Merry Madagascar

  • Review Date: November 17, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 30 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Funny holiday special spreads goodwill and joy.
  • Review Date: November 17, 2009
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 30 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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.   

Language

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

Consumerism

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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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. 

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:November 17, 2009
DVD release date:November 18, 2009
Cast:Andy Richter, Ben Stiller, Chris Rock
Director:David Soren
Studio:DreamWorks Animation
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:30 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Merry Madagascar was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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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, 10 years old December 4, 2010
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

One of the best Christmas movies ever!

Love it! I love the Madagascar movies,espically this one. This is the movie that will grow a smile on a kid's face!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 2 and 8 year old Written bystaticxtx December 15, 2009
AGE
2
QUALITY
 
My children love Madagascar, especially my 2 year old...so we went and bought the Merry Madagascar DVD...it has positive messages about sharing and considering other people's feelings. I see nothing wrong with letting children of all ages watch this movie.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old June 29, 2010
AGE
5
QUALITY
 

Christmas Tradition!

I LOVE this movie...It's something the whole family can watch every Christmas! Only a little bit of violence causing amnesia and during the beginning...Mort the Mouse Lemur passes out from too much sea water. I recommend this for kids ages 5+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages

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