Madagascar (2005)


I saw Madagascar while on a first date when I was a sophomore on high school. I spilled my soda everywhere, hated the movie, and never went on another date with the girl. So, yeah, I didn’t like Madagascar.

It got pretty decent reviews, but I thought it lacked any of the narrative force or memorable bits of Shrek. This was the first movie that made me realize that DreamWorks was operating within a formula it had been gradually refining. But here, those calculations show: The celebrity voicework distracts rather than elevates the film. With maybe three exceptions, the jokes fail to land… even to a fifteen year-old.

Everybody seemed to think the penguins were absolutely HILARIOUS, but to me, they were merely an amusing diversion. And even as far as amusing diversions go, I smiled less than I did at — say — the Scrat portions of Ice Age.

Somehow, this movie got a 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. I simply cannot accept that more than half of critics gave this film a positive review. Then again, maybe I’m forever biased because I saw this movie on a bad date.

Verdict: Overrated

Favorite moment: For about fifteen minutes, I was actually intrigued by the fact that these animals had a relationship. And, in the film’s most thought-provoking moment, it considers this: Why would a lion be friends with its prey? Wouldn’t it want to eat them? The movie answers: Yes, it would.


I saw Jumper (2008) in theaters on my first date ever. Since the break-up, I’ve been unable to disassociate that movie from that girl. Luckily, it wasn’t a very good movie, but I don’t think I want to do first dates in a movie theater anymore.

To contrast, I saw Madagascar for my elementary school birthday party (or someone’s birthday, I think). It converted me and my rambunctious friends into “I like to move it, move it” fiends. It made for some good memories, but I think I liked almost every movie I saw when I was little. Under more critical lens, it’s quite obvious that Madagascar is hilariously unthoughtful, except for maybe the moment when Alex the lion succumbs to his predator side.

I mean, that’s actually a cool idea for the basis of a story. How many movies have had talking animals living harmoniously with one another? And when animals do hunt other animals, the prey never seems able to speak. Here, Alex hunts Marty, a zebra with fully functional human characteristics. Now that’s cool. But then one must eventually ask themselves: So what?

I didn’t like the idea of talking toys because I thought talking toys were cool. I liked the idea because the toys meant something. They were used to explore human fears stemming from jealously, abandonment, and even death. Now that’s engaging. That’s provocative. That’s thoughtful. Madagascar has a plot not worth discussing because it doesn’t care about answering the big questions. The questions that count.

This doesn’t mean Madagascar is a bad movie. I think kids will like it; I know I did. I’m actually sort of excited for a new DreamWorks penguin movie, even though I’m not proud to admit it. With that said, I do still agree with Dan–this movie isn’t as hilarious as it should be, so it doesn’t do enough to warrant a recommendation from me. It doesn’t do enough to merit its own financially successful franchise.

Verdict: Overrated

Favorite moment: An old lady beats the crap out of Alex the lion. What can I say? I love Tom and Jerry, slapstick humor.

Final Grade: D+ (69%)–It isn’t as funny as it should be, so it doesn’t do enough to merit its own franchise.

For the full article: http://earnthis.net/animation-evaluation-dreamworks-1998-2006/


6 Replies to “Madagascar (2005)”

    1. I can’t tell whether you’re saying poor girls because they went on a date with us or because they are missing out on an awesome boyfriend (Dan is married!), but either way, I agree. Poor girls! They’ve both somehow worked themselves into our Madagascar review.

  1. This film is a damn mess. They literally switch protagonists within half an hour of the movie, the plot is a thin, hollow mess with some holes, and the humor, OH MY GOSH. The characters suck too. When I had to write my review for it over a year ago, I agreed that this movie established the DreamWorks formula that is known, and it worked for this film, because it was a success. I could barely make it through the film, and never want to see it again. I am sorry for Don that his romantic life is attached to this piece of shit. If anything, you two were too nice to it.

      1. Lol. I don’t know if I lost my sanity in that one, but I do remember that I almost stopped writing mid review. Truly a horrid film.

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