A curious blend of ideas really, the whole film is made to look quite sensible in terms of how things should look in reality. But there is a kind of Tex Avery/Chuck Jones feel to the main characters that is quite nice but also someone childish compared to the backgrounds and vista's we see. You then have the set up that the animals can all talk to each but not to humans, yet they can perform human acts without question.
The film slides from slightly emotional to sensible to most of the time outright off the wall. The plot is childishly simple naturally but it works OK, it actually gets a little twisted once Alex the lion goes savage when his animal instinct kicks in. Problem is once the animals break out from New York the film becomes very average very quickly. Seeing how the animals live within their city dwelling was pretty good and made for some good clever laughs, nothing hilarious I might add but it worked.
The animals using the subway and at one point getting kicked in the nuts by an old lady does push the boundaries of even this fantasy. Unfortunately even that can't top the dreadful Lemurs they encounter on Madagascar, their leader for some reason given an Indian accent which is hideously unfunny.
The penguins were by far the best of the bunch for me as a small squad of military types led by Skipper who sounds remarkably like Zap Brannigan from 'Futurama'. I can see why they got their own spin off. The rest of the animals are voiced well by a good team of big names but they aren't overly interesting really. Rock is plain annoying and that's the end of it, whilst Schwimmer is surprisingly well matched as the hypochondriac giraffe. Stiller does what he does in pretty much everything he's in, its fine.
Overall a very bright start but it just fades into a bland generic mess that includes a god awful hip hop sequence. The animation is fair, some smart visual gags here and there and the penguins are a great success but apart from that its all very meh. The impression I got was no one was sure which way they wanted to go with this film, so many alternative ideas colliding, bit of a mess.
I love pop culture references, and movies that feature them out the wazoo (I am a huge Tarantino fan), but it helps if there's somehting else along with it instead of just jokes and witty references to entertain the adults. Some of the jokes here fall flat for me, and, while I liked that they referenced The Mission, the specific reference is a bit too heavy and ill-suited for the vibe of things.
I did like the cast, and the film has decent animation, but overall, it is perhaps a bit too manic and rapid-cut edited. I say that, and I have ADHD. Hell, I must be getting really old or something. I dunno. This isn't a bad film (a tad above average), but I guess I just want (or was expecting) more.
While some of the graphics are sub-par to other movies I've mentioned, like Alex the Lion (voiced by Ben Stiller) for instance. At times they look sort of like clay-motion or something, and other they look positively life-like. The scenery and the lemurs stand out as the most beautifully rendered parts of the movie.
The voices are done well and they really match with the characters, but that's mostly it. There is not a lot of character development. I give it an average at best. It is watchable bot that is it for me. The story was handled too weakly. This movie really had potential.
Madagasca is a brillaint childrens animated movie, that is hilarious, entertaining and just the most fantastic character there is!
The penguins and king julian are probably the funniest animated animals in the history of animated movies, its really an enjoyable light hearted movie thats just fun to watch!!