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Madagascar is an American 2005 computer-animated comedy produced by DreamWorks Animation. The movie is about four friends — Alex the Lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) — who live in New York's Central Park Zoo. Since they have lived their whole life in the zoo, they are unaware of what the wilderness is like or the fact that Alex is their natural predator (he believes the natural role of lions is to perform song-and-dance numbers). After they are shipped off to a wildlife reserve for escaping, they become shipwrecked on the coast of Madagascar. There they meet a society of lemurs and Alex's true nature as a carnivore starts to emerge.

On November 7, 2008, a sequel titled Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa came out, followed by a third film titled Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, which came out on June 8, 2012.


There have also been two Christmas Specials: the short film A Christmas Caper (set before the first movie) and the TV special Merry Madagascar (set between the first and second movies). A Valentine's Day TV special, Madly Madagascar, has been released as well, set between the second and third movies. Like with many animation properties, a series of tie-in games exists.

The series is notable for featuring the voices of comedians Chris Rock and Ben Stiller, as well as Friends alumnus David Schwimmer. On March 29, 2009 a Spinoff called The Penguins of Madagascar premiered on Nickelodeon. It takes place in Central Park Zoo and most notably features the penguins, lemurs, and chimps, and is not canonically related to the films. The main cast do not make appearances in the series though Alex has a cameo in one of the specials as Skipper's spirit guide.


In November 2014, a spinoff film, Penguins of Madagascar, was released. As its name implies, it focuses on the penguins, although it is still in canon with the movies instead of the TV series, taking place after the third film. On December 19, 2014 another spinoff series All Hail King Julien premiered on Netflix, this time taking place on Madagascar prior to the events of the first film.

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  • Accidental Misnaming:
    • No, Makunga, his name's Bob, not Shirley.
    • Stefano keeps calling Alex "Alice".
  • Alter Kocker: The old lady, complete with Vampire Vords.
  • Ambiguously Gay: King Julien up until the second film where asks all of his subjects which one is attracted to him. The third film gives him a canon girlfriend, Sonya the Bear, thus making him Ambiguously Bi.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: The level of technology seen throughout the series is kept rather low, while Freeze-Frame Bonus in the second movie seem to imply the present plot is set in the 80s, another one in the third movie implies the setting is present day. Confusing things further is Penguins of Madagascar, which ditches the retro aesthetic entirely and displays futuristic looking technology.
  • Animal Gender-Bender: Lemur groups in real life are ruled by females, though Maurice pointed out that Julien's title is a self-proclaimed one.
  • Animal Talk: Oddly, it's never made clear if Alex understands the concept that humans can't understand him, as he talks to them like he expects to be heard in all three movies.
  • Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag: The animal characters go between walking on all fours to walking like human beings like it's nobody's business.
  • Artifact Title:
    • The second film starts in Madagascar, and has nothing else to do with it.
    • The third film has nothing to do with Madagascar, except that at the end of the film, Captain Chantel, along with three officers, are sent to Madagascar. Ditto for the spinoff movie and TV series (yes, we mean the television series, not the Netflix one).
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Skipper, the penguin's leader.
  • Ax-Crazy:
  • Bamboo Technology:
    • Marty's house in the first movie, and the plane in the second movie does it twice.
    • The (rebuilt) plane (more like an autogyro) reappears in the third film but ends up completely totaled with no hope for repair.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The Central Theme of the entire series. Marty wants to go to the Wild (aka Connecticut), the penguins want to go to Antarctica, Marty wants to belong to a herd of zebras, Gloria wants to have children and the "core four" want to return to the Central Park Zoo in the second and third films. None of it pans out for them, save for Melman carrying a torch for Gloria.
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: In the first two films, a little elderly lady named Nana brutally beats up Alex, calling him a "bad kitty".
  • Breakout Character:
    • The Penguins, who got their own short, and later an animated series and a spinoff film.
