Madagascar (2005 film)
|Directed by||Eric Darnell
|Produced by||Mireille Soria|
|Written by||Mark Burton
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Editing by||Clare De Chenu
Mark A. Hester
H. Lee Peterson
Pacific Data Images
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures|
|Running time||86 minutes|
Madagascar is a 2005 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation, and released in movie theaters on May 27, 2005. The film tells the story of four Central Park Zoo animals who have spent their lives in blissful captivity and are unexpectedly shipped back to Africa, getting shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar. The voices of Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, and David Schwimmer are featured. Other voices include Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andy Richter.
Despite its mixed critical reception, it was a success at the box office.
At the Central Park Zoo, Marty the zebra is celebrating his tenth birthday, but longs to see the rest of the world from outside his pampered life at the zoo, believing that he can find wide-open spaces to run around in, like Connecticut. Marty's best friend, Alex the lion attempts to cheer up his friend by singing Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" with him. Still unsatisfied, Marty gets some tips from the zoo's penguins; Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. The penguins are similarly trying to escape the zoo. Marty's friends—Alex the lion, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippopotamus—realize Marty's folly and try to follow him. The four, along with the penguins and the chimpanzees Mason and his silent friend Phil eventually find themselves at Grand Central Station, but are quickly sedated by tranquilizer darts when Alex's attempt to communicate with humans is mistaken for aggression. The zoo (under pressure from animal-rights activists) is forced to ship the animals, by sea, to a Kenyan wildlife preserve. During their travels, the penguins escape from their enclosure and take over the ship, intent on taking it to Antarctica. Their antics on the bridge cause the crates containing Alex, Marty, Melmen, and Gloria to fall off the boat and wash ashore on Madagascar.
The animals are soon able to regroup, initially believing themselves to be in the zoo at San Diego, California. Upon exploring, however, they come across a pack of lemurs led by King Julien XIII, and quickly learn of their true location. Alex blames Marty for their predicament and attempts to signal for help to get back to civilization. Marty, on the other hand, finds the wild to be exactly what he was looking for, with Gloria and Melman soon joining him in enjoying the island. Alex eventually comes around, though his hunting instincts begin to show; he has been away from the pampered zoo life of prepacked steaks for too long. The group is accepted by the lemurs, though King Julien's adviser, Maurice, cautions them about Alex's predatory nature. King Julien ignores Maurice's concerns and persuades the group to help the lemurs fend off the fossa, who hunt the lemurs as prey. While initially Alex scares the fossa away and is worshiped by the lemurs, he later enters a feeding frenzy under his starvation and attacks Marty. Realizing that Alex is now a threat to them, King Julien banishes Alex to the far side of the island, where the fossa live. Marty begins to regret his decision to leave the zoo, seeing what Alex has turned into, and realizing how hard it is to survive with so many predators around the island.
The penguins, having been to Antarctica and found that it "sucks", land the boat on Madagascar. Seeing this as a chance to return Alex to New York, Marty rushes after his friend against the wishes of the others. Marty attempts to convince the now grizzled, starving Alex to return, but Alex refuses in fear of attacking him again, despite Marty using the "New York, New York" song. The penguins, Gloria and Melman go to find Marty, but are trapped by the fossa. At the last minute, Alex finally overcomes his predatory nature and scares the fossa away from the lemur territory forever. The lemurs regain their respect for Alex and the penguins help him satisfy his hunger through sushi instead of steak. As the lemurs throw a bon voyage celebration for the foursome, the penguins decide not to break the news that the ship has run out of fuel, and that they are still stuck on the island.
- Ben Stiller as Alex
- Chris Rock as Marty
- David Schwimmer as Melman
- Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria
- Sacha Baron Cohen as King Julien
- Cedric the Entertainer as Maurice
- Andy Richter as Mort
- Tom McGrath as Skipper
- Chris Miller as Kowalski
- John DiMaggio as Rico (uncredited)
- Christopher Knights as Private
- Conrad Vernon as Mason (Phil is unvoiced)
- Fred Tatasciore and Tom McGrath as the Fossa
- Elisa Gabrielli as Nana
- Bob Saget as zoo animal (animal unclear)
- David Cowgill as Police Horse
- Stephen Apostolina as Police Officer
Alex the Lion is the most popular animal at the Central Park Zoo. Nicknamed The King of New York, he is very happy with life in the zoo. When the characters first arrive in Madagascar, he is the loudest proponent of trying to return to the zoo. He is extremely fond of eating steaks but has no idea that they come from animals until he goes into withdrawal after 2 days of not eating after reaching Madagascar.
Marty the Zebra is the instigator behind escaping from the zoo. He constantly dreams about the wild (which he, due to Melman's misinformation, interprets as Connecticut) and wonders what life would be like beyond the zoo. One night, following the successful escape of the penguins, he leaves the zoo too, causing his friends to attempt a rescue at Grand Central Station. After they are recaptured from the train station, animal rights activists hold a rally, leading the zoo to have them and the rest of the animals shipped to a wildlife preserve in Kenya. However, the penguins hijack the ship and accidentally cause the crates containing Marty and his friends to fall off. The crates float on the ocean until they reach Madagascar.
