Madagascar (2005 film)
|Produced by||Mireille Soria|
|Edited by||H. Lee Peterson|
|Music by||Hans Zimmer|
|Distributed by||DreamWorks Pictures|
|Box office||$556.6 million|
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 (in McGrath's feature directorial debut) and written by Mark Burton, Billy Frolick, Darnell, and McGrath. The film stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith, voicing a group of animals from the Central Park Zoo who find themselves stranded on the island of Madagascar.
Released May 27, 2005, Madagascar received mixed reviews from critics but was a success at the box office, becoming the sixth highest-grossing film of 2005. It launched the Madagascar franchise which includes the sequels Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012); the spin-off film Penguins of Madagascar (2014); several short films, television series, and specials; and a number of video games, theme park attractions, and live stage shows.
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. Marty's 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 zoo's 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.
The animals come across a pack of lemurs led by King Julien XIII. The predatory fossa attack the lemurs, but are scared off by Alex's fearsome appearance. Alex blames Marty for the group's 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 Alex's presence will keep the fossa at bay, despite his adviser Maurice's warnings about Alex's 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 found Antarctica to be 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.
- 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 plains 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 reticulated 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 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.
- Cedric the Entertainer as Maurice, an aye-aye and King Julien's royal advisor (to whom Julien never listens).
- Andy Richter as Mort, a Goodman's mouse lemur.
- Tom McGrath as Skipper, the leader of the 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 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 character's traits were based on 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.
- Miller also voices Timo, a tenrec who is only seen attending Julien's meeting.
- Jeffrey Katzenberg as Rico, a smart and silent penguin who is only expressed through grunts and squeals. Mireille Soria, the film's producer, commented on 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?"
- 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 (Phil, the other chimpanzee, is unvoiced).
- Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath as the fossa
- Darnell also voices Hector and Horst, two lemurs.
- David P. Smith as Pancho, a crowned lemur.
- Elisa Gabrielli as Nana, an elderly New Yorker. Gabrielli provided some background voices until the directors and producer asked her and her fellow actors if they wanted to try their voices for the role. Upon seing a black and white sketch of Nana, Gabrielli knew that she wanted to voice her. She modeled Nana's voice after her Russian and Hungarian grandmothers and her stepfather, though she didn't think that her voice would be kept in the finished film at first.
- Bob Saget as an unspecified off-screen zoo animal.
- David Cowgill as a police horse.
- Stephen Apostolina as a police officer.
In 1998, DreamWorks and PDI had started development on an animated film titled Rockumentary, 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.
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.
The Madagascar - Movie Storybook was written by Billy Frolick and illustrated by Michael Koelsch, and was published by Scholastic in 2005. Koelsch also illustrated the Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa - Movie Storybook in 2008.
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 $362,964,045 with a summative worldwide gross of $556,559,566.
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.
The film has won three awards and several nominations.
|AFI's 10 Top 10||Animated Film||Madagascar||Nominated|
|Annie Award||Best Animated Feature||Mireille Soria||Nominated|
|Animated Effects||Matt Baer||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|
|Catherine Yuh Rader||Nominated|
|Golden Eagle Award||Best Foreign Language Film||Madagascar||Nominated|
|Kids' Choice Awards||Favorite Animated Movie||Madagascar||Won|
|Madagascar: Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||May 24, 2005|
|Genre||Soundtrack, disco, new-age|
Madagascar is the soundtrack to the 2005 DreamWorks film of the same name. It was released by Geffen Records on May 24, 2005. Of particular critical note was the cover of "I Like to Move It" by Sacha Baron Cohen, which has since become a recurring theme song throughout the Madagascar franchise.
Sequels and spin-offs
A sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, was released in 2008, followed by Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted in 2012 and the spin-off film Penguins of Madagascar in 2014. The series has also spawned a number of television series, short films, video games, and other media, as well as theme park attractions and live stage shows.
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