    • King Julien, as well as Maurice and Mort by association, who manages to join the penguins in their animated series (taking Alex's place in the Zoo, no less) and later his own animated series.
  • Butt-Monkey: Mort. Even more so in the television spinoff.
  • Call-Back: Remember in the first movie when Alex said being stranded in Madagascar was the worst thing to ever happen to them? Try watching the end of the third movie.
    Alex: Leaving the zoo was the best thing to ever happen to us.
    Marty: Really?
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The plane. It appears first during the lemurs' meeting in the first film, then shows up again in the second film where it's used to get the main characters to Africa and then appears again later. It then appears a final time in the third film.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • "When we need water, we build a dam!"
    • Not to mention the bite marks on Marty's butt from the first film, which Alex uses to tell the difference between him and the rest of the herd of identical zebras in the second.
    • The diamonds and gold found in the second movie become more useful in the third movie.
    • "Trapeze Americano".
  • The Chew Toy: Alex and Melman have their moments, especially in the first movie.
  • Christmas Special: A Christmas Caper and Merry Madagascar.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: King Julien, ever so much.
  • Cloudcuckoolanguage: King Julien is a crazy, party-loving, self-obsessed lemur who has Malaproper tendencies.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Zuba and Florrie disappear from the franchise after the second film due to the death of Zuba’s actor Bernie Mac.
  • Cool Old Lady: The little old woman from the first movie, who beats up a lion while everyone else is running in terror. She returns in the second, and actually contrives to become even more dangerous. She is present in the penguins' special, too, but lacking Alex she has no fighting scene.
  • Denser and Wackier: Goes further in this direction with every new movie.
  • Shown Their Work: All of Phil's sign language throughout the franchise is accurate, American Sign Language - Mason's interpretation isn't always perfect but it is suitably close enough to count.
    • Melman's will in the sand in the first movie is an accurate, legal and binding will.
  • Disney Acid Sequence:
    • Alex's Mushroom Samba from the first movie, when he's hit by a tranquilizing dart (set to the Sammy Davis, Jr. cover of "The Candy Man").
    • In the third movie, the circus performance is very trippy, with colorful flashing lights in front of a dark background, and animals flying around in all directions. It's hard to tell what is actually happening on-stage and what is just imagination.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The Penguins, whether by land, air or sea. Of course animals can't drive, but the Penguins themselves seem to take delight in pulling this trope.
    (Madagascar 2) Skipper: "When it comes to air travel, we know you have no choice whatsoever, but thanks again for choosing Penguin Air."
    (Madagascar 3) Skipper: "No brakes?!" (Looks at Kowalski, who smiles and shrugs) "Well, way to commit, soldier!"
  • Elderly Blue-Haired Lady: Not literally, but the Penguins identify that old woman by the codename "Bluehair".
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: So much so that it crosses with Ensemble Dark Horse and eventually spawned a spin-off.
  • Fat and Skinny:
    • King Julien and Maurice. Somewhat inverted because the fat one is the Straight Man.
    • Gloria and Melman count as well.
  • Female Gaze:
    • Done quite disturbingly in Moto Moto's entrance.
    • The way the camera lingers on Vitaly as he douses himself in oil/mane conditioner for his act is... suggestive.
  • Foreshadowing: In Merry Madagascar, which was made after the second movie, but takes place before it, Gloria and Melman get some light Ship Tease to build up to their future relationship they start in the second one.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Spider: In the first movie, Alex finds a big hairy spider on his shoulders. The only thing the spider does is give him a big friendly smile and a cheery "Well, howdy-do", but Alex freaks out anyway.
  • Genial Giraffe: Melman the giraffe is one of the main protagonists. He's high-strung but sweet, and The Heart of the team. He even eventually hooks up with Gloria the hippo!
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!:
    • Alex in the first film: "Darn you! Darn you all to heck!"
    • Done again by Vitaly in the third film: "That's bolshevik!"
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Maurice.
