Saturday, October 27, 2012

Movie Review of Disney's "The Lion King"

Disney's The Lion King was the 32nd movie out of Disney's animated feature movies. It was released in 1994 and was directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff. It won 2 Oscars: Best Original Music Score by Hans Zimmer and Best Original Song "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" by Tim Rice and Elton John. It was nominated 2 other times that year for Best Original Song for "Circle of Life" and "Hakuna Matata."Featuring the voice talents of Jonathan Taylor Thomas (Young Simba), Matthew Broderick (Adult Simba), Jeremy Irons (Scar), Niketa Calame (Young Nala), Moira Kelly (Adult Nala), Nathan Lane (Timon), Ernie Sabella (Pumbaa), Robert Guillaume (Rafiki), Rowan Atkinson (Zazu), Whoopi Goldberg (Shenzi), Cheech Marin (Banzai) and the legendary James Earl Jones as "Mufasa,"you have an elegantly put together cast of characters that made this movie one of Disney's most famous and best liked.

The gathering of the animals in the beginning of the movie. The blue bird we are following is Zazu.
The movie starts off with all the African animals gathering together with the song "Circle of Life" playing over top of it. They are gathering to see their king and queen Lion's firstborn son and heir. We see a baboon anoint the baby with some sort of fruit juice and dirt. Then the baboon takes the baby lion cub out to the end of a rocky peak and holds him high into the air for all the animals to see and bow down to, which they do. At the end of the song the screen goes to black with "THE LION KING" written on it in red.
First Lines in the movie spoken by Scar
The words vanish and we see a wild mouse scurrying across the floor of a cave that slowly fades up from the blackness. The mouse is caught by a lion with a black mane and a scar over his left eye. This is Scar (Irons), the younger brother of the present Lion King, Mufasa (Jones). Scar is moaning to the mouse about the unfairness of both their lives when he is interrupted by a bird named Zazu (Atkinson) who has come out ahead of the king to find out why Scar wasn't at the ceremony that morning with the presentation of King Mufasa's son, Simba. Scar tries to eat Zazu but Mufasa arrives in time to stop him and asks Scar why he wasn't there that morning. He makes excuses that no one believes and we find out that Scar WAS the heir to the throne until "the little hairball was born." Mufasa takes offense at this and Scar turns away and starts to walk off. Mufasa tells Scar not to turn his back on him but Scar replies "Oh, no, Mufasa. Perhaps you shouldn't turn your back on me." Mufasa asks if it's a challenge but Scar backs down and says no but all the signs say he's up to no good. Scar walks away and Mufasa asks Zazu "What am I going to do with him?" Zazu, "He'd make a very handsome throw rug." Mufasa, "Zazu!" Zazu, "And just think, whenever he gets dirty, you can take him out and beat him."
Rafiki's Tree home
The light crossfades to a picture of the savanna with rainclouds overhead and then we see it start to rain bringing life to plants and creatures alike. We zoom in on one huge tree where the baboon, Rafiki, lives. He is painting a picture on the tree wall of his home of baby Simba. The lights fade out slowly until only he painting remains until it fades too and we find ourselves looking out at Pride Rock where a young lion cub is up looking around.
Picture of the painting of baby Simba in Rafiki's tree home that Rafiki made
When he sees the sun start to rise he turns and runs into the cave where the rest of the pride is asleep yelling at his dad to wake up because he promised he show him the kingdom. Mufasa gets up and takes Simba (Thomas) up to the very top of Pride Rock and shows him the whole kingdom which is everything that the light touches. There's a shadowy place that Mufasa tells Simba never to go to because it is beyond their borders. Then he takes his son and shows him around the pride lands. We meet up with them as they are watching antelope run by and Zazu lands on the ground in front of Mufasa to give him the morning report. As he is doing this Simba starts to practice pouncing. When his dad finds out he starts to help him. He tells Zazu to turn away from him, which he does without question and then Mufasa starts to tell Simba what to do while Zazu is still rattling on about the daily news. Eventually Simba pounces on the silly bird much to Zazu's humility when they are interrupted by a gopher who tells Zazu important news which Zazu relays to Mufasa telling him that hyenas have entered the pride lands. Mufasa orders Zazu to take Simba home despite his protests and goes off to deal with the trespassers.
Lights come up on yet a different area of Pride Rock and we see Scar there and Simba comes up to talk to his uncle. He tells him about what his father showed him and Scar takes advantage of the situation by telling Simba that the dark shadowy place where Simba was told not to go was an elephant graveyard but that he still shouldn't go there. Of course Simba runs off immediately to get his friend Nala (Calame) and ask his mom if they can go to the waterhole and his mom agrees as long as Zazu goes with them which does not make the pair of cubs happy. So on the way to the water hole Simba and Nala come up with a plan to get away from Zazu's watchful eyes and this is done during the song "Just Can't Wait to Be King," wherein Simba sings about what he's going to do when he becomes king and Zazu protesting points that he doesn't  agree with. However the point is they are able to distract him enough to escape and they make their way to the elephant graveyard where Zazu catches up to them right before they are confronted by 3 hyenas who obviously plan to make a meal out of the cubs and the bird. A chase & fight sequence ensues wherein Zazu gets sent off and Simba and Nala get cornered by the hyenas until Mufasa, who was alerted by Zazu, comes and saves them just in the nick of time. On the way home Mufasa instructs Zazu to take Nala home while he teaches his son a lesson. The music changes here to a sad tone that matches Mufasa's feelings as he talks with his son.
Mufasa is very disappointed in Simba because he deliberately disobeyed him but also because he put Nala in danger. Simba says he was just trying to be brave like his dad. Mufasa tells him that "I'm only brave when I have to be. Simba, being brave doesn't mean you go looking for trouble." Simba, "But you're not scared of anything." Mufasa, "I was today...I thought I might lose you." Simba, "I guess even kings get scared, huh? But you know what? I bet those hyenas were even scareder." "'Cause nobody messes with your dad." Then they have a father son wrestling match ending up with some advice to Simba from his father, Mufasa, about how the stars in the sky are where the great kings of the past look down on them. He tells Simba that they will always be with him and so will he. (Famous last words)
The end of "Be Prepared"
We leave those two and rendezvous with Scar and the hyenas who are plotting to take over the pride lands. Scar tells them that they are going to murder Mufasa and Simba too so that he can be king. He explains his plan somewhat during the song "Be Prepared." This song is full of tyrant symbolism and references including Nazi Germany and Hitler. The whole scene ends with Scar and all of his hyena minions laughing at the moon.
Scar leaves Simba in the gorge
The next day we find Simba led on a wild goose chase by Scar who tells him to wait down in the gorge by a tree because Mufasa has a 'surprise' for him and it's "to die for." Then Scar goes and gives his hyena minions the signal to start a stampede of wildebeest that will go through the gorge where Simba is waiting for his dad. After that's started and we see Simba running for his life we go over to where Mufasa and Zazu are and Zazu says "the herd is on the move."
Mufasa and Zazu notice the herd on the move

