My Opinion right after watching movie
My opinion of Madagascar right after watching it is that it is less than stellar. It’s not really good, but it’s not horrible…… kind of just dull, slow-paced, and just eh. The comedy is good at some points (thank the lord most of it is slapstick), the characters are likable, but I kind of found it to be boring and underwhelming. Like I mentioned in my last review, DreamWorks Animation were determined to get the big bucks by using more pop-culture jokes and celebrity voices than usual, and started to lose their creativity and became mediocre at best and awful at worst until the mid 2000s, and this movie is proof of that. This film is just for kids under 12 years old.
There is not as much info of the production of this film than I expected to find, but there is enough. Originally, the plot was going to be a bunch of activists letting go of the animals and Melman was supposed to be an opaki, but they changed it because no one knows what that is. The penguins were supposed to be a Beatles-like musicians and they were supposed to be in another project that never came to be called “Rockumentary”, but director Eric Darnell who was moved to Madagascar, he brought the penguins to the project as well. The DreamWorks composer Harry GregsomnWilliams was to score the film, but was switched out for another DreamWorks regular Hans Zimmer.
The story starts with Alex (Ben Stiller) interrupting Marty (Chris Rock) from his daydream of running in the wild because it is Marty’s 10th birthday. He gives Marty a gift which has Alex’s face on it.
So the zoo opens and they do their normal routine and after customers start to leave, the penguins (who tried to escape the zoo make a hole in Marty’s section and they think they made it to Antarctica, but he reveals they’re still in the zoo. This gives him the idea to escape the zoo to go in the wild a.k.a Conneticut.
In the evening after they get their spa-like treatment, they celebrate Marty’s birthday. Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pickett Smith) give his presents and they give him a cake so he can make his wish. After he does so, they ask him what did he wish for and he said he wished to go to the wild, shocking the three of them.
So after the three of them (especially Alex) makes him feel bad about his dream, Gloria tells him to cheer Marty up which he does for a minute with them singing their special song before the other zoo animals tell them to shut the fuck up. Marty asks Alex if he wants to leave with him and he refuses.
A few hours later, Melman wakes them up to tell them that Marty is missing and they realize he went to Connecticut. They decide to go after him
While the three animals go on the subway freaking everyone out, Marty asks a horse for directions to Grand Central Station. All four end up there and they yell and Marty before a bunch of cops show up to handle them.
The humans then decide that the animals should be transferred back to the wild where they should be free because they think the event at Grand Central Station symbolized that. The 4 end up in boxes and think they’re going to be transferred from another zoo, and argue because of the predicament they are in, without realizing they are going to the wild.
Alex boards on the coast first, then Melman, Gloria, and finally Marty. After a bunch of over-the-top attempts to be comedic, Alex tries to beat up Marty for getting them in the situation and wait……WHAT!
They think they are in a zoo in San Diego and they follow Alex who hears a noise, which is a bunch of lemurs led by King Julian (Sacha Baron Cohen) having a party and singing “I Like to Move It Move It” which Marty enjoys. Alex soon joins them and sees the Foozas try to eat one of the lemurs. He asks them for help but ends up scaring them after a spider crawled on him.
King Julian realizes that they are pansies and congratulates them for defeating the foozas, but not before a bunch of comedic filler and attempts.
Story = 2.5/10
Characters = 2/10
Music = 4.5/10
Animation = 5/10
They all turn on him and they split the beach in half with Marty being all by himself. While each side is trying to build things, the lemurs meet on an old plane where King Julien (I don’t care how to spell his name properly) tells them his plan, which is to keep the 4 animals on Madagascar, so the foozas will never come back again, but Maurice who is Julien’s assistant (Cedric the Entertainer) says that they should beware the lion if the foozas were so scared too.
Melman and Gloria abandoned Alex for Marty (I would have done that in the beginning of the film) and he joins them when he hears them having fun and finally apologizes. They all have fun but when they eat seaweed on a stick, Alex thinks it is beyond gross and his animal instincts start to kick in.
So they wake up to find out the lemurs moved them to the middle of the jungle and they introduce them to Madagascar. They see the land and lake, and are impressed. They run around and get pampered, but Marty demands Alex to do his act and while he does so, his animal instincts start to come in and sees everyone as a piece of steak.
Maurice banishes Alex from them and he starts to chase Marty and eat him, but he is distracted and realizing what he just tried to do, he calls himself a monster and goes to the fooza territory with the other 3 starting to not like the wild anymore. They see the boat and are more than excited, but Marty decides to go get Alex, to the chagrin of Gloria. The boats and the penguins reveal themselves and they realize Marty went to get Alex. Alex tells him he does not want to hurt him and how he’s a monster, but Marty does not care and is not leaving without Alex.
The foozas chase after Marty, who is almost saved by Melman and Gloria, then by the penguins, and is finally saved by Alex, who the foozas think s going to eat them.
They all celebrate and Alex asks Marty if he wants to stay here, and he says that he does not care, as long as the 4 of them are together. They all agree on travelling around the world before returning back home, but getting stuck since the boat is out of gas, A.K.A. a perfect opening for the sequels Madagascar:Escape 2 Africa, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, and the ones in development.
The animation in this film is interesting. While at times it looks dated and clunky, but the movements are really fluid (almost too much) and the way they animated the movements and backgrounds are really interesting. The humans in this film and even the background ones kind of remind me of the cell-shaded CGI people in Hunchback just by the way they move. Speaking of movement, how the animal characters move are kind of blocky and sharp for humor slapstick effect, and it is very effective.
Hanz Zimemr took over the soundtrack this time, and to be honest, it’s not that memorable about it except for the cover song “I Like to Move It”, which is a fun song. There are a lot of pop and iconic songs like “What a Wonderful Word”. It is just alright.
Reception at Release
When this film was released in May 25 2005, it did well in the box office for DreamWorks (those BIG numbers). It opened at #3 behind Star Wars: Episode 3 – Revenge of the Sith, and The Largest Yard, making $47,224,594 on opening weekend. It made it to #1 on the following week, and overall earned $47,224,594 and $47,224,594 with a worldwide total of $532,680,671. It is the 6th highest grossing film of 2005, and because of its fabulous performance in the box office, it spawned 2 sequels and another one is currently in development.
While things went great with the box office, it did not with the critics and is a critical failure. It received mixed reviews and was liked for its animation, humor, and fun (which I somehow do not seem to see), but was panned for its problematic and slow-paced story, but we all know what DreamWorks thinks about critical reception…
For awards, it was nominated for a bunch of Annies, an AFI Top 10, and won a Kid’s Choice Award for Favourite Film.
Story = 4.5/10
Characters = 6/10
Music = 6.5/10
Animation = 7.5/10
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