  • Interquel:
    • Merry Madagascar takes place between the first and second movies.
    • Madly Madagascar takes place between the second and third movies.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • In the sequel, Melman reveals he has feelings for Gloria. By the end of the movie, it's mutual. In third movie we get Julien and Sonya, and Alex and Gia.
    • At least Alex and Gia are both felines.
    • In Merry Madagascar there is Private and Cupid.
  • Jive Turkey: Marty the Zebra is the only one of the group to use street slang.
  • Keet: Alex is really hyperactive, especially in the first one. So much that Skipper refers to him as "that psychotic lion". This is probably a gag on that Alex called the penguins psychotic earlier.
  • Large Ham: King Julien XIII.
  • Leitmotif: Several of the characters/character groups seem to have their own theme:
    • King Julien has "I Like To Move It Move It" (which is also the series's theme).
    • Mort has this dorky "La La La La La" song.
    • Moto Moto has "I Like Them Big, I Like Them Chunky".
    • Alex has "Alex The Lion" & "The Traveling Song". He also shares a Love Theme with Gia the Jaguar, "Love Comes As A Surprise".
    • The Penguins as a theme done in the style of Mission: Impossible, James Bond, or spy flicks in general.
    • The Chimps have a goofy, bouncy theme that can only be described as "fun-loving mayhem".
    • Makunga has a throbbing, dark, ominous, villainous bad guy theme.
    • Nana has the theme from The Good, the Bad and the Ugly....polka-style (being a stereotypical Jewish granny Alter Kocker and all).
    • Vitaly has this cool, deep, Russian choir of deep, manly voices.
    • Chantell DuBois has this really swanky & vampish tango music.
  • Male Gaze:
    • When DuBois is sniffing out the animals in Monte Carlo, one of her men can't help but get a good look at her as she's crawling around. Another officer notices this and smacks him.
    • Done a lot with Gloria. They don't even try to hide her rear end!
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Gloria and Melman.
  • Meaningful Echo: Alex says to Marty, "I'm thinking of a song. It's a wonderful song. I think you're familiar with it." Then after singing, the first verse of New York, New York, Alex says, "C'mon, you know the words. Two little words." Later, Marty says and does the same thing after he tells Alex, who is on the fossa side of the island so that he can protect Marty and the others from himself, that he's not leaving without him.
    • It becomes a Tranqed Mid Sentence, and he hams it up with an imitation Russian accent, but it's still pretty meaningful when Alex echoes Vitaly's Badass Boast: "We go back and we show them how wrong we were... and if we go down in flames... so be it!" (The first part also echoes Alex's intended rebuke for the penguins in Monte Carlo, "show them how wrong they were (for leaving us)".)
  • Meaningful Name:
    • According to the November 2008 issue of National Geographic Kids, "Moto Moto" in an African language (they didn't say which one, possibly Swahili) does mean "hot hot".
    • Vitaly's name is one letter away from "vital" and he is The Heart of the circus. "As Vitaly goes, so does the circus."
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Good God, the Penguins are so full of this that it's ridiculous. Wait, that was the whole point, wasn't it?
  • Mushroom Samba: Alex has two of them when he is shot in the hand by a tranquilizer dart.
  • Musical Slapstick Montage: In the first film, a montage of Alex suffering due to the wild on the island plays, to the sound of "What a Wonderful World".
  • Never Say "Die": Averted across the first two movies, though principally (if not always) with Ineffectual Death Threats.
  • Nice Hat: King Julien consistently makes himself bigger and more garish crowns with leaves, small animals, carved wood, flamingo feathers... anything. What he does with the old ones is unknown. In the first movie he has two different crowns and in the second he changes between three different crowns.
  • No Cartoon Fish:
    • The fish are the only non-anthropomorphic animals in the entire first film, and thus the only things predators can eat without feeling guilty.