"That's odd." replies Mufasa who is then interrupted by a hard breathing Scar who tells Mufasa that Simba's down in the gorge where the stampede is taking place. Mufasa rushes to Simba's aid and Zazu flies over the gorge trying to spot where Simba is. He sees him hanging on to a painfully thin tree that is almost broken down by the herd. Zazu tells Simba that his father is coming and flies back to Mufasa to point out where Simba is. Mufasa hurries into the stampede and follows it until he gets near Simba.
Scar watching and pacing during the stampede
Scar is pacing the cliffs watching like a hawk both king and prince when Zazu flies up to him and says, "Oh, Scar, this is awful! What'll we do? What'll we do? I'll go back for help, that's what I'll do. I'll go back to--" Scar hits Zazu who hits a wall and slides to the base of the stone unconscious. Meanwhile Simba is still holding onto that tree which Mufasa has finally reached when it snaps sending Simba flying through the air until Mufasa makes an enormous leap and catches him in his mouth. Scar sees this still pacing as the music reflects the struggle.
Mufasa save Simba from the stampede
Suddenly Simba is knocked out of Mufasa's mouth by a passing wildebeest. Hooves pound the ground around him and just before he gets flattened Mufasa's there and picks him up again with his mouth and takes him to the edge of the cliff and bentley sets him down on the rock but then Mufasa gets knocked in the side by a wildebeest's horns and falls down under the stampede again. The music is constantly getting faster and more desperately sounding as Simba's eyes frantically search the stampede below him for some sign of his dad then suddenly at the music's crescendo Mufasa makes a huge leap out of the stampede and grabs onto the cliff face with his claws.
Mufasa leaps out of the stampede and claws at the cliff
The cliff is almost perpendicular to the ground meaning that Mufasa has started to slip. Simba sees this and hurries to climb behind the rock he's on to reach the one his dad is heading to. He neither hears nor sees any of what occurs next.
Mufasa: "Scar! Brother, help me!"

Mufasa looks up the cliff and sees Scar there and calls out "Scar! Brother, help me!" Scar looks down at Mufasa and doesn't do anything then suddenly he reaches down and grabs Mufasa's paws with his claws. He leans over the cliff and utters quietly but menacingly tells Mufasa "Long live the king." There is an extreme close-up on Mufasa's eyes as he realizes Scar isn't about to help him but before he can do anything about it Scar throws Mufasa's paws off the cliff and Mufasa falls back first into the stampede and onto the gorge's rocky bottom while Simba yells out "No!" from another part of the cliff. He still hasn't seen or heard Scar and as the herd vanishes he hurries to the gorge floor to search for his father. He finally finds him, utterly still, under a broken tree. Simba goes up to him and tries to wake him, all in vain, he pulls on Mufasa's ears and his paws and finally crawls under one of Mufasa's paws and lies down crying.
Mufasa's Death
The music here makes me cry every time especially when Scar comes up and Simba goes to him for comfort and hugs his uncle's paw as he cries. Then Scar tells Simba that it is his fault that Mufasa died and that what would he tell his mother? Scar then tells him to "Run away, Simba. Run. Run away and never return."
Scar: "Kill him."
Then right after Simba runs we see the three hyenas who started the stampede come up behind Scar who tells them to "Kill him." They take off after Simba and chase him through the gorge. Simba comes to an almost dead end with just enough slope of rubble that he can climb it and then falls down the other side of the cliff into a large thorn patch. He quickly gets up and crawls through the thorns to end up running straight out into the desert into the slowly setting sun. The hyenas are not quick to follow him after they see the thorn patch and one of them even falls into it. So they yell out in voices that echo "Yeah! You hear that? If you ever come back, we'll kill you!" Grave music takes us back to Pride Rock where Scar is telling them his version of what happened and that both Simba and Mufasa died.
The Lionesses hear about Simba's death

Nala crying
Zazu comforts Sarabi, Mufasa's Queen and Simba's mother and we see little Nala crying in her mother's paws as Scar takes the kingdom saying these words. "So it is with a heavy heart that I assume the throne. Yet out of the ashes of this tragedy we shall rise to greet the dawning of a new era in which lion and hyena come together in a great and glorious future."