Melman the Giraffe is a hypochondriac who was transferred to the Central Park Zoo as a young adult. Because of his previous stay in the Bronx Zoo, Melman believes that he's a real worldly guy, the most experienced in his circle of friends. He's also on a lot of medication and has lots of experience in MRI machines.
Gloria the Hippopotamus serves as the mediator and the nurturer of the group who takes care of the others and tends to take charge when needed and loves to eat and live the good life.
The Penguins, a group of four consisting of Skipper, Rico, Kowalski, and Private, spend their days planning an escape that will take them back to Antarctica. When the penguins do make it to Antarctica, they are surprised to see a cold, barren land that they do not like and so, decide to take the ship to what they consider "paradise": Florida. However, having run out of fuel, they beach the ship in Madagascar. Skipper is the leader of the group. Kowalski, the smartest and tallest of the penguins, thinks of plans and takes notes for Skipper. Private is distinguishable by his googly eyes and soft English accent; he is the youngest of the group. Rico is good with knives, has a fondness for explosives, and is the only one of the four seen swimming. He also regurgitates useful objects (a variation of the "magic satchel") such as a piece of wire for picking locks with. Alex describes the penguins as psychotic (while they say the same of him). Skipper calls Marty their "monochromatic friend", amusing since both kinds of animals are "black and white".
King Julien XIII the Ring-tailed Lemur is the self-proclaimed King of the Madagascar lemurs. Julien speaks with an Indian accent and loves to sing, dance, and be the center of attention. Julien is annoyed by the lemur Mort and even suggests feeding him to Alex in order to help him get over his addiction to steak. He wears a crown made out of leaves, and later a larger one that features a gecko. The other lemurs hang on his every word. He is slightly deranged and overly impressed by his modest intellect. Julien is also very weird and dramatic. He contrives a plan to use Alex to protect the lemurs from their natural enemies, the fossa, as long as Alex doesn't overshadow his own glory. According to a May 26, 2005 interview with Director Tom McGrath in the Seattle Post Intelligencer, "We had this two-line character, Julian [sic], and we got a tape of the show 'Ali G' with Sacha Baron Cohen. He came in and he invented this Indian accent. We gave him a couple of lines and he turned them into eight minutes of dialogue. We were just in tears on the floor and thought, 'This guy has to be the king.' So that was just a two-line part that he invented and it turned into that role."2
Maurice the Aye-aye is Julien's assistant and second in command of the lemurs. He is in charge of announcing Julien to his court, though he finds this task tedious. He is generally less impressed by Julien than the other lemurs. Maurice shows the most intelligence in Julien's court, and is the only one to recognize Alex as a potentially greater threat than the fossa.
Mort is a Mouse lemur that most animals find adorable, but King Julien is highly annoyed by him, eventually shouting "Oh, shut up, you're so annoying!" in response to his inane chatter. Mort responds to this by giggling and looking flattered. He has an obsession with feet; to be precise, King Julien's feet. In the commentary for the film, the director mentioned that Mort was actually 35, despite his childish behavior.
The Fossas are predators native to Madagascar, who resemble hyenas or half-cat half-dog creatures. Known as the top predators in the island of Madagascar, the fossa are the villains of the movie, constantly trying to kill and eat the lemurs. According to Julien, "they're always annoying us by trespassing, interrupting our parties, and ripping our limbs off". They are cowards, however, and always flee when confronted by a bigger predator, such as Alex. They also use foreign objects such as salt and pepper shakers.
Despite appearances, the pronunciation in the film ("foo-sah") is accurate, however the spelling (Foosa or Fousa) is not, as shown in one of the signs on the island.