    • Averted in the second film, with the screaming fish at the watering hole.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Melman the giraffe seems to be a parody of Woody Allen, if being nerdy, neurotic, and Ambiguously Jewish is any indication.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries:
    • Surprisingly averted in a film where hippos can walk on their back legs.
    • In the third film, however, Gia the jaguar has a body shape that certainly suggests breasts.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Skipper.
  • Official Couple: By the end of the second movie, Melman and Gloria. This carries over into the third movie, though very little is done with it, aside from a few pet names and their duo tightrope act.
  • Older Than They Look: Mort. Word of God says that Mort is actually 35. The scene revealing this was cut out. This takes him from cute to downright creepy.
  • Only Sane Man: Maurice - although not by a whole lot. He has a tendency to agree with King Julien on a lot of his majesty's crazy ideas.
  • Out of Focus: Melman and Gloria have a substantial amount of lines and screen time in the third film, but the story mostly focuses on Alex and the circus folk, with the Penguins, Julien, and the police having their own subplots. Marty also suffers from this a little, but he fares better than Melman and Gloria.
  • Overly Long Gag: Anything Julien says feels like this.
    Talking to crowd: What does that do? Excellent question. First, my sacrifice goes in the volcano. Then, the friendly gods eat up my sacrifice.
    As water god: Mmm, very nice. Thank you for the sacrifice.
    As Julien: Here, have another sacrifice.
    As water god: No, I've had enough for today.
    As Julien: Listen, I'm going to be very insulted if you don't take another.
    As water god: I don't want another sacrifice, okay?
    As Julien: But look at you! You look skinny!
    As water god: No! I've had enough! Is that clear?
    • Gia's shooting down of Alex's somewhat delusional belief the circus animals saw him as an intimidating leader partakes of this too.
  • Overly Long Name: King Julien's full name.
  • Parental Bonus:
  • Pilot Movie: The Madagascar Penguins in a Christmas Caper is one for The Penguins of Madagascar, featuring early versions of core elements from the spinoff, most prominently the Penguin base and Rico's Ax-Crazy redesign.
  • Prequel:
    • A Christmas Caper takes place shortly before the first movie.
    • All Hail King Julien is presumably set several years before the first movie. And even ends on the night Alex and co arrive on Madagascar.
  • Reference Overdosed: The first movie especially. There's an estimated average of one pop culture joke every 20 seconds.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Mort the lemur.
  • Robinsonade
  • Rule of Funny: More and more with the series. Why can Marty soar through the air in the 3rd movie? Because it's hilarious.
  • Running on All Fours: Lampshaded by Marty.
  • Sapient Eat Sapient: Not only does the first movie play with Alex's awakening carnivorous nature, the second has a group of humans nearly ready to eat Alex himself before he reveals he's a famous lion.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Gloria is voiced to sound like one.
  • Saving Christmas: Merry Madagascar.
  • Scenery Porn: Quite a lot of it, particularly the scene where Julien shows them "paradise".
  • Small, Annoying Creature: Mort, particularly to Julien.
  • Soft Glass:
    • The old lady flying through the jeep's windscreen. Though this is the same woman who can hold her own against lions, and survived the same jeep knocking her over.
    • The Zoosters also fall unscathed through a skylight in Europe's Most Wanted.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance:
    • In the first film, "What a Wonderful World" plays while Alex flees his friends and his friends (elsewhere) see various animals getting eaten as they take a walk.
      • This is somewhat justified in that the music itself is more melancholic than you would anticipate from the text.
    • Later, in the midst of Alex chasing Marty down to eat him, the National Geographic Fanfare is played.
    • Another during the second movie. While Alex is fighting the old lady, a fast polka version of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly's theme is played.
      • It's reprised at the end when Nana (the old lady) beats up Makunga.
    • Also in Escape 2 Africa, the plane rescue of Alex has "Copacabana" playing.
    • And in Escape 2 Africa, the jeep the penguins steal has a tape that plays "More Than A Feeling".