Image of Rafiki before the scene melts into the scene below
We zoom out with the camera and watch as hundreds of hyenas come to Pride Rock and Scar ascends the throne rock outcropping. We pull back enough that we are with Rafiki who turns his back and sits in a sad slump the surroundings dissolve but Rafiki stays hunched over and resolve into Rafiki's home tree where Rafiki is now sitting next to the painting of Simba on his tree.
Scene we see after it resolves
He looks over at it and with sad music playing takes his had and tries to wipe it away with one stroke but you can still see the lion in it. That picture crossfades to showing Simba lying on the desert ground with vultures circling overhead. The vultures land and surround Simba until two animals charge into their midst and chase them away in a game they call "Bowling for Buzzards." One is a warthog named "Pumbaa" and his companion is a meerkat named "Timon" and they see Simba lying there and have a short argument over whether or not to run away or to take the young lion with them ad help him recover. Pumbaa takes Simba's side telling Timon that they can have him on there side since he's so little right now and Timon says no that wouldn't be a good idea but Timon ends his thought by suggesting the exact same thing Pumbaa was saying. He's not particularly smart but it's obvious that Timon does this often.
Simba wakes up in the oasis
 So they take Simba to a small oasis where they wake him up and try to get him to tell them who he is and where he's from. Simba doesn't tell them but tells them that he can't go back so Pumbaa and Timon take him in and teach him how to live happily. This is explained in the song "Hakuna Matata." "Hakuna Matata means "no worries" and they teach Simba to put his past behind him and get on with life. After Simba says he's hungry Timon immediately tells him that if he lives like them then he'll have to eat like them and that means eating grubs and other insects/bugs. This song contains a small montage of Simba growing up to be a full adult lion who looks a lot like his father now voiced by Matthew Broderick.
Timon and Pumbaa's home
At the end of the song we fade out of the colorful jungle/forest full of life and happiness and fade into what is now the Pride Lands. It is gray and bleak. There is no vegetation or rather what little is there is dead, and the skies are dark but not with rain. It is a very dismal sight in contrast to the happy song in the jungle. As we get this first shocking look at what the Pride Lands have become we hear the voice of Zazu singing "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen" in a very depressed and dismal voice. Even the tune itself is made almost monotone and almost a drone of noise. Scar, now King of the Pride Lands, lies on a rock inside the cave in Pride Rock picking his teeth with a piece of bone. Zazu is in a rib "cage" on the floor by Scar's "throne." Scar throws away the bone and tells Zazu to "sing something with a little bounce in it." Zazu stops, there's a close up of him as we see him get and idea and starts to sing "It's A Small World After All" but he only gets out the title when Scar yells, "No, no! Anything but that!" Zazu stops and them starts to sing "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" and Scar starts to sing along and picks up a skull and holds it in his hand in a reference that I just realized coincides with Shakespeare's Hamlet. (For those of you who don't know, The Lion King is actually a Disney version of Hamlet but with happy endings for everyone but the bad guy. In Shakespeare's story, everybody dies at the end of the play except one person who tries to commit suicide but is stopped by the dying prince, Hamlet. In Disney's The Lion King, only Scar dies. We don't actually see it happen but the images before are quite clearly indicating that it definitely will happen. And now back to the present story)
Quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet "To be or not to be? That is the question." It isn't actually in the movie but that what this picture references.
Somewhere during his singing Zazu mumbles, "Oh, I would never have had to do this with Mufasa." Scar immediately picks up on that and starts yelling at Zazu. Apparently Scar made a law that says something to the effect of "never say Mufasa's name in his presence." They are interrupted by Scar's top 3 hyena friends, Banzai (Marin), Shenzi (Goldberg) and Ed, who never speaks real words and is obviously an idiot but sometimes has peculiar insights. They have come to complain that they are hungry. Scar, of course, yells at them eventually since there is no food or water anywhere for lion or hyena to eat. Scar's reign has ruined the land and he will not accept that and sends the hyenas scurrying from his presence, still hungry.
The Ruined Pride Lands
We crossfade to the jungle where Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa have just finished a good dinner of grubs and are now looking up at the night sky and discussing what they each think those stars are. Pumbaa says, "Ever wonder what those sparkling dots are up there?" Timon replies, "Pumbaa, I don't wonder, I know." Pumbaa, "Oh? What are they?" Timon, "They're fireflies. Fireflies that got stuck up in that big blueish-black thing." Pumbaa, "Oh, gee. I always thought they were balls of gas burning billions of miles away." This is a joke to the audience of the film because that is exactly what stars are. However, Timon immediately dismisses it as wrong and then they ask Simba what he thinks and he tells them what his father told him, without telling them where he got the information, about the great kings of the past looking down on them from up there and the other two laugh at him and ask what mook made that up. Simba half-hearteedly joins in their laughter for a few seconds before leaving quickly. He walks out to the edge of a cliff where a few flowers are still in bloom, looks up sadly at the sky before letting out a huge sigh and letting himself collapse on the outcropping.
Simba's theory on stars

His fall stirs ups some dust which gets carried away by the wind and we follow it until we end up back with Rafiki in his great big tree home, who snatches some of it out of the air and takes it down inside his tree where he puts in a large bowl/pan made out of a turtle shell and swirls it around. He is obviously using this as a means of divining information and from it he discovers that Simba is alive and well. He is very happy and goes over to the wall where the smeared image of the baby lion still is. He laughs happily to himself as he takes up a red powder and creates a mane around the drawing's head. When he is finished the music builds to a crescendo as Rafiki says, "It is time."
Rafiki searches the dust for information
Rafiki adds a mane to Simba painting

Then we fade out of his tree and back to the jungle where Pumbaa and Timon are walking and singing "In The Jungle" together but Pumbaa soon gets distracted by a blue flying rhinoceros beetle and strays away from the path to try and catch the bug so he can eat it. He almost catches it when he turns and sees a lioness running towards him. He screams and runs the opposite direction from her. Timon hears him and tries to help Pumbaa get unstuck from under a tree root as we see the lioness closing in. She almost has them when Simba leaps into the picture and tackles her. They fight with Timon cheering Simba on until the lioness pins Simba down in a motion that totally turns Simba's fighting off because he recognizes it as Nala, now grown up (voiced by Moira Kelly), like he has. He calls her by name which causes her to back away asking him who he is. When she finds out they start playing and hugging for a few moments while Timon looks on slack-jawed. He calls for a time-out to ask what the heck is going on and here it is. It is one of my favorite quotes from this movie. Timon says,"How do you... Whoa, whoa! Time out! Let me get this straight. You know her, she knows you. But she wants to eat him, and everybody's okay with this? Did I miss something?" He never really gets an answer because Nala mention that Scar told everyone he was dead but since he isn't, he is now the king and Timon gets distracted by this information and he seriously doubts it at first. But it is good news to him when he does believe it and he is hurt when Simba asks to talk with Nala in private. Timon and Pumbaa leave and Nala and Simba start to talk about how much they missed each other. Then they bump heads a few times and start purring.
Nala and Simba cuddling before "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?"
We go to Timon and Pumbaa's POV and see the cute couple the lions make. This makes Timon upset and he has to explain to Pumbaa why. And he does this by starting the song that won the Oscar "Can You Feel The Love Tonight?" There's a place in the song where we stop hearing Timon sing and Elton John is singing it over scenes of the two lions falling in love.  Timon and Pumbaa end the song and start crying very loudly and annoyingly and we leave them to join Nala and Simba. Nala tries to convince him to go back to the Pride Lands and takeover as king but Simba doesn't want to. He doesn't want to explain what happened the day his father died and he still believes it to be his fault. He doesn't tell Nala this and eventually they end up fighting and yelling and then they walk away from each other. We follow Simba who is talking to himself and eventually yells up at the sky, "You said you'd always be there for me! But you're not. And it's because of me.
It's my fault. It's my fault." Simba starts to sob when we hear a baboon laughing and singing what sounds like nonsense noises "Asante sana, squash banana. Wewe nugu, mi mi apana." But it is actually Swahili for  Thank you very much, squash banana! You're a baboon, and I'm not!. Simba turns and sees the baboon but doesn't recognize him as Rafiki since the only known encounter of him Simba had when he was only a couple of days/weeks old. Simba starts to leave and travel away from Rafiki, however the baboon follows him. Simba gets annoyed at the "creepy little monkey" who will not shut up and will not stop following him finally Simba demands, "Who are you?" Rafiki turns the question around and says, "The question is, who are you?" Simba hesitates then says, "I thought I knew. Now I'm not so sure." Rafiki, "Well, I know who you are. Shh. It's a secret. Asante sana, squash banana--" Simba interrupts him, "Grrr! Enough! What is that supposed to mean?" Rafiki, "It means you are a baboon, and I'm not." Simba says, "I think you're a little confused." And then he starts to walk away but Rafiki jumps into his path and points at him with his finger, using it to push back his head as he says, "Wrong! I'm not the one who's confused. You don't even know who you are." Simba scoffs, "Oh, and I suppose you know." Rafiki says quickly, "Sure do. You're Mufasa's boy. Bye." Then he takes off running with Simba following him and yelling for him to come back. When he catches up to the baboon Rafiki proceeds to tell him and teach him that his father is still alive by showing Simba his reflection in a pool of water and telling him, "You see? He lives in you." Simba is looking at the reflection of his father in the pool of water when he hears his father's voice coming from the sky and sees an image in the stars and clouds of his father who proceeds to tell Simba that he has forgotten who he is and therefore he has forgotten his father. He must go home and take his proper place in the circle of life and he needs to remember who he is. His father's presence leaves with Simba calling out for him to stay but he is already gone and Simba is alone in a field of grass under the stars until Rafiki comes up behind him. Simba tells Rafiki, "Looks like the winds are changing." Rafiki agrees and says, "Ahh, change is good." Simba, "Yeah, but it's not easy. I know what I have to do, but going back means I'll have to face my past. I've been running from it for so long." Then out of nowhere Rafiki knocks Simba hard in the head with his staff. Simba reacts, "Ow! Jeez! What was that for?" Rafiki, "It doesn't matter. It's in the past." Simba, "Yeah, but it still hurts." Rafiki, "Oh, yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it you can either run from it or learn from it."
Conversation with the Baboon
Then Rafiki tries to knock Simba in the head again with his stick but Simba ducks and Rafiki points out, "Ah! You see? So what are you going to do?" Simba says another of my favorite quotes from this movie, "First, I'm gonna take your stick." And he takes it and throws it away and starts to run away from Rafiki who is saying, "No, no, no, no! Not the stick! Hey! Where are you going?" Simba replies to a very pleased Rafiki, "I'm going back!" And Simba runs and the music goes with him but we fade away from it and end up back in the jungle with Timon and Pumbaa who are asleep at the moment but are woken up by Nala who is looking for Simba but Timon thought he was with Nala and they need to find him and then we see Rafiki in a tree who tells them, "You won't find him here! Ha, ha! The king has returned." Nala knows why he means but Timon calls another time out and I love this short conversation when Timon yells "Who's the monkey?" Nala, "Simba went back to challenge Scar." Timon, "Who?" Nala, "Scar." Pumbaa, "Who's got a scar?" Nala, "No it's his uncle." Timon, "The monkey's his uncle?" Nala, "No! Simba's gone back to challenge his uncle to take his place as king." Pumbaa and Timon, "Oh."

