Madagascar (2005 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Produced by||Mireille Soria|
|Story by||Tom McGrath
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures1|
|Box office||$532.7 million|
Madagascar is a 2005 American computer-animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation, and released in 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. A sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, was released on November 7, 2008. The third film in the series, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, was released on June 8, 2012. A spin-off sequel titled Penguins of Madagascar was released on November 26, 2014, and a direct sequel, Madagascar 4, was announced for 2018, but it was removed from DreamWorks Animation's schedule due to the studio's restructuring.
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 in 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 friend—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, Melman, 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 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, compelled by hunger, he later enters a feeding frenzy 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, 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."
- Chris Rock as Marty, a zebra. McGrath explained the character: "Marty is a guy who thinks there might be more to life than what's in the zoo. We wanted his character to be energetic, so we listened to Chris Rock."
- David Schwimmer as Melman, a hypochondriac giraffe who is afraid of germs. When they were looking for a voice actor for Melman, they listened to Schwimmer's voice on Friends and, according to McGrath, thought that it "sounded really neat."
- Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria, a strong, confident, but sweet hippopotamus. McGrath said that they found all these traits in Pinkett Smith's voice, when they listened to her.
- Sacha Baron Cohen as King Julien, 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.
- Cedric the Entertainer as Maurice, an aye-aye and King Julien's royal advisor.
- Andy Richter as Mort, an adorable Goodman's mouse lemur.
- Tom McGrath as Skipper, the leader of penguins. McGrath, who was also the film's 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 in 2003, two weeks before the production on the animation started, he died. 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 character's traits were based off Stack's work. McGrath especially emphasized The Untouchables, a 1959 television crime drama series, starring Stack.
- Chris Miller as Kowalski, a penguin and Skipper's right hand.
- Jeffrey Katzenberg as Rico, a smart and silent penguin who is only expressed through grunts and squeals. Mireille Soria, the film's producer, commented the Katzenberg's uncredited role: "The irony for us is that he's the one who doesn't talk. There's something very Dadaistic about that, isn't there?"
- Christopher Knights as Private, an eager, lowly penguin. Knights was also an assistant editor on the film.
- 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
Madagascar was released to DVD and VHS on November 15, 2005. 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.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 55% approval rating based on 178 reviews. On Metacritic, the film has 57% approval rating based on 36 reviews falling under the "Mixed or Average" category.
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. 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 December 2013, the film is the ninth highest-grossing DreamWorks animated feature in the U.S. 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.
The film has won three awards and several nominations.
|AFI's 10 Top 10||Animated||Nominated|
|Annie Award||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||Erick Morillo (Instrumental)
Sacha Baron Cohen (Vocals)
|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. 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 studio's restructuring.
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