Tuesday 18th January 2022

Madagascar (U)
Directed by: Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
Looks good, shame about the story
Looks good, shame about the story

It's hard work reviewing children's films. I'm not a child (at least technically), but I can't review a film like Madagascar without bearing in mind that it was made for children. What I'm about to say may sound a little bit harsh, but let's face the truth: kids like anything.

They don't care about finely crafted storylines, beautiful direction and a sparkling script. In my experience, they're happy to watch brightly coloured films with rehashed, easy to understand storylines in which cuddly characters with silly voices fall over and get hit in the face. So I can tell you now, if you want to take your children to see Madagascar, they'll love it. But you knew that already, didn't you?

So let's delve a little deeper. A children's film can also be a good film. Beauty and the Beast was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in 1991 and films like The Wizard of Oz, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang are still memorable and successful today. Films like Toy Story and The Incredibles are proof that original storylines and great action and dialogue can still be found in the kids' films of today, if the care and attention is put in.

So it's disappointing to see a company like DreamWorks failing to come up to scratch again, with another forgettable attempt that makes me think the people behind it are getting more and more lazy. They've hired a great cast in David Schwimmer (Friends), Chris Rock and Ben Stiller (Dodgeball, Zoolander) and the visuals are lovely looking, which shows that the budget was there to make a good film. However, the storyline is simple and unintriguing (and it took two people to come up with it!) and the script is hardly littered with jokes and action packed scenarios.

So once again I find myself saying the same thing I always say about animated films: the storyline was lacking, the jokes were too few, the film spoofs were too many (and kids don't get them) and it simply didn't come close to any of the films made by Pixar. I write this knowing that you'll take your kids to see it anyway, and that they'll enjoy it, but I find this whole approach to film making cynical and an easy way to make money without putting in the effort the audience deserves.

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Length: 86 minutes
Certificate: U
Official Site:
IMDB Link:
Release Date: 15th July 2005

Top Five Rating: 50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0%50.0% (50.0%)
User Rating: 47.5%47.5%47.5%47.5%47.5%47.5%47.5%47.5%47.5%47.5% (47.5%)

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