    • In the third film, Enya's Watermark plays during Sonya and Julien's Falling-in-Love Montage.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": King Julien, not Julian.
  • Spinoff: Penguins of Madagascar, which is justified in that Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman's stories were more or less wrapped up in a neat bow.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    • In A Christmas Caper, after Private runs off, Skipper tells his men to think about the Penguin Credo. Kowalski thinks that he is referring to "Never bathe in hot oil and Bisquick." Later, when the penguins find Private again, Skipper tells him to remember the Penguin Credo, and he replies "What does deep-frying in Bisquick have to do with any of this?"
    • In the third movie, both DuBois and Vitaly comment on Alex's "glossy mane".
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land:
    • The first film implies this to be the reason why the penguins didn't stay within Antarctica like what they originally wanted, especially as Penguins of Madagascar reveals they were born there.
    • By the third film, Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman finally complete The Homeward Journey. Unfortunately, their adventures throughout the series made them unfit at the Central Park Zoo. To make things worse, they're apprehended and trapped there with increased security measures, and the animal control officer who captured them still wants them dead. Fortunately, their friends come to their rescue, and in the end Alex and the gang decide they belong in a touring circus.
  • Take That!:
    Julien: Hmm, New York. It's kind of a dump. Are you sure we're not in New Jersey?
    • In the third movie:
    Alex: Are you kidding?! I don't drive, I'm a New Yorker!
  • Tastes Like Chicken: The little old lady says lions do.
  • Those Two Guys:
    • King Julien and Maurice.
    • Maurice and Mort in the third film.
    • Also, the chimpanzee duo.
  • True Companions: Over the course of the movies, the zoosters eventually form a close group throughout their travels. The group starts off with four members in Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman, and later expands to include the penguins and chimps (as of the end of the first movie), King Julian, Maurice and Mort (as of the second movie) and the circus animals (as of the third movie).
  • Walking Disaster Area: Dear God, yes. Alex, Marty and the penguins in particular can't seem to not cause widespread damage, though in the penguins' case, they really don't care (and enjoy it, too.)
  • When Elders Attack: The little old lady.

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Plastic spoons. The Penguins are able to use them to tunnel through concrete.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • In the beginning of the movie, Alex's face while posing for a camera is the Blue Steel, the signature pose of Derek Zoolander.
    • His "surprise" face to Marty has been interpreted as a nod to a scene from the same movie when Derek, covered in coal soot, jumps out of a dark corner to scare his father.
    • Marty's "black with white stripes or white with black stripes" conflict is an allusion to Chris Rock's own racially-themed comedy.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: King Julian's plan was to have Alex be the protector of the lemurs since he scared the fossa off by accident. But, Maurice was the sole dissenter of this plan because he recognised Alex as a carnivore and knew that it was only a matter of time before he goes savage and tries to hunt one of their own.
  • An Aesop: There's no place like home.
  • Ascended Extra: The little old lady from the first movie plays an important role in the second.
  • Big Damn Reunion: Parodied. After being washed ashore, Alex and Marty are happily running towards each other in slow motion and to swelling music... until Alex's face turns menacing and Marty realizes he better U-turn and leg it.
    Marty: Oh Sugar Honey Ice Tea!
  • Black Comedy: In the first film, Marty, Melman, and Gloria try to save a duckling after witnessing a mouse get attacked by a snake and carried off by a hawk. When they take the duckling to a nearby lake, a crocodile swoops up and swallows him whole.
  • Blatant Lies: When Alex's hunger starts to become uncontrollable and Meat-O-Vision kicks in, Marty tells Alex that Alex is biting his butt. Alex denies it even with Marty's butt still in his mouth.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Alex's threat to kill Marty, clone him and then kill his clones.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: "The fossa. They're always annoying us by trespassing, interrupting our parties, and ripping our limbs off."
