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Madagascar
2005 - PG - 86 Mins.
Director: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
Producer: Mireille Soria
Written By: Mark Burton, Billy Frolick, Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath
Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: www.madagascar-themovie.com/
   

Put your paws up and your mane down.
DreamWorks, the company behind the 'Shrek' franchise, has gone and produced yet another computer animated motion picture in the form of 'Madagascar,' a film detailing the trials and tribulations of a group of animals after they escape from the Central Park zoo. They soon find themselves having to endure unforeseen perils of the wild.

It's pretty much official as official gets that hand-drawn animation ala 'The Lion King' and every classic Disney animated film is dead. If the debacle that was 'Titan A.E.' did not clue studios in on that fact, the subsequent failures of 'Treasure Planet' and 'Home on the Range' most certainly did. Now that the flashier and more quickly produced style afforded by computer animation has usurped hand-drawn animation as the new standard, companies have gone about producing hit after hit, from the aforementioned 'Shrek' films to Disney/Pixar efforts such as 'Finding Nemo' and 'The Incredibles.' Not a single computer animated film has failed at the box office as of yet (Even the film in question, 'Madagascar' has brought in audiences to the tune of over 180 million and counting) so the trend can be expected to continue. Did 'Madagascar' deserve its success? Not really as the film plays like a "Saturday Night Live" skit (if such skits were computer animated, that is) extended to 86 mostly unbearable minutes.

Filled with vibrant colors and solid animation work, there are some aspects of the film that are well done. The film manages to create a rather inventive skeletal plot outline for what, in the right hands, had the potential to be a fun film for all ages. Who wouldn't wonder how zoo animals would act if they were allowed out of their cages and into the freedom the wild would bring? It is an unfortunate ordeal how the final product turned out so bland and otherwise generic.

'Madagascar' is composed mainly of slapstick and other examples of decidedly low-brow humor. Whether it be a character repeatedly running into objects (trees, etc.) or a sequence in which one character thinks everyone around him are hunks of meat (!) waiting to be eaten, the film does not exactly aim high in its quest for laughs. What is worse though is that the attempts at low-brow humor are mostly painful in their lack of anything approaching actual cleverness. They instead are likely to inspire groans from the audience as the film subjects said audience to another lame movie-related parody or inane sight gag.

In fact, the film as a whole is all too likely to elicit groans from anyone who is not still learning the fundamentals of the English language as it lurches from one dimwitted attempt at humor to another in what ultimately ends up being a pointlessly derivative excursion into the anal of the newfangled technology that allows for computer animation on a large scale.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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