To be honest, I am utterly disappointed at this movie. I had high expectation going to the theater but felt empty in my stomach afterwards. This movie doesn't even stand a chance against other Hollywood animations that I've seen in recent years, including Finding Nemo, The Incredible, and Shrek.
Don't get me wrong though, I am not saying this is not an entertaining movie, it really is. It has eough stuff to make you laugh from the beginning to the end. It has some interesting characters (or animals), such as the Pengiums and Raccoons. However, this movie has its deadly shortcomings. Here are its seven sins:
1. The underwhelming grahpics
Madagascar's graphics are arguebly even worse than Toy Story 2, which was made 6 years ago. Go figure.
2. Ben Stiller's uninspiring voice
Ben Stiller is never famous for his voice. In fact, his voice is barely reconizable. His vocal lacks command and depth for a powerful lion.
3. The Hippo that doesn't belong
Well, except for the purpose of having a female character in the movie the Hippo has virtuely no active parts in the movie. Her character is ill-defined and does not serve for a purpose. She is not even as funny as Giraffe, another character that's in the movie for the sake of being in the movie.
4. The story.. or the lack of
For more or less, a movie is about story telling (unless you are talking about porno here). The story that Madagascar is trying to tell is extremely simple: it's about how a lion becomes a sushi-lover. Oh, boy.. I am not kidding.
5. The substanceless laughs
I actually laughed quite a bit during the movie. However, most of the laughs does not involve your brain. Witty jokes are far and few. Somehow I felt like I was watching "Friends". People laugh only because Ross or Joey act silly. That's why I always think "Friends" is more like a circuit than a comedy.
6. The ending that really sucks
I will not discuss any detail for now, just in case you still plan to watch the movie.
7. The absence of a true spirit
This is actually my biggest complain. Any good animation has some sort of spirit, or essence. The original Gundam is an anti-war masterpiece. Shrek tells us how to judge a person, not by outside but rather by inside. Finding Nemo shows how family love gives us strengh and courage. Spirited Away demonstrates how greed consumes people. What about Madagascar? en.... It's not really about friendship... it's not really about pursuing your dreams.. it's not really about challenging yourself to the extreme... it's really about how a lion becomes a sushi-lover... great... how inspiring!!!
Final words: Madagascar does not warrant your hard-earned $10. You may rent it after it's on DVD.