  • Brick Joke: Alex having a drink and doing a Spit Take upon realizing that it's seawater, which comes back at the end when everyone raises drinks to Alex, resulting in everyone spitting it out.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Alex's arc is an interesting take on this — Alex grew up in the zoo and has eaten steak his entire life, so he never learned to hunt and never realized Marty was "made of steak", so to speak. When he hasn't eaten for a couple days, his instincts kick in and he has a hard time coming to terms with his predatory nature. He eventually deals with it by having the penguins make him sushi - apparently fish aren't sentient (in the second film this is ignored).
  • Cassandra Truth: Maurice is constantly dismissed when trying to explain that Alex's odd behavior around Marty is because of his carnivorous nature.
  • Chekhov's Army: Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private. Not only do they end up inspiring Marty's plan to go to the wild, they also commandeer the ship and cause Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria to end up on Madagascar, and in the climax they show up on the island too and assist the main characters in driving away the fossa.
  • Clingy Aquatic Life: When the animals wash up on the shores of Madagascar, Gloria comes out of the water with seaweed on her head to look like long hair, as well as two starfish and a crab stuck to her body, positioned to look like she's wearing a bikini.
  • Cultural Translation: In the Korean dub, the Zoosters don't think they're in San Diego, but Hollywood. Likely because a Korean audience probably wouldn't know what San Diego was.
  • Curse Cut Short: Combined with Getting Crap Past the Radar and Thermometer Gag concerning a birthday gift from Melman to Marty...cue Marty going, "MOTHER-F...*Phhbbllaaghht*!"
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: "I'm going to strangle you! And bury you! Then dig you up and clone you, and then kill all your clones! And then, I'm never talking to you again!"
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: The penguins somehow manage to tunnel out of their habitat by using plastic spoons.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Invoked (unintentionally) when Julien first tests the New York animals by throwing Mort to them.
    Gloria: I just wanna dunk him in my coffee!
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • This film is much slower-paced than its sequels and is more like a series of related sketches strung together rather than a single flowing plot. Character movements are also much jerkier than in later installments.
    • In their minimal screentime in this movie, Mason and Phil have their own distinct Odd Couple personality quirks that never really show up again in the later movies.
  • Escaped Animal Rampage: The first movie is about a gang of zoo animals who escape in the city because one of them — Marty — is bored of his zoo life, and the others follow him in order to get him back to the zoo. They are then re-captured and released into the wild.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Marty's daydream at the beginning where Alex sneaks up on him, and then when Marty has his head in Alex's mouth before retrieving the snow globe, and finally how Alex has a dream about steaks falling around him and he wakes up to find himself licking Marty, sets up how later in the film, Alex will, in a fit of hungry hallucination, imagine Marty as a steak and attempt to eat him.
    • When Alex greets the fossa and is scared by the spider on his back, he scares them away with what, from their point of view, is a roar. In the climax, he roars his presence when he saves his friends and drives the fossa away for good.
  • Funny Background Event: While the focus is on the Penguins in their habitat, the monkey habitat can be seen in the background. Mason is grooming Phil, who keeps drinking cans of root beer until he eventually falls out of his tree by the end of the scene.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Oh Sugar Honey Ice Tea!"
  • Groin Attack: Poor Alex was kicked in the groin three times in the movie. First one, during the fight with old lady in Grand Central station. Second one, when he and his friend were surrounded by the police, he was kicked again by this brutal woman! Third one, on Madagascar, when he destroyed Melman's box, a piece of board strike his crotch (knocking Alex into the air and causing to stop and moan in pain once he landed).
  • Hilarity in Zoos: The first act of the movie takes place in the Central Park Zoo, where the animals provide some hilarious antics.
  • Horror Hunger: Lions are carnivores, and Alex's friends are made of meat...
  • Hulk Speak: The fossa.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    Marty: He just shushed me!
    Gloria: Marty, you've just got to be a little more un-
    Alex: Shush!
    Gloria: Don't you shush me!
  • I Am a Monster: Alex says this once his lion instincts start kicking in out of hunger, and his friends start turning into Meat-O-Vision steaks.
