We went to see Madagascar this afternoon, the official first day of summer vacation for my wife and the kids. We mostly enjoyed it - I think my wife and I were just way too tired and could've taken a nap, but the kids hooted and giggled through the whole film. It'll need a load of special features on the DVD - hopefully at least something extra from the penguins! But the bar is set so high by the Disney/Pixar animations the past decade or so, and this one just doesn't have the stamina to rise to those levels.
The problem is that Marty the Zebra (voiced by Chris Rock) wants to experience The Wild. Spending all day in his enclosure primping for the public coming through the gates at the Central Park Zoo, he also has a wonderul view of the mural of The Wild that adds to his dream. When he hears that Connecticut has wide open spaces (comparatively, I guess), he escapes the zoo to take an express from Grand Central Station. The other animals - Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith), and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) - leave the zoo to rescue their friend. A slight misunderstanding with Animal Control (when Alex talks in english, it of course sounds like RRROOOOOAAAARRRR to the lion-phobic humans) means that these animals must be returned to The Wild.
They're crated and packed aboard a ship bound for Kenya, until that ship is hijacked by the Penguins (best sidebar characters since Scrat in ICE AGE), and the foursome find themselves on in Madagascar. Their encounter with the locals - lemurs, lemurs everywhere! - and Alex's discovery of his carnivorous tendencies drive the rest of the story. It's fun and has just enough going on to keep our elementary-age kids engaged.
I recommend it to anyone who had to pass on Star Wars III because of the PG-13 rating - this one's fun, and while it's not as good as some others, it's worth the matinee price to see the Penguins!