Brought to you by the same people who brought us Shark Tales and Shrek, Madagascar really does not live up to all of the pre-screening hype. The animation is high quality and the script is average, though I do have to admit that I am a sucker for animal films. Madagascar is definitely a film that the whole family can enjoy; the many kids in attendance were laughing quite a bit and there were jokes in the movie that were definitely intended for adults.

Marty the zebra (Chris Rock – Down to Earth and Dogma), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith – The Matrix Reloaded and Ali), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer – television series Friends), and Alex the lion (Ben Stiller -Something About Mary and Dodge Ball) are all friends who live in the New York Central Park Zoo. They live very sheltered lives at the zoo and know nothing about the outside world. One day Marty sees the penguins trying to dig their way out of the zoo so they can escape to the "wild"; this sets Marty to thinking about the world outside the zoo. Gloria, Melman, and Alex throw Marty a 10th birthday party. While blowing out his candles, Marty makes a wish to go back to the wild. Showing his naïveté, Marty thinks that Connecticut is the wild and tries to convince his friends to go there with him. Gloria, Melman, and Alex tell him that this is a bad idea.

In the middle of the night, Melman discovers that Marty is gone. The friends head towards Grand Central Station to try and find Marty. The penguins have also made it as far as the train station. Marty and all the other animals are caught by the police. Animal rights activists are in an uproar saying that this shows that the animals are distressed and do not belong in the zoo. Marty and his friends are packed in crates and loaded on a ship heading to Kenya. Alex and Marty get into a fight while in their crates and the four crates are knocked off the ship. The animals wash up on a desert island and meet up with a bunch of crazy lemurs. After Alex saves the lemurs from the foosas (hyena-like animals that eat the lemurs), Marty and his friends find out they are in Madagascar and there are no humans. Alex is quite angry at Marty and blames Marty that he is no longer being pampered like he was at the Central Park Zoo. All the other animals are herbivores so they can survive on seaweed and plant life, but Alex craves meat. Alex begins to see all the other animals as steaks. He even goes so far as to bite Marty, his best friend. Alex decides that it is best if he isolates himself from the rest of the animals.

Meanwhile, Marty, Gloria and Melman see the ship. The penguins have taken over command of the ship and beach it on Madagascar. Marty goes to look for Alex to tell him they are getting off the island. Alex is hiding in the foosa territory and Marty, while looking for him, gets cornered by them. Gloria, Melman and the penguins try to rescue him but it does not look good; they are going to need Alex's help if they are going to save Marty and get back to New York.

This film is enjoyable but do not expect the sophistication level of Shrek or Finding Nemo; we have been spoiled by these to films. Madagascar also uses many clever references to other movies (Cast Away and American Beauty) and television shows (Regis and Kelly), which should keep adults entertained. The animation, which uses many bright colours, is great and it is amazing to see how they have drawn the animals to resemble the humans doing the voice-overs. The use of high profile voices is not as distracting as it sometimes is in other films; David Schwimmer as the hypochondriac giraffe is the best of the bunch. Sometimes the supporting animals upstage the lead ones; the penguins, the crazy lemur king (Sacha Baron Cohen – better known as Ali G) and the two monkeys (my personal favourites) are a riot!! Bring the whole family, for a fun night at the movies.

DVD Special Features:

– The All-New "I Like To Move It, Move It" music video
– Hear the first-ever Penguin Commentary as they give their take on the film
– Escape with games and activities, fun for the whole family…including "Fossa Whack"
and "Learn To Draw"
-Go Behind the Scenes… "Get The Inside scoop' with "Behind the Crates," "The Tech
Of Madagascar" and "Mad Mishaps."
– Help The Penguins crack the code a get a special surprise!!
– Plus much more from your Madagascar friends!!

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