Spoiled by their upbringing and unaware of what wildlife really is, four animals from the New York Central Zoo escape, unwittingly assisted by four absconding penguins, and find themselves in Madagascar.
In New York, unemployed and divorced Larry Daley is a complete loser. His son Nick is very disappointed with his father who is going to be evicted. Larry accepts the job of night watchman in the Museum of Natural History and takes the place of three old security guards that have just retired in order to raise some money and pay his bills. On his first shift, Larry soon realizes that everything at the museum is not as it seems as the statues begin to come to life after the sun sets. The Museum transforms into complete chaos with the inexperienced Larry in charge as he learns that an old Egyptian stone that came to the Museum in 1950 brings these statues to life until dawn. When Larry brings his son to spend a night with him, the three old guards break into the Museum to try to steal the magical stone. Larry organizes all the historic characters to help him stop the criminals and save the museum. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
What a cast! Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Robin Williams, Dick VanDyke, Mickey Roney, Bill Cobbs...
I'm not a Stiller fan, but in this one he was really great, he steps out of his usual shtick to really anchor this movie. For once he doesn't seem to be trying too hard and avoids overdoing it.
This is one of Robin Williams' better modern roles, he's toned down but still quintessentially Williams. It was nice to see him in a role that he can both take seriously *and* have some fun with it.
Owen Wilson is still awesome, basically reprising his Shanghai Noon character, but with a cute, rather unexpected twist.
Dick Van Dyke, Mickey Rooney and Bill Cobbs are classic, they haven't lost a step. Rooney is still the little bantam rooster with the attitude! Van Dyke clearly anchors the trio. Cobbs wasn't given much to work with for his character, but his quality shines through. These veteran comedic actors bring a bit of class and legitimacy to the film.
The movie is well paced, jumping almost directly into the action, with plenty of laughs. From Rexie's puppy-dog antics to the war between Old West Cowboys and Roman Centurians, there is something around every corner.
The only stinker in this film is the kid. He's totally under-utilized for the storyline, they could have improved the storyline by either leaving the kid out of the movie entirely, or by giving him something to do. The pseudo-love-interest, too, should have either been played up or left out.
This is an entirely enjoyable family film. My 87 year old grandmother-in-law loved it, as did my 9 year old daughter and my teenage sons! Truly something for everyone.
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