ⓘ Madagascar (2005 film)
Madagascar is a 2005 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by DreamWorks Pictures. It was directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath from a screenplay by Mark Burton, Billy Frolick, Darnell, and McGrath, and features an ensemble cast, consisting of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Christopher Knights, Conrad Vernon, Eric Darnell, David P. Smith, Elisa Gabrielli, Bob Saget, David Cowgill, and Stephen Apostolina.
Released on May 27, 2005, it received mixed reviews from critics, but was a success at the box office, and was one of the biggest-selling films of 2005. The film launched a franchise with a series of films, including the sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa in 2008. Another film, Madagascar 3: Europes Most Wanted was released in 2012, and a spin-off featuring the series penguin characters, Penguins of Madagascar, was released on November 26, 2014.
At the Central Park Zoo, Marty the zebra celebrates his tenth birthday but has grown bored with his daily routine and longs to experience the wild. Martys best friend is Alex the lion, who enjoys showing off for the public and his celebrity status as "the king of New York". Alex attempts to cheer Marty up, but Marty, still unsatisfied, learns that the zoos penguins - Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private - are trying to escape, and follows them out. Alex, Melman the giraffe, and Gloria the hippopotamus pursue Marty and attempt to convince him to return. The four, along with the penguins and two chimpanzees named Mason and Phil, converge at Grand Central Station where the authorities sedate them using tranquilizer guns. Under pressure from anti-captivity activists, the zoo is forced to ship the escaped animals by sea to a Kenyan wildlife preserve. During their travels, the penguins escape and take over the ship, intent on taking it to Antarctica. Their antics on the bridge cause the crates containing Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria to fall overboard and wash ashore on Madagascar.
Initially believing themselves to be at the San Diego Zoo, the animals come across a pack of lemurs led by King Julien XIII. The predatory fossa attack the lemurs, but are scared off by Alexs fearsome appearance. Alex blames Marty for the groups predicament and attempts to signal for help to get back to civilization. Marty finds the wild to be exactly what he was looking for, and Gloria and Melman soon join him in enjoying the island. Alex eventually comes around, but without the raw steaks he was provided at the zoo, hunger sets in and his prey drive begins to show. King Julien has the lemurs befriend the zoo animals in the hope that Alexs presence will keep the fossa at bay, despite his adviser Maurices warnings about Alexs predatory nature. When Alex loses control and attacks Marty, Julien realizes that he is a threat and banishes him to the predator side of the island, where the fossa live. Seeing what has happened to Alex, and how dangerous the wild can be, Marty begins to regret his decision to leave the zoo.
The penguins, having been to Antarctica and found it inhospitable, land the ship at Madagascar. Seeing the chance to return Alex to New York, Marty crosses over to the predator side and attempts to convince the grizzled, starving Alex to return, but Alex refuses out of fear that he will attack Marty again. The fossa attack Marty, and though Gloria, Melman, and the penguins come to the rescue, they are outnumbered. Alex overcomes his predatory instincts, rescues his friends, and scares the fossa away from the lemur territory forever. The lemurs regain their respect for Alex, and the penguins satisfy his hunger by feeding him sushi. As the lemurs throw a farewell celebration for the foursome, the penguins decide not to break the news that the ship has run out of fuel.
2. Voice cast
- Miller also voices Timo, a tenrec who is only seen attending Juliens meeting.
- Tom McGrath as Skipper, the leader of the penguins. McGrath, who was also the films co-director and co-writer, initially only lent his voice to the temporary tracks. Growing up with films starring tough actors like John Wayne, Charlton Heston, and Robert Stack, McGrath wanted Stack for the voice of Skipper. Stack was approached about voicing the character, but died two weeks before production on the animation began. After that, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg decided to keep the temporary voice, with McGrath explaining: "People were used to me doing that voice. We knew it worked when we screened it." Many characters traits were based on Stacks work. McGrath especially emphasized The Untouchables, a 1959 television crime drama series starring Stack.
