The computer animators at PDI once again display their inspiration and irreverent affection for classic hand drawn Disney movies in their latest feature length family film, "Madagascar". The studio that brought the "Shrek" series and "Shark Tale" to life expands their animated animal cast to a group of New York zoo critters that leave their captive safety for the wild world outside.
The main characters of "Madagascar" use the megastar voice talents of Chris Rock and Ben Stiller who provide recognizable personalities for people to latch onto. David Schwimmer's Giraffe provides some of the funniest moments in the movie, and Jada Pinckett Smith offers some signature sash to keep the crew in line. Despite this star power, some of the best parts of the movie come from the supporting cast.
Sacha Baron Cohen best known as Ali G, steals the show as the funky King Julian when the New York zoo-lings meander into a crazy rave scene populated by Lemurs. The Lemurs love-in adds some much needed life to the "Madagascar" pacing. Before the rave, the movie's most inspired moments come from cameos by the coffee drinking monkeys, and following the plotting penguins whose scheme to escape the zoo to Antarctica gets the storyline moving on its way.
Unfortunately the penguins and monkeys don't get anywhere near the screen time they deserve and we have to keep up with the preachy plot line of the main cast. The main "Madagascar" dilemma the crew faces when they are fully in the wild presents a quandary for meat eaters everywhere, and is resolved in the cutest way imaginable. However the ending reminds you how much you wish the movie were about the supporting cast.
as we enter the summer movie season ahead "Madagascar" stands as some quality family-centric entertainment to enjoy the air conditioning of a darkened theater with. The Disney tributes, including the brief but brilliant dream sequence with the Sammy Davis version of Candy Man confirms PDI's place as a contender in the modern animation business.
Hoping for more monkeys and penguins in the "Madagascar" DVD, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2005 - Purple - Air Date: 6/1/05
USA - 2005