We cut to Simba who is running across the desert to awesome music. We see extreme close-ups of his feet running through the sand while we see another image in the background of him running across the desert in an establishing shot where he is as small as an ant. It's a neat little film technique. Then we cut to Simba reaching the Pride Lands and walking on the dead, gray, rocky earth where tons of dried out skeletons of different animals are in shock of what has happened to the wonderful place he left behind. He reaches a small plateau of gray rock from where he can see Pride Rock in the distance looking dead and gray and bare. All of the trees are dead, there is no water, and there is no life in this place anymore. We see his face go from shock to anger and hatred before Nala shows up. She comes up to him and says, about the Pride Lands, "It's awful, isn't it?" Simba didn't want to believe her but now that he sees this with his own eyes he knows what he must do. Then Timon and Pumbaa show up saying that they're going to help Simba fight for his land and Timon comments off to the side, "Uh, talk about your fixer-upper. (to Simba) Well, Simba, it it's important to you, we're with you to the end." They all turn and watch as thunderclouds roll over the Pride Lands and we crossfade to Simba and the others arriving at Pride Rock and seeing all of the hyenas. Timon says, "Hyenas. I hate hyenas. (to Simba) So what's your plan for getting past those guys?" Simba says, "Live bait." Timon, "Good idea! (then he realizes Simba means him and Pumbaa) Hey!" Simba, "Come on, Timon. You guys have to create a diversion." I love this next line because it turns out to be exactly what Timon does, "What do you want me to do, dress in drag and do the hula?" Then we cut to Timon and Pumbaa singing in front of the hyenas.