Mason and Phil are the sophisticated chimpanzees at the Central Park Zoo, preferring to "read" the newspaper and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning; for them, freedom means attending a Tom Wolfe lecture to "fling poo at him." Mason speaks with a RP accent and plans the daily affairs for Phil and himself, but is unable to read. He is named for James Mason, whose voice inspired the character's portrayal. Phil doesn't speak, making him initially seem less intelligent and more primitive than his comrade, but can read English and "speaks" American Sign Language (which he uses to communicate with Mason), which instills the idea that Phil is perhaps the more cerebral of the two. Both escape from the zoo in the beginning of the movie after Alex, Gloria, and Melman leave for Grand Central Station; they are later caught at Grand Central trying to rob a teller. They are also sent to the wildlife reserve along with the main characters. Unlike the main characters, they don't wash up on the shores of Madagascar, however they do appear in the background of the final scene in their crate on the ship. In their first scene in the movie, they raid a waste basket for leftover coffee, a bagel, and a newspaper. Their crate on the ship is full of aluminum cans (in the DVD, it is indicated that they contain root beer, not beer, likely implemented in order to make the film more family-friendly). According to a May 26, 2005 interview with Director Tom McGrath in the Seattle Post Intelligencer the chimp's "first scene was just deciphering the code on the shipping label. We got this girl who knew American Sign Language. We wanted (the gestures) to be really frenetic so she signed out, 'Tell the tiny pea-brained birds that the sign reads: Ship to ...' and it gave us enough hand gestures. Then we went back to 'I see that Tom Wolfe is speaking at Lincoln Center,' and she gestured, 'Can we throw our poo at his stupid white suit?'."2
The film gained mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 55% approval rating based on 178 reviews.3 On Rotten Tomatoes' "Cream of the Crop", 37% of critics gave positive reviews based on 35 reviews.4 On Metacritic, the film has 57% approval rating based on 36 reviews falling under the "Mixed or Average" category.5
Despite the mixed response from critics, the film was a commercial success. On its opening weekend, the film grossed $47,224,594 with a $11,431 average from 4,131 theaters making it the number 3 movie of that weekend behind Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and The Longest Yard.6 However, the film managed to claim the top position in the U.S. box office the following week with a gross of $28,110,235.7 In the United States, the film eventually grossed $193,595,521, and in foreign areas grossed $339,085,150 with a summative worldwide gross of $532,680,671.8 As of December 2013, the film is the ninth highest-grossing DreamWorks animated feature behind Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek, Shrek Forever After, How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Kung Fu Panda, and Monsters vs. Aliens.9
The film has currently won three awards and several nominations.10
|AFI's 10 Top 1011||Animated||Nominated|
|Annie Award10||Best Animation||Nominated|
|Animated Effects||Matt Baer||Nominated|
|Animated Effects||Rick Glumac||Nominated|
|Animated Effects||Martin Usiak||Nominated|
|Character Design in an Animated Feature Production||Craig Kellman||Nominated|
|Music in an Animated Feature Production||Hans Zimmer||Nominated|
|Production Design in an Animated Feature Production||Yoriko Ito||Nominated|
|Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production||Tom McGrath||Nominated|
|Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production||Catherine Yuh Rader||Nominated|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Animated Movie||Won|
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
|Released||May 26, 2005|
|Genre||Soundtrack, disco, new age|
|1.||"Best Friends"||Hans Zimmer, Heitor Pereira, Ryeland Allison & James S. Levine||2:24|
|2.||"I Like to Move It"||Erick Morillo & Mark H. Quashie||Sacha Baron Cohen||3:51|
|3.||"Hawaii Five-O"||Morton Stevens||The Ventures||1:49|
|4.||"Boogie Wonderland"||Allee Willis & Jonathan G. Lind||Earth, Wind & Fire||4:49|
|5.||"Whacked Out Conspiracy"||James Dooley||2:16|
|6.||"Chariots of Fire"||Evangelos Papathanassiou||Vangelis||3:29|
|7.||"Stayin' Alive"||Barry Gibb, Maurice Gibb & Robin Gibb||the Bee Gees||4:44|
|8.||"Zoosters Breakout"||Hans Zimmer||1:39|
|9.||"Born Free"||John Barry||1:24|
|10.||"The Fossa Attack"||Heitor Pereira||0:37|
|11.||"Beacon of Liberty"||Hans Zimmer & James S. Levine||2:09|
|12.||"What a Wonderful World"||Bob Thiele & George David Weiss||Louis Armstrong||2:16|
Sequels and spin-offs
A sequel titled Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa was released on November 7, 2008, and picked up right where the first one left off, with the same voice cast. A second sequel, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, was released on June 8, 2012. A short film called The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper was released with the Madagascar DVD, and was theatrically released with Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in the United States. A 2009 spinoff series, The Penguins of Madagascar, premiered in March 2009 on Nickelodeon. It is the first Nicktoon to be produced by both Nickelodeon and DreamWorks. Merry Madagascar, a holiday special featuring characters from the film series, premiered on November 17, 2009 on NBC. Madly Madagascar, a Valentine's Day special featuring characters from the film series, was released on DVD on January 29, 2013.
- "Madagascar". The Numbers. Retrieved December 3, 2012.
- Axmaker, Sean (May 25, 2005). "A moment with ... Tom McGrath, director of 'Madagascar'". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
- "Madagascar Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-10-24.
- "Madagascar (Cream of the Crop)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
- "Madagascar Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for May 27-29, 2005". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
- "Weekend Box Office Results for June 3-5, 2005". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 27, 2010.
- "Madagascar (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- "DreamWorks Animation Movies at the Box Office". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
- Soares, Andre (February 4, 2006). "Annie Awards 2006". Annie Awards via Alt Film Guide. Retrieved May 22, 2008.
- "AFI's 10 Top 10: Official Ballot". AFI. Retrieved September 11, 2011.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Madagascar|
- Official website
- Madagascar at the Internet Movie Database
- Madagascar at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Madagascar at Rotten Tomatoes
- Madagascar at Metacritic
- Madagascar at Box Office Mojo