Release Date: May 27, 2005

Movie of the Day for Wednesday, July 14, 2004
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A natural sequel to Cameron Crowe's The Wild Life.

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
13/16 Reagen Sulewski Bring on the penguins & lemurs movie.
69/85 Kim Hollis The penguins are cute, and, well, that's about it.
99/166 David Mumpower Why oh why couldn't this have been a film about the adventures of the penguins? That would have rocked.

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It's the New Zoo Revue, coming right at you!

Perhaps it's because both have pink hippos as main characters, but everytime I think of Madagascar I immediately start humming the theme to that classic '70s learning show.

In actuality, Madagascar looks to be an artistically stunning CGI film, as instead of striving to have its characters look as real as possible, PDI has instead taken inspiration from the paintings of French Impressionist Henri Rousseau for its jungles and the denizens therein. As such, Madagascar looks to set itself out from the now almost "traditional" CGI pack, with carefully crafted characters that more closely resemble 2-D animation of the past.

The movie should be quite a family affair, as in addition to a great look that is bound to catch the attention of the kiddies, Madagascar has a very recognizable voice cast, including Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Chris Rock, and David Schwimmer. No doubt those names will be prominently featured in all marketing for the film, so parents and young adults will look forward to Madagascar as much as the children who will be clamoring to see it in the theater.

Madagascar's story centers around four animal best friends who are the main attraction at the Central Park zoo. One day, one of the four disappears, so the other three escape (Tennesse Tuxedo, anyone?) to try to find him. All four are eventually rounded up and captured, and put on a ship to send them to Africa, where all of their species originate. As they are sailing, the ship wrecks and they are stranded on the island of Madagascar, which is just off the southeast coast of Africa.

Now, these are four animals who have been in the care of humans all their lives, so naturally, having to learn how to care for themselves brings about numerous comic results. Not only that, but it just happens that one of the four, Alex the Lion (Stiller) is genetically predisposed to prey on the other three. It gets more complicated, though, as when our four heros explore their new surroundings, they encounter some rave-dancing lemurs that are currently involved in battle with the cat-like, carnivorous foussas. These two warring factions use the four friends - lion, zebra, hippo and giraffe - to their benefit to try to obtain the upper hand, and as this happens, the protagonists slowly try to understand their places in nature.

With the difficulties of their traditional animation department due to the shortfall of Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, much will be riding on the next several DreamWorks animated flicks. Madagascar is one of those early "good buzz" films that has generated a lot of interest, and it's a ready-to-market product thanks to the animal characters. Look for this to be one of the highest-profile projects of 2005, with attention probably building as early as a year before release. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for Madagascar
Main Cast Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer
Director Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath
Screenwriter Billy Frolick, Mark Burton
Distributor DreamWorks
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Official Site
Rating PG
Running Time 86 minutes
Screen Count 4,131
Awards Awards page for Madagascar
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for Madagascar
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Finding Nemo 5/30/0370.25 70.25 3374 20821.00 20821.0 339.71 339.71 4.84
Monsters, Inc. 11/2/0163.48 67.75 3237 19611.00 20131.6 255.87 273.09 4.03
Toy Story 2 11/24/9957.39 68.39 3236 17735.00 20248.6 245.82 292.94 3.05
Ice Age 3/15/0246.30 48.13 3316 13966.00 13966.0 176.39 183.39 3.81
Shrek 5/18/0142.35 45.20 3587 11805.00 12118.4 267.65 285.66 6.32
Bug's Life, A 11/25/9832.83 42.20 2686 12223.00 15115.9 162.79 209.29 3.56
Toy Story 11/24/9529.14 40.39 2457 11860.00 15813.3 191.78 265.84 4.90
Antz 10/2/9817.20 22.11 2449 7023.00 8685.2 90.71 116.62 5.27



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