmer provide competent, but forgettable voice-overs, Jada Pinkett Smith is creative and delightful as Gloria. She provides (excuse my pun) weight to her hippo and creates a charming and lovable characterization.

Another standout voice is Sacha Baron Cohen as Julian, the king of the lemurs. Cohen (better known for his alter-ego, Ali-G) channels the ghost of Peter Sellers as he constructs an accented, frenzied king who is simultaneously wise and imbecilic.

Though the characters’ faces are not particularly expressive, their bodies are another story. The animals’ frames are continually bouncing, twisting, wobbling and bending. This physicality can be wearing, but more often than not, it’s delightful.

The animation of Madagascar is somewhat cruder than most computer-rendered films. Gone are elaborate and ornate animated sequences, and one suspects that the animators were working on a pretty tight budget.

However, unlike Finding Nemo or Robots, Madagascar is not attempting to emulate realism. Instead the animators seem to have focused on capturing the look, style and pacing of a children’s book.

The painted backgrounds, basic characters, and distinctive locations all give Madagascar the feel of a Caldecott award-winning book. After seeing Madagascar, head out to your local bookstore and grab, “The Escape of Marvin the Ape,” by Caralyn and Mark Buehner to see what I am talking about.

This is a sweet story with an abundance of gags. Directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath keep things moving at an even clip, and while adults won’t find too much that is memorable, writers Mark Burton and Billy Frolick provide some clever movie allusions that will float comfortably over your children’s heads.

No, Madagascar doesn’t excel to the high standards that Pixar has set, but, honestly, what does? Madagascar is a great kid’s film. It’s a film jam packed with sight gags, it has a cool story, and your children will adore you for taking them. What more do you want?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=12362&reviewer=396
originally posted: 05/28/05 06:10:53
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Trilogy Starters: For more in the Trilogy Starters series, click here.

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
6/13/08 PAUL SHORTT A BRIGHTLY COLOURED, GOOD-HEARTED FILM 3 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
7/26/05 Jon Tamer NO HINTS ABOUT SITUATION IN THE REAL MADAGSCAR-EG. EXTREME POVERTY, EXTENSIVE DEFORESTATION 1 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  27-May-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 15-Nov-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  16-Jun-2005




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