Merry Madagascar

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Merry Madagascar Movie Poster Image
Funny holiday special spreads goodwill and joy.
  • NR
  • 2009
  • 30 minutes

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 4 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The special is intended to entertain rather than to educate. 

Positive Messages

Strong messages about the joy of giving. Each new challenge tests the animals’ bonds of friendship, but they stick together to get the job done.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main characters make the difficult and unselfish decision to postpone their homecoming in order to make the holidays merry for all the kids on Santa’s Christmas list. Usually selfish King Julien learns why it's more fun to give than to receive.

Violence & Scariness

Santa’s sleigh crashes onto a beach, giving him a nasty bump on the head and a case of amnesia. A later crash brings back his memory. Other falls, crashes, and mishaps are played for humor and don’t result in lasting injury.

Sexy Stuff

Some mild flirting between a penguin and a reindeer that culminates in a dream scene showing the two married.   


Some mild name-calling like “freak,” and at least one reference to a character’s “booty.”


Nothing overt in the special itself, but there's plenty of tie-in merchandise available.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In one scene, a lemur acts tipsy (swaggers around, giggles a lot, and talks nonsense), causing another to comment that he must have had too much seawater.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this holiday special sequel to the popular Madagascar films has strong positive messages about generosity and goodwill. Expect some very mild flirting between a penguin and a reindeer and a reference to a character’s “booty,” but that’s about as eyebrow-raising as the content gets (there's also one instance of implied drinking, but it's brief and silly). The cartoonish violence is very mild -- so much so that even little kids won’t be upset by a scene of Santa’s sleigh crashing into the ground and the big man suffering a visible bump to the head. If your kids haven’t seen the full-length movies yet, they may want to after watching this.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 2 and 8-year-old Written bystaticxtx December 15, 2009
My children love Madagascar, especially my 2 year we went and bought the Merry Madagascar has positive messages about sharing and considering... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bymurdermystery May 30, 2020
Kid, 9 years old January 13, 2018

What's the story?

New York Zoo’s famously displaced foursome has a plan to get home to Manhattan just in time for Christmas, but fate steps in with a major detour when Santa’s sleigh crash-lands on Madagascar and he’s stricken with amnesia. Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller), Melman (David Schwimmer), Gloria (Jada Pinket Smith), and Marty (Chris Rock) -- along with the crafty penguins -- happily commandeer St. Nick’s ride and point it toward the Big Apple, but they soon realize that they’re the only ones who can save Christmas for kids all over the world. When they set aside their own ambitions to help others, they discover that the magic of the season truly knows no bounds.

Is it any good?

Fans of Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa will find this holiday-themed follow-up a worthy addition to the popular series. The special is packed with the same character-based comedy that fans love, complete with a fresh target for the maniacal South Pole penguins: a “polar” rivalry with Santa’s North Pole reindeer. Kids and adults will both enjoy the special's cheerful chuckles punctuated by the quirky animals at the heart of the cast.

Happily, though, there’s a real attempt here to mix feel-good messages about generosity, caring, and compassion with the silly stuff. Viewers will empathize as Alex and his friends face a relatable dilemma in choosing between finally going home and saving Christmas, and parents can draw comparisons between the animals’ predicament and real-life scenarios their kids might be facing, reminding kids that there's real joy to be found in putting others’ needs ahead of our own. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the special portrays friendship. Kids: What makes a good friend? How do different personalities complement each other in a good friendship? Which of your friends are very different from you?

  • In what ways do cartoons use stereotypes for humor? Did you notice any stereotypes or exaggerations in this show? Do any of them seem iffy to you?

  • Kids: What aspects of the holidays do you most like? What does it mean to refer to Christmas as the “season of giving”? How do you show generosity during the holidays?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love the holidays

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate