After 10 blissful years living at Central Park Zoo in New York City, Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock) begins to wonder about life beyond the cage in this animated comedy. Although his best friend, Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), tells him that life in the zoo is a paradise compared to life on the outside, Marty is still unconvinced. When his curiosity finally gets the better of him, Marty finds his way out of the cage and into the city. Horrified at Marty’s escape, Alex, along with Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), goes after him. When they are all finally recaptured, zoo officials decide to send them back into the wild. But the wild is nothing like Marty had imagined. If he and his friends want to survive, they must quickly come to terms with the harsh and predatory realities of life in Madagascar. Other voices are provided by Andy Richter, Sacha Baron Cohen and Cedric the Entertainer.
Kids are absolutely going to love this film. I was packed in the middle of the theater with about twenty youngsters and my ears were full of constant laughing and giggling. It was a relief to view a Hollywood animated film without a lot of sexual innuendo (there was only one such minor occasion in this film). There are some parts of “Madagascar” that only adults will get, such as a giraffe’s desire to stop in Canada to fill his medications and avoid switching to an HMO. Another scene recreates some moments from the Tom Hanks movie “Castaway” when the animals were stuck on an island together. “Madagascar” teaches a good lesson that friends should stick together. This is especially true in the case of Marty and Alex who would do anything for each other. This film is a “must see” for families and will be enjoyed by all ages.
There are a few minor things to be aware of in this PG movie. There are four penguins whose goal is to get to Antarctica by any means necessary. They act together as a military special operations group often resorting to violence including the use of martial arts to accomplish their tasks. There are also a few instances of potty humor. One scene involves a rectal thermometer being mistaken for an oral thermometer. However, these minor things aside, this is an excellent film. I suggest booking a trip to “Madagascar” at your local theater soon.