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Madagascar 2005

Spoiled by their upbringing with no idea what wild life is really like, four animals from New York Central Zoo escape, unwittingly assisted by four absconding penguins, and find themselves in Madagascar, among a bunch of merry lemurs...

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Solar rating:7.8


Imdb rating:6.9

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awesome movie...

I'll check on them later
you're right none.of them work
Funny animated film with Chris Rock and Ben Stiller playing zoo animals accidentally released into the "Wild". Nearly an 8 out of 10. Mostly all smiles with only a couple of slow spots.
It was a cute movie. Had a few good lines.
Of all of the films that I was looking forward to this summer, few held my eager anticipation more than Madagascar. I hate to admit it, but I am a computer animation junkie. Ever since I first viewed Pixar's Toy Story, I have eagerly awaited every computer animated flick -- and seldom have I been disappointed. I even found 2002's Ice Age oddly entertaining. Believe it or not, I am actually counting the days until Shrek 3 is released in theatres.

Perhaps I am drawn to the simplistic way that computer generated characters are drawn, forcing my imagination to work in overdrive. Or perhaps I am drawn to the creative stories found in such films. These stories are more "adult" than cartoons, but more "juvenile" than regular comedies -- allowing me to indulge in childish glee for an hour or two without fear of reprimand from my girlfriend. Or perhaps it is just the fact that I enjoy the computer generated animation.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for Madagascar. While some of the scenes are mildly entertaining, something really seems to be missing. Each character, in his or her own way, is fun to watch. But when all of the characters come together for interactive scenes, something seems to be missing. It's as if you can tell every actor and actress recorded their dialogue in seperate recording studios, and the film was remixed by a half-drunk sound engineer. The animation lacks the creativity of other works. In many instances, it seems very "video-gamish" (if such a word exists). The story sounded so promising after viewing the trailers, but that is where the story stops. Not much more was added to the film. It is like a film that released not only its best scenes in the trailer -- but most of the plot. Beyond that, audiences are treated to regurgitated comedy from children's films.

In the end, Madagascar felt like a lost cause. I imagine many children may find it entertaining. Why? Because there isn't anything else available this summer to watch instead. And it is certainly more entertaining than riding a see-saw. But like the see-saw, I imagine that even many children (dependent upon their attention span) will become very bored. This film is for computer animation what Disney's 2004 Home on the Range was for pen and ink -- dull. Lacking even the painful charm of last year's Shark Tales, the film is destined to sell for $10 on DVD.

If I had to watch it again -- I wouldn't. Save your money, and buy the DVD.
Madagascar B-

Thank god for the penguins. The hilarious little gangster-like waddlers run away with this movie, and in fact, salvage this otherwise disappointing effort. When a zebra who longs to be free breaks out of the Central Park Zoo, his lion, hippo and giraffe buddies set out to find him, ending up in the jungle of the titular country.

Other critics will inevitably say this DreamWorks/PDI effort doesn't measure up to Pixar's films. Duh. Pixar is so much the gold standard, DreamWorks ought to be happy to come up with silver, but this move is more aluminum. The characters and the story are fairly engaging, but something strange has happened with DreamWorks' movies.

In the mid-to-late 90s, many felt that Disney's animated movies were becoming mired in formula. When "Shrek" came along in 2001, it seemed (to some) like a breath of fresh air, as its zingy sarcasm and rapid-fire pop culture references that poked fun at the Disney way.

Ironically, that parody has very much become a formula itself, with the diminishing returns of "Shark Tale" and now this. Whether "Madagascar" is riffing on "Cast Away," "Planet of the Apes" "Chariots of Fire" or "American Beauty," the gags are becoming increasingly tired. At least the Disney formula was anchored in heart and in timeless characters. DreamWorks' movies, with their rampant contemporary riffs, are not going to age nearly as well.

With this just OK movie in their cannon, DreamWorks' best hope is a movie with the penguins as the stars, not the sidekicks. Maybe the DVD will at least provide us with a short.
It has just enough to to be likable, but pales in comparison to everything Pixar.
I wasn't really a fan of Shark Tale, but even that was slightly better in spots, and actually had a moral to the story. I enjoyed Shrek, but besides that, Dreamwork doesn't really hold a candle to any of the Pixar movies in my estimation. The bare bones of the story is that Marty (Chris Rock), a zebra at a New York zoo, is stuck in a rut and wants to move to the wild. He takes along his good friends Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Melman the neurotic giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith). The voice work is done well, but no one stood out as both Ellen DeGeneres did in Finding Nemo or Holly Hunter in The Incredibles. When Marty attempts to escape and go on the subway to Connecticut, the band follows him and they end up being shipped away. They end up on an island inhabited by lemurs and other wild, which ends up being Madagascar. Most of the jokes seem aimed, strangely enough, at the adults and they're not particularly effective; some of the subjects include HMOs and Marty cursing in a not-so-subtle way, saying Sugar Honey Iced Tea instead of you-know-what. The penguins from the commercials are cute, but they're hardly in the movie, and the monkeys are somewhat funny in their cameo roles. Overall, I think the quality of CGI-animated films, besides The Incredibles, have been going downwards.

I was expecting Madagascar to be something great. I'am not really a fan of kids movies. I rarely ever watch them. I have liked a lot of these CGI films though. Madagascar starts out promising but ultimately leads no where. There is no plot and the movie finishes without really accomplishing anything. The ending feels a little abrupt and the story is very weak. Also when compared to films such as Monster's Inc, Ice Age, Shrek, Toy Story 1 & 2, and Finding Nemo, Madagascar doesn't feel like anything special. It feels very generic. I didn't find it very funny either. The only thing that I liked about it were the voices. Chris Rock and Ben Stiller provide some great voice-acting. My favorite was the girrafe's voice which was done by David Schwimmer. Ultimately, Madagascar is an okay movie. It's nothing special and I found it a bit dull. Kids will no doubt love it.

Rating- 5/10
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