Saturday, June 25, 2005
Movie Review: 'Madagascar'
For everyone, there are times when we feel unhappy with our lot in life and wish we could escape our mundane existence of work, rest, and play. We are no different to Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo who are best friends in New York Central Zoo. Day after day they entertain the crowds with their antics. They are well cared for with food and shelter and the their caretakers are kind. But Marty the Zebra dreams of a wild paradise beyond the bars of his enclosure. When it becomes too much, he decides to break out in search of "the wild". His other three friends, distressed at his disappearance, go on a search to find him and bring him home. And, thus, the adventure begins. Madagascar is a rather bland offering from DreamWorks that comes nowhere near the high quality we have come to expect from contemporary animation films like Toy Story and Shrek. But the kids will love it (on the way home you are bound to hear your kids singing Move It! from the sound track) and there are some clever allusions to other, more adult, movie fare (watch out for a very quick reference to Cast Away when the animals are on their jungle island). There are some funny moments here and there. But overall, this is a movie that is mainly for the younger population. My favourite characters in the movie are the army of penguins who are obsessed with tunnelling their way out of the zoo to freedom. These penguins are responsible for what, for me, was the best line in the whole movie -- but I won't spoil it by telling you what it is. Overall, a very moderately entertaining kids movie with a pretty cliched plot and some gentle morals on friendship. My Rating: *** (out of 5) Best Review 'Dishes up some very corny jokes, but the images have a brighter-than-life vivacity.' - Owen Gleiberman/Entertainment Weekly Worst Review 'The animation is deft but the screenplay is stilted, the voice-performances are unimaginative, and the whole project is surprisingly clumsy in its efforts to please young and old alike. A major disappointment.' - David Sterritt/Christian Science Monitor Content Warnings mild language, crude humor and some thematic elements