Timon is singing about how tasty Pumbaa is and that if they all get in line they can have a piece of swine. We see the hyenas close in and then Timon and Pumbaa yell and high tail run away from them. During this Simba and Nala are able to sneak behind the hyenas and get to Pride rock where Simba tells Nala, "Nala, you find my mother and rally the lionesses. I'll look for Scar." However, Nala needn't look for Sarabi, Simba's mother, because they hear Scar yell her name and call her up in front of him. Nala goes to get the other lionesses while Simba stealthily approaches where Scar is. Then he sees Scar hit his mother and he roars at Scar who immediately says, "Mufasa? No, you're dead." He backs away as Simba goes to his mother who has fallen to the ground. At first she, too, thinks he's his father but he corrects her and Scar hears it. Scar starts to talk to Simba who tells Scar to step down and Scar says he would but the hyenas (and there are hundreds of them. much more than there are lions.) think he's king and to keep them from attacking he can't step down. Nala has come up to Sarabi with all of the other lionesses and tells Scar that "Well, we don't. Simba's the rightful king." Now, at this par in the movie, Scar starts to talk about that day in the gorge where Mufasa was killed. He makes Simba have to tell them all that it was his fault that Mufasa died. They are all shocked but Scar starts circling Simba and while talking and accusing him he starts to back Simba up until he falls halfway of the edge of Pride rock when lightening strikes near the base and sets everything on fire. Scar comes over and grabs Simba's paws the same way he did Mufasa's and tells Simba, "Now, this looks familiar. Hmm. Where have I seen this before? Let me think. Hmm. Oh, yes. I remember. his is just the way your father looked before he died. And here's my little secret. (whispering) I killed Mufasa." We see Simba understand and have a flashback occur of Simba yelling "No!" as his father fell off of the side of the gorge and down to his death. During this Simba finds the strength to pull himself up and leaps onto and pins him to the ground continueing the yell of "No!" as we pull out of the flashback, "Murderer!" Simba forces Scar to tell everyone he killed Mufasa and then Simba is attacked by hyenas while he tries to get to Scar. The lionesses, Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki and Zazu fight the hyenas with the savanna burning all around Pride Rock and are able to help Simba get away from them and towards Scar. They end up on the very tippy top of   Pride Rock where Simba gives Scar the choice of exile instead of death after Scar says that it was the hyenas who made him do it and that they are the real enemy. Banzai, Shenzi and Ed, who were about to help Scar, here that and turn away. Scar pretends to agree to "Run. Run away, Scar, and never return." But then he attacks Simba. They fight. There are some really cool slow-motion shots here. In the end, Scar falls off of the top of Pride Rock and onto the ground where he is surrounded by hyenas. He greets them as he rises, stiffly, "Ah, my friends!" Shenzi says, "Friends? I thought he said we were the enemy." Bansai, "Yeah. That's what I heard." The two look at Ed, "Ed?" who is laughing evilly and then we watch the shadow of Scar on the rock get attacked by the hyenas. Rain falls down and the fire is put out and steam is rising from Pride Rock as Simba marches up to the edge of the rock protrusion and roars and the lionesses return his roar and he does this several times as triumphant music plays.
Simba takes his place as King
We go out to a view of the land and Pride Rock being washed in the rain and there is a time lapse to when everything is green and beautiful again. We zoom in to the Edge of Pride Rock during the reprise of "Circle of Life" where Rafiki takes the baby lion cub from Simba and Nala and presents her to the animal audience the same way that he did Simba all those years ago. Then at the end of the song we blackout to the words written across the screen in red just like in the beginning, "The Lion King." And in doing s so we complete the circle of life within this moving and it is so moving to watch and the music is so beautiful that it is making me cry right now and it makes me so happy, too, at the same time. End credits roll here.
Happy Ending.
The voice actors and animators exceeded my expectations by a lot. When I decided to review movies I hadn't seen since childhood, I never thought that they would be just as good or even more fun to watch now that I am grown and an adult. The actors are so good at voicing the emotions and the animators are so good at showing the emotions that it is unbelievable that they did all this back before the use of computers to make animated movies wasn't done. All of this was done and drawn by hand. These animated movies took much longer to make than most live action movies because it is hand done. You can feel the love the animators put into their characters and the dedication of the actors. These men and women wanted to make this movie so well that they studied live lions and lion cubs as in some actually were able to pet and play with them. That is what you can call a hands on approach indeed.
Awesome two scene overlap. While a tiny Simba runs in the background we see an extreme close-up of his legs
Anyways, there were some film techniques used in this movie that I don't recall seeing as much in other Disney films. There were a lot of cross fading scenes where as one scene we see dissolves another one resolves. This made the changes between sets smoother but it also helped to compare what was in that first scene to what is in the scene that resolves.The music in this film is just amazing. It captures the emotions of each moment correctly and makes you feel the emotion even before you see the action and helps foreshadow what is to come. Hans Zimmer did and excellent job at this. Elton John was amazing too. If you go out and buy he soundtrack for  The Lion King or even  The Lion King Musical you will find that most of the background music is human vocals and in specific people singing African chants. For example, when the wildebeest stampede, all of the music behind it is vocal. That is one of the reasons that this movie made an amazing musical. It had all the music it needed. And if you do get the Musical soundtrack and you watch the movie you will find that in every one of the new songs in the musical you hear the musical melody during some part of the movie version. It may only be a couple of notes but I recognized it and you can to. I could name them since I love the musical and have memorized it's soundtrack but this is suppose to be a review on the movie and not the musical so sorry. Maybe I'll be able to do it later.
The beginning and ending of the movie. This helps the movie demonstrate the "Circle of Life"
If you have not seen this movie GO SEE IT NOW! Or buy it an watch it since it isn't actually in movie theaters anymore. If you have seen it, WATCH IT AGAIN! You'll be surprised at how these children's stories make just as much sense for adults and are just as much fun to watch. Go see it for the music, and for the acting (voice actors AND animators), and for the scenery, and for the contrast between the different places used. You won't be disappointed. Go watch The Lion King!

Screenshots from The Lion King

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Effects of taking the class Design for the Camera on my Video Production I class

Along with taking Video Production I this semester, I have also been taking Design for the Camera wherein I learn how to design sets for filmmaking. It is interesting to compare what I'm learning in that class and comparing it to what I'm learning in Video Production I. Some of the instructions overlap just a little bit but mostly in the Design class I can see my vision of a set for whatever circumstances and scriptsI've been given without any budget limits. In Video Production I have to take whatever vision I have and put it on a "no budget" scale which dramatically effects my work. For example, when I wrote "A Poker Hand" I did not think about actually trying to film it so in my mind I built the set to be whatever I wanted it to be. Then when we got around to scouting around for a place to use, I found out that my set was basically impossible to find the way I wanted it. In my mind I saw a dark paneled wood  wall or a dark painted room with no windows. In my vision there were only two doors to the room, the one into the room and the one into the bathroom. In my vision the floor was not carpeted but was either dark wood or dark tiled. In reality, the set we used had a minimum of 5 doors/openings and one windo, it was carpeted in a beige color two walls were brick and the others were white. Each door/opening led to different places. One actually did lead into a bathroom so that was why the location was chosen but one door led to a bedroom, one was more of a closet folding door to utilitarian instruments (air conditioning unit), one led to the outside world and the last one was a huge opening into a dinning area. That was the hardest thing to work around. We had to film at night because of the window and because of the dinning area we were unable to get some of the camera angles that I wanted to. Reality was harsh in comparison to my vision and in the end I had to accept the fact that, with no budget (as in no money), I was not going to get what I really wanted so that set design class while being a very interesting and fun class kind of made Video Production a little bit depressing for a few days until I made myself get over it and have fun anyways. I bring this up now because we were asked in Design class to pick a script that we can design an outside set and an inside set that may or may not be connected at the same location. I had a brief moment of inspiration to design the set for my film in the way that I really would have if I had the resources and the money but my teacher said no that I wasn't allowed to do that so I have to come up with another script to design sets for but it just reminded me that visions and reality seldom meet together seamlessly and that we just have to do the best with what we have and have fun doing it.

Note: Christina, I am not making fun of the location. I'm glad you found it and that we were able to use it. I'm just contrasting my vision with reality. This is not an attack on you or your apartment. I am sorry if this bothers you so please don't get offended. Thank you.
Here you can see the window in the background along with the one brick wall and one white wall

Far left is the Giant opening. Center is bathroom entrance. Folding doors on the left led to machinery. Opposite the bathroom door, where you can't see it from this angle is the bedroom door.

Another view of the large opening and a partial brick wall and a white one

Cast sitting in the dining area on the same beige carpet that we had in the other room

Opposite view of the giant opening. The front door is behind Christina and Kelly and the window in in the back left corner of the picture.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Movie Review of DreamWorks "Madagascar"

Directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, Madagascar is an interesting, hilarious animated film made by DreamWorks. Featuring the voice talents of Chris Rock (Marty), Jada Pinkett Smith (Gloria), Ben Stiller (Alex), David Schwimmer (Melman), Sacha Baron Cohen (King Julian), Andy Richter (Mort), Cedric the Entertainer (Maurice), Tom McGrath (Skipper), Chris Miller (Kowalski), Christopher Knights (Private) and Conrad Vernon (Mason), this film will make you laugh until your sides get sore. Add to it the wonderful music composed by Hans Zimmer, who won an Academy Award for his composition of the music for The Lion King, and you have a truly delightful movie.

