With a whole slew of animated movies invading movie theaters and entertaining the masses, the recent Madagascar seemed very promising. After all, it followed the formula: amusing characters, each with their own personality quirks, an interesting plot and big stars like Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer and even Ali G lending their voices to the animals. The movie, unfortunately, does not, however, live up to the precedents set by movies such as the “Shrek” and “Toy Story” movies.
The movie starts out interesting enough albeit a little slow. The four main characters are Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo. Alex the lion, voiced by Ben Stiller is the entertainer of the four. As one of the zoo’s main attractions, he is loved immensely by crowds of school field trips as well as himself. Marty the zebra has a little more depth; finding his life at the zoo to have become empty and meaningless. Melman the giraffe is more of a comic relief character; his character is statically a hypochondriac throughout the entirety of the film. Gloria plays more of a maternal role, bringing some sense and guidance to the rest of the crew throughout their journeys.
The plot is simple. This seems as though it will give rise to a much more interesting movie as the plots of numerous other animated films were made up of simple, perhaps not very unique plots that were enhanced by the characters. Marty feels lonesome and empty at the zoo and so, with the encouragement of some penguins also looking to escape, he decides to go to Grand Central Station in the hopes that he can get a ride out of here. However, once his friends realize he is gone, they chase him down. All four of the animals are caught by an animal rescue squad and immediately taken back to the zoo – and boxed up to be sent to Madagascar. “Madagascar” is stamped onto the boxes, but this is the only point in the movie where the title is mentioned.
They never quite make it there, however, because the penguins have taken over the ship. Where they DO end up landing is a small island not even remotely close to anything else. After the animals leave the boat, the movie begins to go downhill in quality. The characters, although some fighting has occurred among them, stay largely the same so if you are expecting a character with any sort of layers, this is not the movie to see. On the island, they interact with the native creatures, however, they are even less developed than the main characters themselves and so the plot begins to lag.
Overall, the movie is cute. However, it is very clearly not “Shrek.” If you happen to be babysitting, then by all means, bring your younger companions to see this movie. Towards the end, though the characters are still entertaining, nothing happens for the bulk of the movie, mainly towards the end. The main characters were highly amusing but the overall plot leaves a lot to be desired. This movie had great potential but was somewhat of a let down and not worth the nine dollars to go see. You’re better off waiting until it’s in Blockbuster and renting it.
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