mild language, crude humor, and some thematic elements
The friendship between a New York City lion and zebra is tested when fate brings them out to the unforgiving wilderness in this computer-animated DreamWorks feature. Chris Rock does the voice of Marty the Zebra, whose longing to explore beyond his cushy Central Park Zoo boundaries is the impetus that ultimately strands him and his pals on the shores of savage Madagascar. Marty loves the new, edible scenery, but his best friend Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller) the Lion begins to starve since his diet of thick steaks has been cut off, and the rump of his friend starts to look mighty tasty. Their other friends, a hypochondriac giraffe (David Schwimmer) and a sassy hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), try their best to think of a solution as the call of the wild slowly turns the starving Alex into Marty's worst nightmare. Meanwhile the hilariously self-aggrandizing King of the Ocelots (Sacha Cohen) has a plan to use Marty to repel their own carnivore problem. This kid-oriented comedy stays adult-friendly every step of the way thanks to a clever script that mixes New Yorker humor and even some existentialism in with the pratfalls and spit-takes. Jolts of comedic brilliance are supplied by some Arctic-bound escaped con penguins, and a couple of literary apes. It's not a musical, but classic songs from the likes of Louis Armstrong and Sammy Davis Jr. keep the montages flowing loose and sassy.
"The animation is visually stunning, and the animals' stylized rendering and friendly look is in keeping with the energetic mood of the movie." (USA Today)
"[A] delightfully wacked new digitally animated comedy....Untamed fun." (Entertainment Weekly)
"MADAGASCAR offers plenty of amusement..." (Sight and Sound)
"Ben Stiller and Chris Rock's characters may be digital but the actors' personas propel their every move." (Premiere)