The movie starts off with Marty the Zebra (Rock) daydreaming about living in the wild when he is interrupted by Alex the Lion (Stiller) who has come to wish him a happy 10th birthday. Marty complains a bit to Alex about the monotony of living in the zoo until Alex gives him a pep talk right before the zoo opens and then all of the animals go through what we assume is their normal routine for Friday which they say is field trip day. Marty proceeds to try to make his performance as fresh and new as he possibly can until later in the day he is surprised when four penguins pop up out of the ground having dug tunnels under the zoo with plastic spoons. This is a subtle reference the the movie The Great Escape including the fact that they did not dig far enough and are actually still in the zoo. They tell Mary that they're escaping into the wild so that they can get to Antarctica. They put the idea into Marty's head that he wants to go to the wild too and that night when his 3 best friends throw him a birthday party he blows out the candle and wishes he could go to the wild. At first he refuses to tell his friends what he wished for because it's bad luck but they say "What could happen?" (famous last words of course) so he caves in under the pressure. They all immediately scoff his idea and tell him it isn't a good idea. So he bids them a sad goodnight and gets on his treadmill and stares at the beautiful mural in the wall in front of him as he walks. Gloria the Hippo (Smith) tells Alex that he has to go talk to Marty because he's Marty's best friend and their friend Melman the Giraffe (Schwimmer) agrees. So Alex gives him a pep talk of sorts ending it by singing "New York, New York." Then Marty asks Alex to come with him and Alex thinks he's joking and Marty pretends to agree and goes to "sleep."
A couple hours later when Melman gets up to go to the bathroom he notices Marty's gone and tells Alex and Gloria.

Strutting down the street
While they figure out what to do to save him we cut to Marty who is prancing down the street to "Staying Alive" as he heads for Grand Central Station to take a train to Connecticut because Melman said earlier that it had wide open spaces. Cut back to the zoo where Alex has leaped over the wall right when Gloria bursts through said wall after him. Melman volunteers to stay behind but Gloria and Alex make him come with them since he knows how to get to Grand Central Station. After they leave the two monkeys, Mason (Vernon, who was the Gingerbread Man in Shrek) and Phil go out through the wall to go listen to Tome Wolfe speak at the Lincoln Center. Mason speaks whereas Phil only uses sign language. Cut to Marty ice skating in the Rockefeller Center.
Waiting for the Subway Train
Cut to Gloria, Alex and Melman down in a deserted subway station waiting for the subway so that they can take it to the Grand Central Station. After they board the subway train which is quickly vacated by the people riding in it we cut to Marty talking to a police officer's horse (David Cowgill) and asking him for directions in Times Square. After the horse gives him directions we hear his rider speaking into his walkie talkie asking if he can shoot the zebra when the reply is negative he requests more back up. Cut to Alex, Melman and Gloria riding in the subway and arriving in the station. Cut to the other formal front entrance where Mary is entering the building and looking around. The other animals come up the subway stairs with screaming humans running in from of them. One little old lady stops and goes all wacko on Alex beating him up with her purse. Alex catches Marty and then they get surrounded by police men with plastic shields. The two monkeys are also discovered in the station as well as the four crazy penguins. A lone animal control officer is shoved into the circle with Alex and Mary in it and finally darts Alex which causes him to lose consciousness and hallucinate. He has barely woken up, seen animal rights activists pushing to have he zoo animals shipped to the wild when the animal control officers see him awake and dart him again.
After the incident in Grand Central Station the animals wake up in crates
This time when he wakes up he is in a box with a little bit of hay. He starts to freak out when he hears Marty in a crate beside him, Gloria in a crate under him and Melman on his other side. They start to argue and the camera zooms out of the boxes so that we see the actual crates they're in and that they are on a large cargo ship in the middle of the ocean.
Skipper to the monkey Mason: "Can you read?"
We zoom in to another area of the ship where we see the penguins in a box with holes trying to read the shipping label but they can't so they ask the monkeys across from them to do it and Phil signs what it says and Mason translates. They are being shipped to the Kenya Wildlife Preserve in Africa. Well, the penguins want to go to Antarctica so they escape, take over the ship and turn it around while Marty, Melman, Gloria, and Alex argue some more and bang around their crates until they fall off the boat and are adrift separately at sea. Alex washes up onto a beach alone with a huge jungle in front of him. He starts yelling for the others over and over running across the beach until the sun rises. His last phrases start to turn into other names and he ends up calling for the NBC news reporters "Regis. Kelly. Matt, Katie, Al." Then he sees Melman's box moving around on the beach. He tries to free Melman when Gloria washes up on the beach and sends Alex crashing into Melman's box effectively freeing him from the crate.
Gloria: "Alright boys, fun's over."
Then Marty comes in surfing on two dolphins through the surf. Alex sees Mary and Marty sees him and they start to run to each other in slow motion to the music of "Chariots of Fire" which eventually changes because Alex starts chasing and yelling at Marty for getting them into this mess and we get back up to normal speed film. Then Gloria and Melman stop the other guys from fighting and they try to figure out where they are. Melman thinks they are in the San Diego Zoo. They try to figure out where the people are so they can get checked in. Then they hear music and head for it because they think people will be where the music is but instead they run into a huge group of lemurs. There are actually 1,100 lemurs in the shot (special features commentary).  When they look at the group a lemur starts to sing "Move It" and everyone dances and sings. When Gloria Melman and Marty realize Alex isn't there they look back behind them and while they are doing so a lemur starts to yell that they are being attacked by the fossa. When Alex gets there he pushes through the tall leaves to find 4 fossa tossing a small lemur in a salad. This little lemur got left behind when all the other lemurs ran and hid but when Alex comes through the leaves it distracts the fossa enough that the little lemur is able to escape and runs back to hide with the other lemurs. Then the other three behind him notice a huge spider crawling on his back and as Alex turns his head and sees it the spider says "Well, howdy-do?" before Gloria tries to kill it with a stick. With lots of cries of "Get it! Get it!" (including the spider, herself yelling "Get it! Get it!"), this process scares the fossa away because of Alex's teeth and roaring.
Spider on Alex's back says "Well, Howdy-do?"

Lemurs Plan to determine if the Zoo animals are "savage killers"
As this go on we cut to the leaders of the lemurs King Julien (Cohen) his advisor Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) and the tiny lemur who escaped the fossa because Alex scared them away called Mort (Richter). Mort asks King Julien what the new creatures are and King Julien says "They are aliens. Savage aliens from the savage future." Maurice adds in "They've come to kill us. And take our women. And our precious metals." Mort starts to cry. The king gets everyone to be quiet while they watch as Alex is helped up by his friends until Mort says "They are savages. Tonight we die." and hugs the king's feet which ticks King Julien off until he comes up with a plan to figure out if they are savage killers. He sends Mort out as bait.