  • I'll Kill You!: A particularly ridiculous one:
    Alex: I'm gonna kill you, Marty! I'm gonna strangle you! Then bury you, dig you up and clone you! Then I'm gonna kill all your clones! Then, I'm never talking to you again!
  • Implausible Deniability: Alex, when he first loses it and attacks Marty.
    Marty: Excuse me, you're biting my butt!
    Alex: (teeth clamped on Marty's butt) ...No, I'm not.
  • Instant Soprano: Alex in Grand Central Station after a second Groin Attack from the old woman, says this in a very high-pitched voice: "Oh! Would you give a guy a break?!"
  • Island Help Message: They were trying to say "HELP", but the "P" collapses, so it reads "HELL".
  • It Has Been an Honor: When it looks like the fossa will overwhelm them, Skipper has a few parting words for his crew.
    Skipper: It's been a real pleasure serving with you, boys.
  • I Was Just Joking: In the first movie Skipper knows perfectly well that everybody thinks he and his team are crazy. He doesn't seem to care.
    Gloria: Where are the people?
    Skipper: We killed 'em and ate their livers. (Gloria looks horrified. Skipper just grins) Gotcha, didn't I?
  • Just Train Wrong: When Alex, Melman and Gloria are on the subway trying to get to Grand Central, the train they're on is made of R 62 A subway cars, but they're depicted as having two sets of doors when the real life cars have three sets.
  • Meadow Run: More like "Beach Run". Nothing like realizing halfway through one that one of the duo is really, really furious...
  • Meat-O-Vision: An interesting twist, in that the character in question (a lion) is looking this way at a zebra, which in the wild would have been among its prey.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first half of the movie is your typical animated comedy, but during the third act, after Alex bites Marty and tries to eat him, the movie becomes rather dark and depressing, but everything is back to normal at the end.
  • Mouth Cam: The sequence where Alex is trying to be friendly with Mort, with a Mouth Cam shot used to show just how threatening he is unintentionally being.
  • Mushroom Samba: Alex has two of them after being shot in the hand by a tranquilizer dart. Both have "The Candy Man" playing in the background, but the second samba is sped up.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Two, and each time, "What have I done?" is actually said:
    • Alex has one after he's brought to his senses and realizes he came very close to killing Marty and his friends out of hunger. He promptly exiles himself to the other side of the island.
    • Marty has one shortly after that, when he realizes his wish to go to the wild has gotten them lost and nearly killed by Alex.
  • Nature vs. Nurture: Alex's arc revolves around this. His predatory side has always been suppressed due to the constant supply of meat. So when he's on the island and deprived of meat, his predatory side comes to the surface and he nearly kills Marty in a fit of hunger. His predatory side is buried again when he replaces his steak diet with fish.
  • Never My Fault: Alex, Marty, and Melman all have their moments regarding whose to blame for the situation at hand.
    • After the main characters wake up in the crates, Alex blames Marty for ticking off the people at the station and Melman for suggesting the idea of going to the wild to Marty, even though he also inadvertently did both.
    • Marty insists that he's not at fault, even though by escaping the zoo he is indeed indirectly at fault for what happened. Immediately lampshaded by Gloria.
    • Melman blames Marty for jinxing them by telling them what he wished for when he blew out his candles - despite the fact that, as Marty points out, he WARNED them that it wasn't a good idea to do it and they made him.
  • Noisy Nature: Played with: The main characters are animals in a New York City zoo. Fair enough - but in the background are generic jungle noises. The cast go to bed... and Alex yells that someone left the ambiance on. When that happens, a generic New York City background noise replaces it, complete with sirens. Alex the lion then yawns and relaxes and goes to sleep. Surprisingly, this is Truth in Television, since many zoos do have random jungle white noise played throughout the park to make the guests (and animals) feel more immersed.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The ending of the first film implies this may be the case for Julien. May.
