Island of Lemurs: Madagascar



Nature docu explores fascinating world & history of lemurs.
  • Review Date: April 4, 2014
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Release Year: 2014
  • Running Time: 40 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Viewers will learn a whole lot about the lemurs of Madagascar: the various kinds of lemurs, their habitats, which ones are endangered, their sizes and characteristics, and what makes them and the land of Madagascar so special. They'll also learn how they're organized into societies and how the females rule and the males defend.

Positive messages

The documentary stresses the importance of Madagascar's biodiversity and keeping lemurs safe from extinction. It also discusses humans' role in the destruction of the lemur habitat, but with a gentle touch and emphasis on what's being done to preserve the land.

Positive role models

Dr. Patricia Wright is a world-renowned primatologist, anthropologist, and conservationist. Her commitment to saving and studying the lemurs is inspiring. She has dedicated her life to studying lemurs and educating others about their importance.

Violence & scariness

Unlike comparable documentaries, there isn't much violence in this documentary. There's references to how many lemurs have died over the years, but nothing frightening or notable. Some scenes of wildfires burning out of control and potentially threatening lemurs and their habitat.

Sexy stuff

Brief discussions about finding "mates," but nothing specific about sex.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Island of Lemurs: Madagascar is a 40-minute IMAX film about the unique biodiversity of the island of Madagascar, particularly the lemurs. Although there's references to certain lemurs being endangered, there's no violence -- except some potentially threatening wildfires -- to scare off younger viewers. Despite the brevity of the documentary, audiences of all ages will learn a great deal about lemurs and their importance to Madagascar and the world. This is a great family-friendly nature film to see while at a museum or any theater with an IMAX screen.

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What's the story?

ISLAND OF LEMURS: MADAGASCAR is a 3D IMAX documentary about the African island nation's most celebrated native primates: lemurs. Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the 40-minute film explores various species of lemurs, from the teeny tiny mouse lemur (the world's smallest primate) to the extra-large indri lemur (which is prominently featured in Madagascar mythology). In addition to learning about lemurs, the documentary also features renowned primatologist Dr. Patricia Wright, who has dedicated her anthropology career to lemur research and conservation.

Is it any good?


At this point in his career, Freeman could narrate Wikipedia pages and make them sound fascinating. But unlike March of the Penguins, this documentary doesn't focus solely on the animals or anthropomorphize them into human-like characters in a relatable feel-good story. The filmmakers also include interviews with lemur expert Dr. Patricia Wright, who explains why the lemurs of Madagascar are unlike any other animal on Earth. Her love of the animals is infectious and makes you see why lemurs are so much more than just the "move it, move it" singers in Madagascar.

The film follows various kinds of lemurs, sharing information about why they're important or endangered or just plain adorable. Kids will love finding out that the tiny mouse lemur is the teeniest primate and that the indri is considered part of a Madagascar creation story. With sweeping vistas of the Madgascar landscape, close-ups of the many lemurs, and educational narration, Island of Lemurs is an IMAX film the whole family can enjoy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of wildlife documentaries. What attracts families to nature films about animals? How are lemur families similar to human families?

  • Which lemur is your favorite and why? What did you learn about lemurs that you didn't know before?

  • Who is Dr. Patricia Wright and how did she end up as a lemur expert? What would you like to be an expert in?

  • What is Morgan Freeman's role in this movie? Do you think he cares about lemurs? Does a narrator need to know anything about the story?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 4, 2014
DVD release date:March 31, 2015
Cast:Morgan Freeman
Director:David Douglas
Studio:Warner Bros.
Topics:Science and nature, Wild animals
Run time:40 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of Island of Lemurs: Madagascar was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 8 years old May 26, 2015

Great IMAX adventure has some scary moments.

My rating PG: some violence.


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