Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Madagascar

Animals are on the loose and going "for the" wild in this new animated feature from Dreamworks, creators of Shrek.

Among the many attractions of the Central Park zoo in New York the biggest of them is no doubt Alex the lion (voice by Ben Stiller) a feline who loves his condition as the center of attention. Alex's closest buddies include sassy hippo Gloria (Jada Pikett Smith), hypochondriac giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) and his best friend Marty the zebra (Chris Rock). In contrast to Alex however Marty dreams with wide pastures where he can run free and live surrounded by nature. When Marty discovers that a group of commando penguins are planning a breakout for Antartica, he realizes his dream of living in the wild might not be that far fetched. After Marty escapes and mistakingly heads for Connecticut (because it has wide open spaces), the three amigos go to the rescue only for all of them to be captured in Grand Central Station and shipped to a wildlife reserve in Africa. The crates however fall off the ship and the four animals end up in Madagascar, an island where they are adopted by a community of lemurs. Everything seems likea great party until Alex's carnivore instinct begins to kick in and he starts seeing his friends as food.

Madagascar is a cute, fun movie about friendship and dreams. It's style is more charicaturesque (the characters were not modeled to be accurate representations of real life creatures but sort of cartoonish versions) and there is a tendency to physical comedy as opposed to other productions that might stand more on wit or sentiment. There are some adult oriented jokes but this one is for the kids, with characters they will most likely be thrilled with. Thus, Madagascar doesn't have that satirical flavor that made Shrek a favorite in the not so young, nor does it have a story as immersing as Pixar's Finding Nemo.

In a technical aspect, the animation is pretty good, specially in Alex where we can see this physical degradation from the proud, well groomed zoo attraction to this psychotic, hungry animal with steak hallucinations.

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