Dreamworks Animation Wiki

They weren’t born in the wild... they were shipped there.

Madagascar is a 2005 computer animated comedy film produced by DreamWorks Animation, and released in movie theaters on May 27, 2005. The film tells the story of four Central Park Zoo animals who have spent their lives in blissful captivity and are unexpectedly shipped back to Africa, getting shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar. The voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, and David Schwimmer are featured. Other voices include Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andy Richter. It is DreamWorks's tenth animated feature film.

Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, it was a success at the box office, grossing $542 million worldwide against a $75 million budget. It was the Highest-Grossing Animated Film of 2005 and the sixth Highest-Grossing film of 2005 overall.

A sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, was released on November 7, 2008. The third film, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted was released on June 8, 2012. A spin-off sequel titled Penguins of Madagascar was released on November 26, 2014. A sequel, Madagascar 4, was announced for 2018, but it was later put on an indefinite hold due to the DreamWorks' 2015 restructuring.


Alex the lion, Marty the starry-eyed zebra, Melman the hypochondriac giraffe, and Gloria the “hip” hippo all have a pampered life at the Central Park Zoo, New York City. Here they show off to the crowds and generally enjoy themselves. But Marty, who is celebrating his tenth birthday, longs to see the rest of the world and dreams of life in the wild. When he learns that the zoo’s penguins are planning to escape, he decides to follow suit and return by morning. He has a vague notion that the wild can be found in Connecticut as Gloria told him that there were some wide open spaces resembling the wild. So one night, he sneaks out of the zoo and sets off on foot for Grand Central Terminal where he hopes to take the Metro-North Railroad to Connecticut.

When the others find him gone, they head for Grand Central Station via the Subway to try to get him back. Arriving at Grand Central, they scare away most of the passengers (except for one determined old lady who assaults Alex by bashing his head and his groin with her handbag), and catch Marty. Then they manage to wreck the information desk before being shot with tranquilizer darts, along with the penguins, Mason and Phil (two chimpanzees who also escaped). Anti-zoo campaigners use the incident as evidence that animals should not be locked up. Because of this, all the animals soon find themselves in wooden crates aboard a cargo ship to Kenya.

The penguins succeed in taking over the ship and changing its course, following their initial plan of making their way to Antarctica. During the penguins’ takeover, the crates containing Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria fall overboard and they become separated on the ocean. Alex is soon washed ashore on a tropical beach. All night he is alone, but in the morning, finds Melman stuck in his crate. Gloria and Marty soon wash ashore on the same beach. At first, Melman assumes they are in San Diego, California, and Alex is upset that he will be outshone by Shamu. But when they discover a large tribe of lemurs led by King Julien XIII (voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen), they realize they are not in the United States anymore. They are actually in the wild, on the island of Madagascar.

Alex blames Marty for deliberately ruining the group's lives at the zoo and divides the island between them, forcing Gloria and Melman to help him build a Statue of Liberty lookalike. His plan is to ignite the beacon, therefore, making it easy for a boat (which Alex believes is coming to rescue them) to see where they are. However, Melman inadvertently sets the whole statue on fire and destroys it (in a Planet of the Apes parody). Gloria and Melman then decide to join Marty (who is living comfortably on his side of the island), and Alex soon realizes that he has been unfair and selfish to his friend. Thus, deciding to join the others and begin life in Madagascar.

Meanwhile, the penguins have arrived on the snowbound, windswept, inhospitable Antarctica. After surveying it for a few moments, they decide that it is not as interesting as they thought it would be when Private says, “Well, this sucks.” Julien hopes that the lemurs’ new friends, whom he calls the “New York Giants”, will scare away the fossa, enemies of the lemurs who prey on them. Despite the protests of his advisor Maurice (who thinks that Alex as a carnivore, might be dangerous), Julien convinces the lemurs to welcome Marty and the others to their own little corner of paradise.