  • Oh, Crap!: When the Zoo animals finally realize Alex is a starving carnivore.
    Marty: What, come on, do I look like a steak to you?
    Alex: YEAH!
    Marty: See, I told you I don't look like a... wait, what did you just say?
  • Parachute in a Tree: When Alex demands to meet the people, King Julien points to the skeleton of a parachuter on a tree.
  • Parodies of Fire: The Chariots of Fire theme music is played when Alex and Marty find each other after getting shipwrecked in Madagascar, and run towards each other in slow motion. Then Alex gets angry and starts chasing Marty... still in slow motion.
  • Parrot Expo-WHAT?:
    King Julien: Welcome to Madagascar!
    Marty: Mada-who-ha?
    King Julien: No, not who-ha. As-car.
  • Predator Turned Protector: Alex voluntarily exiles himself after realizing that as a predator, he means a threat to his friends. But when Marty is attacked by a pack of fossa, Alex comes to his rescue in a Big Damn Heroes moment
  • Reality Ensues:
    • As a zoo animal, Alex has always had a constant supply of meat and this has suppressed his predatory instincts. However, being on Madagascar has removed his supply, causing his predatory nature to resurface. Due to extreme hunger and withdrawal, Alex goes into a feeding frenzy and Marty barely survives the attack.
    • Any time the animals try to converse with humans, they are not understood. So when Alex, Gloria and Melman try to find Marty and return to the zoo before anyone notices, the public naturally assumes that the animals escaped and agree to release them back into the wild.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: The lemurs. Also, their far more obscure predator, the fossa.
    • Yes, it's spelled "F-O-S-S-A".
  • Sequel Hook: The penguins decide not to tell the gang that the ship has no fuel and that they're still stuck on the island, perfectly setting up the next film.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The scene of Marty confronting a savage Alex is the most heavy scene in the film, helped by the fact that neither the penguins or the lemurs are present.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Sad-Times Montage that follows Alex going wild and driving off his friends, which consists of Alex sulking in regret and the rest of the gang experiencing the merciless side of nature through witnessing multiple small animals being killed, is set to "What a Wonderful World".
  • Spit Take: In the scene where Alex finally comes to the "Fun Side" of the island, Marty offers him a coconut full of seawater.
    Marty: Oh, you don't swallow it, it's just temporary until the plumbing's done.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: More like "Superpowered Wild Side". Alex becomes this after spending many hours in the island without steak.
  • Take That!: When searching for Marty, Alex takes a jab at Connecticut.
    Alex: What does Connecticut have to offer?
    Melman: Lyme Disease?
    Alex: Thank you, Melman.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Alex in the first movie. His Heroic BSoD leads to him building his own enclosure.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Alex is muttering in his sleep about a filet mignon steak before Melman wakes him up to tell him Marty has escaped.
  • This Is My Side: During Alex's feud with Marty during the first movie.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: The main crew are stranded on the titular island after the Penguins take over the ship transferring them to Africa and send the crates they are in careening into the ocean.
  • Unusual Animal Alliance: A lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a hippo, occasionally assisted by penguins, chimpanzees and lemurs.
    • Initially subverted for Marty and Alex; they were raised together in a zoo and don't know any better. At the end of the movie, this trope is in full force for them.
  • Vine Swing: Marty swings on a vine in the opening scene during his daydream. Then he and Alex actually do it when they "go wild" on the island of Madagascar.
  • Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: Alex, starving, starts seeing his friends as walking steak.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Alex gets really mad at Marty for causing them to get caught by the authorities and get shipped. On the island, he still doesn't let it go until he loosens up.
    • Marty gives Alex one after the latter bit him on the butt.


Video Example(s):


Alex bites Marty on the butt

Going a little crazy with hunger for meat, Alex the Lion's predatory instincts cause him to attack his friend Marty the Zebra, biting his flank without realizing he's done it.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / ButtBiter

Media sources:

Main / ButtBiter