- Chris Rock as Marty, a plains zebra. McGrath explained the character: "Marty is a guy who thinks there might be more to life than whats in the zoo. We wanted his character to be energetic, so we listened to Chris Rock."
- Chris Miller as Kowalski, a penguin and Skippers right hand.
- Sacha Baron Cohen as King Julien XIII, a ring-tailed lemur and the king of the lemurs. King Julien was initially only meant to be a "two-line" character until auditioning Baron Cohen improvised eight minutes of dialogue in an Indian accent.
- Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria, a strong, confident, but sweet hippopotamus. McGrath said that they found all these traits in Pinkett Smiths voice, when they listened to her.
- Cedric the Entertainer as Maurice, an aye-aye and King Juliens royal advisor to whom Julien never listens.
- David Schwimmer as Melman, a hypochondriac reticulated giraffe who is afraid of germs. When they were looking for a voice actor for Melman, they listened to Schwimmers voice on Friends and, according to McGrath, thought that it "sounded really neat."
- Ben Stiller as Alex, a lion. Tom McGrath explained that "Ben Stiller was the first actor we asked to perform, and we knew we wanted his character, Alex, to be a big performing lion with a vulnerable side."
- Andy Richter as Mort, a Goodmans mouse lemur.
- Jeffrey Katzenberg as Rico, a smart and silent penguin who is only expressed through grunts and squeals. Mireille Soria, the films producer, commented on Katzenbergs uncredited role: "The irony for us is that hes the one who doesnt talk. Theres something very Dadaistic about that, isnt there?"
- Katzenberg also voices Abner, a blue-eyed lemur who is only seen at the paradise scene.
- Christopher Knights as Private, an eager, lowly penguin. Knights was also an assistant editor on the film.
- Conrad Vernon as Mason, a chimpanzee.
- Darnell also voices Hector and Horst, two lemurs.
- Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath as the fossa
- Smith also voices Becca, a black lemur.
- David P. Smith as Pancho, a crowned lemur.
- Bob Saget as an unspecified off-screen zoo animal
- David Cowgill as a police horse
- Stephen Apostolina as a police officer
- Elisa Gabrielli as Nana, an elderly New Yorker
In 1998, DreamWorks and PDI had started development on an animated film titled Rockumentary without being formally announced as a parody of The Beatles in a most likely animated mockumentary of their rise and fall to fame, which featured a Beatles-esque penguin rock band. The idea was scrapped, but after production on Madagascar started, director Eric Darnell decided to revive the penguins, but make them a commando unit instead of a rock band.
4. Home media
Madagascar was released on DVD and VHS on November 15, 2005 by DreamWorks Home Entertainment. The DVD included a short animated film The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper, and a music video "I Like to Move It," featuring characters from the film dancing to the song. A Blu-ray version of the film was released on September 23, 2008.
5.1. Reception Box office
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. 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. 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. As of April 2019, the film is DreamWorks Animations ninth highest-grossing film in the United States behind Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek, Shrek Forever After, How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar 3: Europes Most Wanted, Kung Fu Panda, and Monsters vs. Aliens.
5.2. Reception Critical reception
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 54% approval rating based on 191 reviews, with an average rating of 6.07/10. The consensus reads: "Though its story is problematic in spots and its humor is hit-or-miss for the adult crowd, Madagascar boasts impressive visuals and enough spunky charm to keep children entertained." On Metacritic, the film has a 57% approval rating based on 36 reviews falling under the "Mixed or Average" category.
5.3. Reception Awards
The film has won three awards and several nominations.
In 2008, the American Film Institute nominated this film for its Top 10 Animation Films list.
6. 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: Europes 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 Valentines Day special featuring characters from the film series, was released on DVD on January 29, 2013. A spin-off film starring the Penguins was released on November 26, 2014 and a third sequel, Madagascar 4, was set for release on May 18, 2018, but it was removed from its schedule due to the studios restructuring.