Unfortunately, Alex, who has only ever eaten pre-cut steaks until now, is beginning to regain his natural predatory instincts. After losing control and attacking Marty, he is considered too dangerous to be a friend to his zoomates or to any of the lemurs. Julian, accepting that his plan failed and realizing the threat Alex has become, banishes him to the far side of the island dominated by the fossa, just before everyone ends up running for their lives. Alex comes to his senses for a time after a knock on the head by a coconut thrown by Maurice and makes the decision to leave his friends behind rather than do something he’d later regret. Now completely aware of what has happened to Alex and how dangerous the wild can be, a distraught and devastated Marty begins to regret his decision to leave the zoo.

The penguins, leaving Antarctica behind, soon arrive at Madagascar with the ship. Realizing this may be a way back into New York, Marty finds Alex (against Gloria’s advice). Unfortunately, he ends up deep in the fossa's territory, where he unsuccessfully tries to convince Alex to return, but he refuses out of fear and doesn’t want to hurt him because he is now a monster. But as Marty tells him he is not leaving without him and sings the song to cheer him up, the fossa eventually attack, and soon he, Melman, Gloria, and the penguins (who showed up to save the three) end up fighting for their lives.

Hopelessly outnumbered by the hungry creatures, Alex appears with a huge roar. At first, he seems to have completely returned to his hunting instincts and claims Marty as his own prey. But this turns out to be a ruse: Alex has managed to overcome his predatory instincts. Using the fossa’s natural fear of him, Alex drives them away from the lemurs' territory forever. At a girly ending, following a celebratory feast, at which Alex’s hunger is finally sated by the discovery that he likes sushi even better than steak, the friends return to the ship and head back home. The penguins, who stayed behind, decide not to break the news that the ship is out of fuel, thus setting the stage for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.



Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 55% approval rating based on 178 reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes’ “Cream of the Crop,” 37% of critics gave positive reviews based on 35 reviews. On Metacritic, the film has a score of 57 out of 100 approval rating based on 36 reviews, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.

Box office

Despite the mixed response from critics, the film was a commercial success. The film grossed $47,224,594 with $11,431 average from 4,131 theaters making it #1. In the United States, the film gained $193,595,521 domestically and a foreign gross of $348,468,325 adding to a worldwide gross of $542,063,846. As of 2008, the film is the fifth highest-grossing DreamWorks animated feature behind Shrek 2, Shrek the Third, Shrek, and Kung Fu Panda.


  • This is the second-to-last DreamWorks Animation film to be released by DreamWorks Pictures (through Universal Pictures).
    • This also marks the only Madagascar film to be released by DreamWorks Pictures (through Universal Pictures).
    • This is also the only Madagascar film to be released on VHS.
    • This is the only film in the Madagascar franchise where the names of the major cast members are listed outside the credit crawl at the start instead of the end.
  • This also the first time that better water wave animation was used.
  • This is the final PDI/DreamWorks film to be released by DreamWorks Pictures.
  • This is the first DreamWorks animation film to have Hanna Barbera, Cartoon Trax Volume 1, Warner Bros sound effects.
  • This is the fourth DreamWorks Animation film to release in theaters during May, right after Shrek, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, & Shrek 2.
  • Madagascar was the first Animated film to win a Kids' Choice Award for "Favorite Animated Movie" in 2006.[1]
  • This is the fourth DreamWorks Animation film to be Co-Produced with Pacific Data Images, the first three being Antz, Shrek 1 & 2.
  • Madagascar is the second DreamWorks Animation film to become a full on franchise with Sequels, & Spin-Offs. First one being Shrek.
  • The film was released on the same day as the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard, also featuring Chris Rock.
  • The scene where Alex says "You maniac!! You burn it up! Darn you!! Darn you to the help!" like the liberty lady gets burned down is a reference where George Taylor (Charleton Heston) has a huge tantrum because of the broken liberty in the 1968 film Planet of the Apes.






DreamWorks Wiki has a collection of images and media related to Madagascar.

External links