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Madagascar Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The plot really is basic, so the bafflement of the movie lies in its combination of visual riches and dramatic -- as well as thematic -- impoverishment.

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Michael Rechtshaffen

    It's frustrating to see this wonderful-looking, laugh-out-loud funny survival tale fall short of its potential.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The thin story, which sometimes feels like a series of one-liners strung together, is wisely kept short. But the gags are funny and the characters endearing.

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  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    Dishes up some very corny jokes, but the images have a brighter-than-life vivacity.

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  • See all Madagascar reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 7+

Cute story contains some crude humor and innuendo.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's some crude humor and sexual innuendo that will probably go over the youngest kids' head. The animals confront assorted dangerous situations, including an encounter with police, containment in crates (dark, closed spaces), a stormy sea and shipwreck, and, most alarmingly, a startling personality change in Alex, the lion, when he wants to eat his friends. There's a shooting with tranquilizer darts in which a character hallucinates to the tune of Sammy Davis Jr.'s song "Candyman" (younger viewers won't know this is about drugs, but the allusion is there). Gloria the hippo briefly appears with seaweed on her body, simulating "pasties" on breasts and crotch area. The lemurs are hunted by scary hyena-like creatures. A secondary plot has a crew of penguins acting like spies, which has them tunneling out of the zoo, knocking out a ship's captain, and stealing an ocean liner.

  • Families can talk about the film's portrayals of friendships and how friends can deal with their companions' different personalities. Did you relate to any of the friendships portrayed here?
  • Families can also discuss the film's use of cliches and stereotypes as jokes (the "island" music that characterizes the lemur community, the whiny hypochondriac, the fey lemur king). Why do movies use so many stereotypes? At what point do stereotypes do harm?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true1

    Educational value: Intended for entertainment, not education, but kids might pick up a bit about what kinds of animals live in Madagascar.

  • message true2

    Messages: Overall the movie is about friendship and overcoming individual desires for the greater good. It's all very lighthearted, so the messages aren't going to make a huge impact here. Some conflicts and selfishness.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The main characters are generally positive with exaggerated personalities for comic effect. Some of the humor relies of stereotypes -- a whiny hypochondriac, the fey king -- and soem characters are particularly sneaky and mischevious.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: Fossas attack lemurs; lion attacks his friends, no explicit violence, but some startling imagery.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Brief shot of girl hippo pretending to wear "pasties."

  • language false1

    Language: Words are suggested ("dam" used with "Hoover," "shh" leading to "sugar," etc.). Plus "sucks" and "shut up."

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: The movie has become a major franchise with plent of merchandise available for sale.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Lion shot with tranquilizers hallucinates.