Mort wants Gloria to pick him up after he was scared by Alex
Mort sits there curled up with his cute little tail shaking as Alex comes to say hi. With one look at Alex's teeth Mort starts to cry and when Alex tries to cheer him up Mort starts to cry even louder. This is where Gloria moves the lion out of her way and talks to the scared Mort, picks him up and holds him. We cut back to King Julien who announces that "They're just a bunch of pansies." Then he and his people go out to greet the pansies. While King Julien shows off, the four of them try to figure out what these creatures are and settle with they are some type of squirrel. King Julien says "We thank you with enormous gratitude for chasing away the fossa." Gloria says "The 'whossa'?" Julien says "The fossa. They are always annoying us by trespassing, interrupting our parties and ripping our limbs off. [...] You must tell me, who the heck are you?" Alex says, "I'm Alex. The Alex. And this is Gloria, Marty and Melman." Maurice asks "And just where are you giants from?" Alex says, "we're from New York and..." he gets cut off by Julien who says "All hail the New York giants!" While the lemurs yell and scream Alex turns to the others "I say we just got to ask these bozos where the people are." A voice comes from below Alex and lying down under his legs and says "Excuse me. We bozos have the people, of course." Melman: "Hey, the bozos have the people." Alex: "Oh, well, great. Good. Phew." King Julien (who is under Alex) points at the tree and says "They're up there."
The zoo animals find out that there are no live people in this jungle. 
 Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria look up to see the skeletons of people in the tree and this is where they find out that they are in the wild.  Alex freaks out and runs for the ocean determined to swim back to New York (despite the fact that he can't swim). The others come after him. Gloria tries to clam Alex down while Melman is having a nervous breakdown and Marty is skipping and jumping for joy. Gloria calms the others down by telling them that the people probably didn't leave them there on purpose and that they should just wait on the beach because surely the people will come back to get them. "You know something? I bet they're already on their way." Said Gloria.
Cut to the boat in Antarctic waters where a line of text comes up that reads "2500 miles South."We go to the interior of the boat and the Penguins have taken over everything and have the ship's captain tied up and gagged in a corner. They break out the champagne to celebrate almost reaching their destination.
Melman, in his grave with his will written in the sand.

Cut back to the beach where Melman has written out his last will and testament on the beach sand and is sitting in a hole he dug with the intention being he made the hole for his grave. Gloria and Alex stand on either side of him as he speaks out his last wishes. After a beach wave comes up and erases one third of his will Marty comes bounding over and tells Melman good work on the latrine. Alex yells at Marty for sending Melman to his grave. Melman says to Marty "You abused the power of the birthday wish and brought bad luck on all of us." Melman, Gloria, and Alex finally lose patience with Marty so Alex  takes a tree log and divides the beach into two sides declaring that Marty's side is the wild side and Melman, Gloria, and Alex are on the side that wants to go home. Marty declares his side is the fun side and gets to work making up a bachelor pad type outdoor living area with a roof. Alex is building a huge object when he sees Marty having fun and not being miserable like the rest of them. Then he turns and yells at a cut up basketball with a face painted on it "Shut up, Spaulding!" (Spaulding being the company that makes basketballs and this is a reference to Castaway) And he goes back to work and finally finishes his huge statue of liberty on the beach. He wants to light her beacon on fire so that the people can see it and come rescue them. Melman has been delegated the job of making fire but hasn't been able to until suddenly they go up in flames and he panics and runs around the statue accidentally lighting it all on fire. Alex has to jump off of her to save himself and then he turns and sees the wreckage of what was his liberty statue and yells, in almost the exact words that Charlton Heston used in the original Planet of the Apes movie with only a slight change so it would be PG rated, "You maniac! You burned it up! Darn you! Darn you all to heck!"
The original The Planet of the Apes  scene
Madagascar's version of  The Planet of the Apes scene
Melman asks right after Alex yells that "Can we go to the fun side now?"

Cut to the crashed plane in the lemurs' tree where King Julien and Maurice are talking to the group about how they can make sure the New York giants stay so that the dreaded fossa will not return ever again. They decide to make sure the giants wake up the next morning "in paradise." Maurice voices a complaint that Alex might be worse than the fossa but his comment is stricken from the record for speaking out of turn.
Cut to Alex sitting on the beach alone with the word "HELP" spelled out with palm tree trunks behind him. Since Gloria and Melman have left and joined the fun side Marty crosses the line to invite Alex to come over too. At first Alex refuses and Marty leaves him to think about it. Then the letter "P" in his sign the trunks making up the bubble in the "P" fall down to the ground so that for a few seconds it spells "HELL" out instead. Then its a quick cut to Alex joining the fun side after apologizing to Marty.  Marty serves them some food "seaweed on a stick" which Melman and Gloria love but Alex doesn't and he says he really wants steak so Marty swears to him that he will find him a steak tomorrow "even if it kills [him]." They lie down to go to sleep and Alex dreams of steak until he is woken up by the others yelling at him because he's licking/tasting Marty's butt. He quickly pretends he'd been counting the stripes on Marty's back to find out whether he is white on black or black on white. Alex declares he's black with white stripes and everyone goes back to sleep. We move into a tree on the edge of the forest where all the lemurs are waiting for the New York giants to fall into deep sleep before they carry them to their home and version of "paradise." 
Antarctica. "Well, this sucks!"
Cut to the penguins in Antarctica. The four of them have gotten off the boat and stand beside each other as we see the view of nothing but cold windy mist clouding up the air and the fact that nothing else is in sight. After a few moments of this one of the penguins turns to the others and says, "Well, this sucks!"
Cut back to King Julien, who wakes up Alex (whose point of view we are seeing as he wakes up) and the zoo animals wake up to find they've been carried away in their sleep to the lemur's beautiful home with waterfalls and all manner of herbivore geared plants. They show Marty the view from the top of the hill and it is just like what is painted on his mural back at the zoo. He and Alex race and during that time Alex undergoes a slight change. His claws come out of his front feet, sharp and ready to use, and his eyes' pupils shrink while the irises grow larger and he becomes more like a predator. They go back to the lemurs' home where Gloria and Melman are having a good time. Marty insists Alex perform his show that he does in NYC but during that Alex starts seeing all of the animals as steaks and ends up biting Marty's butt. Alex goes completely wild and starts chasing down Marty and the others but right after the musical fanfare from the National Geographic programs he gets hit in the head with a large coconut like fruit and briefly he is shaken out of his hunting mode where he realizes what he's done and sadly heads over to the fossa side of the island while Gloria, Marty and Melman head the opposite direction surprised by the fact that they are actually steak to a predator. While the zoo animals walk in the aforementioned direction we cut back and forth from Alex traveling and the others traveling. The song "What a Wonderful World" is played over the two scenes while the scenes show the exact opposite of what the song lyrics indicate. Mary, Gloria and Melman see a hummingbird eaten by a Venus fly trap, then a rabbit like creature gets attacked by a snake which he escapes only to be caught and taken by a hawk. Then the zoo animals see a cute little duckling walking alone and Marty grabs him and takes him to the lake at the end of the path before anything bad can happen to it. Only right after Marty has backed away from the shore and the duckling has started to swim a crocodile lunges up and eats it. During the cuts to Alex we see him building an enclosure for himself to keep his friends safe from him. See it happen at this link (the picture quality isn't very good on this youtube video but it gets the point across. You'll probably have to copy and paste the link because I can't get it to work right.

