Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippopotamus (Jada Pinkett Smith) live in the New York Central Zoo, but Marty wants to live in the wild. He gets his chance when the four of them find themselves lost on a jungle island called Madagascar. They then have to befriend a tribe of lemurs and avoid both the natural predators and the predators inside themselves.
When I think of DreamWorks, my mind usually wanders to their movies that I don’t particularly like. Shrek. Shark Tale of course. But I always seem to forget that they actually do make movies I really enjoy as well. Maybe it’s because they’re always outshone by Pixar but I tend to forget movies like Madagascar exist. But watching this again I remember now how much I enjoyed it the first time I saw it. There’s not a whole lot to it and it feels like it was written by freshman writers, but it’s an entertaining movie with some really great characters.
I really love Ben Stiller in this movie. He’s not a very good voice actor but he brings a charm to the movie that works really well. David Schwimmer is great as the neurotic giraffe and Chris Rock, well, he’s Chris Rock, and I’m okay with this. Sacha Baron Cohen plays King Julian of the lemurs and has some of the best moments of the film. The accent he uses amuses me to no end and I just like how he seems to be completely unaware of his surroundings and yet competent enough to prove himself as self-proclaimed King of the Lemurs.
The animation is probably the film’s biggest downfall. That’s not to say it’s terrible. I do like the art style but it’s pretty obvious they were going for simplicity and the actual animation is a little sophomoric. They’re able to hide it with a lot of fast movement but when things slow down you can kind of see it isn’t perfectly smooth. But maybe that’s what they were going for, to go along with the art style. If that’s the case, then it just didn’t work for me. It’s still not nearly enough to keep me from watching the film again, and I recommend you give it a try as well.