Cut back to Marty and Gloria and Melman who are trying to figure out a way to help Alex and Marty blames himself for all of these bad things happening. Gloria starts giving them a pep talk when they here the horn of the boat blowing. They all rush to the beach to flagged down the boat. Marty decides to tell them to flag it down while he goes and gets Alex but Gloria stops him and we watch the four penguins disembark and land in front of the zoo animals. One of them is holding a bottle of sunscreen. When Gloria sees them she says "You?! Oh, man... Where are the people?" The skipper says "We killed them and ate their livers." Cut to Gloria and Melman's stunned faces. Back to the penguin who says "Got you, didn't I? Just kidding, doll, the people are fine. They're on a slow lifeboat to China. Hey, I know you two. Where's that psychotic lion and our monochromatic friend?" Gloria and Melman gesture to show Marty's there with them when they see that he actually isn't. They deduce that he has gone back to get Alex and Gloria says "He went back for Alex. He's going to get himself killed!" Skipper turns to the other penguins and says "Well, boys, our monochromatic friend's in danger. Looks like we have a job to do. (to the Private who starts writing all this down on a notepad with a red crayon) Captain's log: Embarking into hostile environment. (to Kowalski) Kowalski. We'll need to win the hearts and minds of the natives. (to Rico) Rico. We'll need special tactical equipment. We're going to face extreme peril. Private probably won't survive."

Hearing this the Private's crayon breaks and we cut to Marty traveling down the predator path to the fossa side of the island to get Alex. He is unaware of the fossa following him. We cut to Alex who is asleep on a rock in his built enclosure and dreaming of all the children and people who came to see him perform in the form of steaks. He is then woken up by Marty who has reached his enclosure. Marty tells him the boat has come back and they can leave but Alex tells Marty to stay back and under further pleading he accidentally swipes at him with his paw before pulling back and saying "I don't want to hurt you." Then he goes inside of a small cave-like rock hut. We cut up to the top of the rock cliff looking down into Alex's enclosure in a dirty over the shoulder look from the fossa looking and getting closer to Marty. Back to Marty, who climbs over and into the enclosure but stops outside the rock hut to talk to Alex. He told him that he's not going to leave without him and then he sits down on a rock outside of the hut but still in the enclosure to wait. While he's waiting he decides to try and get Alex to sing "New York, New York" just like Alex tried to get Marty to sing it at the beginning of the movie except Alex doesn't join in.
The Fossa.
 Then Marty realizes he is being surrounded by fossa and he calls Alex for help but Alex disregards it and doesn't know that the fossa are trying to kill Marty. Marty starts to run crying "Help!" over and over again until Melman swings down from a vine giving a "Tarzan" yell and scoops Marty out of the fossa's reach only to run smack dab into a rock. Gloria is right there beside him and she yells "Run!" and they all run as fast as they can to escape the huge following of fossa. Marty asks "What's the plan?" Gloria replies as she runs "This is the plan." We zoom in on two fossa running and one of them says "Fossa hungry." The other one says "Fossa eat." Marty yells "This is the plan?" Then one of the penguins, the Skipper slides in between the zoo animals and the fossa and points a red flare gun at the fossa and says "Fossa halt." And they do and so do the zoo animals who turn around to see the penguin pointing the gun at the fossa. Then the Skipper points it straight up and fires it into the sky. The fossa watch it saying "Fossa ooh. Fossa aaahh. Fossa ooh. Fossa aaahh." While they are distracted the penguins proceed to make a diversion by putting a penguin with cool whip and a cherry on top of a plate on a rigged table made out of the ship's steering wheel. The penguin on the plate yells to the fossa "Come and get it." The fossa stop saying their line and turn their attention to the penguin on a plate. This works as a distraction for awhile but everyone is really saved when Alex comes in pretending that he is the main predator and these zoo animals are his food only and yells at the fossa to stay away from this place and never come back again. They all run away and Gloria, Melman, Marty and Alex celebrate with a group hug. Then Alex asks "So, what's for lunch?" The other three animals eyes go wide with a loud violin note at the same time and we cut to the beach where the penguins have come up with an idea for Alex to try sushi and see if that will work. King Julien has a Plan "B" just in case it doesn't work and he holds Mort up to Alex's mouth but the sushi does work and everybody celebrates and King Julien gives Alex his crown as a parting token, but only because he has a new bigger crown for himself. This one has a gecko on it. Then all the zoo animals except the four penguins get on the boat and wave goodbye to everyone. We cut to the penguins suntanning and waving to Gloria, Marty, Melman and Alex. Private says "Skipper? Don't you think we should tell them that the boat's out of gas?" Skipper: "Nah. Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave." And End Credits roll here to the song "Move It" complete with dancing animals and people from the movie.

"Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave."

The key voice actors and key animators definitely exceeded my expectations in portraying the story. It was fun and hilarious to watch. They used the type of cartooning that is classic to most old cartoons but they made it for the 3D world which is no small feat. I thoroughly enjoyed watching it and watching it again. I loved the madness of the lemurs but I must admit that my favorite character was Mort. He was just so cute! The fact that 60% of his head was taken up by his pleading eyes had something to do with that fact I'm sure.

The use of music in this film was very well done with just enough scoring to match the right amount of songs with lyrics although the characters themselves never sing except for King Julien who sings "Move It." That was my favorite scene to watch. The one with all the dancing lemurs. But I also liked the complete disparity between the song "What a Wonderful World" and the action sequence that was actually happening onscreen. That was art to me and it was very good for an animated film. The jump cuts were used a lot to help the feeling of being rushed or chased or scared feel more realistic. The Point Of View shots when Alex wakes up from sleeping and we see through his sleepy eyes and therefore see the darkness inside his eyelids before he truly wakes up.

Good bye everyone!
Definitely go out and watch Madagascar. It is a very good funny movie. If you're sad or bored or tired sit back and watch this movie and you'll feel better afterward. I also loved the penguins being portrayed as spies and ninjas. This whole movie is one whole laughing fit. Your sides might get sore but it's worth it. Don't forget to stay for the credits, since there are many more characters dancing in it than in the movie. Mort even does a breakdance. Go watch this movie now and you won't regret it!

Note: The movie animation is better than this shows.