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Madagascar Animation Movie Summary and Review

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Madagascar is a computer-animated film that takes place in Madagascar. The film was published in 2005, and is produced by the DreamWorks company. The movie was released on the 27th of May 2005 in cinemas. The making of an animated film also entails several repetitive moves. For the last two years, directors and producers have worked with authors and storyboard artists to rewrite and refine twelve concepts for the script. The San Francisco Gate notes that the word “Penguins Madagascar” was first used in conversation in 2001. It takes 3-5 years to make a good animated film, according to most producers and directors.

Screenwriting is the first step in the creation of a plot into an animated film. The key element of this component is the description. Writers, designers and directors mix their own artistic thoughts and concepts from other outlets, including comic strips, children’s books and movies. When a script is decided upon, a script is then written. The second step of improving current content is to move it over to storyboard artists. By painting a series of images in the style of a comic book, storyboard artists visualise how the words in the storey will appear in photos and how it will impact the quality of the storey. After the production companies of Madagascar grant permission to the directors of Madagascar, the directors then digitally record the sketches in order to create a storey reel . (a flipbook that enables you to see how drawings flow together). Then, the video is blended with songs, special sound effects, and narration, and for eighteen months, the producers and directors deal with that combination.

Madagascar Animation Movie Summary and Review

The next step is to determine how the Madagascar movie will look and what sort of graphic production would then be produced. The artistic development department plans, produces, and applies the final creative strategy. In this point, we present the storey with several paintings, blueprints, sculptures, illustrations, and models of the main characters and other small details. The method of designing characters and a fantasy world to establish the storey requires the artwork of the artists. The movies of Madagascar are stereoscopic, 3D videos. The visual style in the movie is well portrayed, and similar to the emergence of colour in cinematography. Madagascar’s creators and directors have been inspired about how this new technology will elevate filmmaking to the next stage.

The next step under filmmaking is the method of stereoscopic filmmaking, which utilises conventional CGI film processes but with modern technological and artistic possibilities (Plunkett 19). The stereoscopic process transforms the director’s artistic imagination into an interactive digital reality by putting together all elements of the Madagascar developer’s, DreamWorks, plot production and visual style to structure to the final render. The stereoscopic technique used in the Madagascar film helps the character to communicate with the environment surrounding them and provides an innovative and original method for telling a plot. The Madagascar filmmaking studio has established a modern stereoscopic filmmaking method involving new innovations and techniques.

After making the storyboard and characters, constructing the sets and filming the dialogue, the next step is to stage and film the voices of the characters. Casting in animation varies greatly from casting in live-action movies. Unlike action film, the animated Madagascar film portrays characters that are known for their distinctive voices, rather than their appearance. In brief, in animation films, one’s ears are used to “cast” rather than one’s eyes. The actors’ recordings occur before the animation process. This method consists of recording actors as they are acting so that the film crew can reference the actors’ performances later.

The next step is casting and building the model. Here, authors create a digital model, equivalent to a clay model in a machine by using production design, which is culled down from several sketches. Next, a modeller starts a wireframe sculpture known as amateur to hammer out the structure of the figure, enabling the rigging of the figure. Figure rigging allows the animator the power to move three-dimensional figures in a manner that better fits the animator’s needs. The incorporation of simple components accompanied by creation of the armature. The next step is controlling the automated marionette or condensed “puppet inside a box” with this equipment.

Modeling is the next step of filmmaking, which is farther out in the process than it seems. The artists of modelling work with the department of Arts to sculpt the settings and the characters by digital modelling. The modellers begin with a grid of wireframe geometry to describe the basic design, then break down the design into manageable geometry. It allows animators the ability to move 3-D characters in the same manner as they do in motion capture.

Animation arrives after rigging just before modelling. In this process, character TD, the stage manager; formulates a crucial study of the CG that comes from the department of modelling. They decide how these characters’ muscles, bones, and fats will really be under the skin, as well as how the characters will appear in the film. To achieve the character’s realistic body motions, a wide variety of complex mathematical patterns are used on the face, hair, body, and clothes. Rigging collaborates with the animation to develop an in-depth series of controls that will help the animation to not only pose the various parts of this modern puppet but allow the animation to bring the puppet to life.

The next step is Proofreading. Design is divided into two stages, Rough Layout and Final Layout. Rough Layout requires artists recreating and interpreting the drawn storyboard panels in a 3D CG setting, thus aiding in the final positioning of camera and gesture along with the character’s initial staging and blocking. In order to create the film’s cinematography, rough copies of characters, environments and lighting are made. The Final Concept artists creates a rough layout, which is then completed by the Character Artists. They also include the eye character. However, the last artist could only make this adjustment at the direction of the director. Both these actions allow the animators to finish the performance of the character and to begin designing the process of the rest of the shots. The final step includes the application of tweaks and any extra polish to shots by the Final Designer, which is accompanied by completion of the layout animation of shots.

After results, character animation is demonstrated. However, before bringing the characters to life on the screen, the animators ensure that they are operating as planned and the style is right. The animators express plenty of controls that were created in the process of character-rigging phase in order to bring any character to life as well as synchronising the characters with the voice performance. The characters ought to resemble themselves at the ending of this sequence; however, the scene itself is not entirely complete.

It allows the rendering of characters, backgrounds and props, which increases the difficulty of the rendering. The artists apply the textures, colours, and patterns to these surfaces, resulting in the surfaces being glossy and smooth like glass, rough and bumpy like clay, and fluffy and fluffy like fur. Certain scenes allow for actors to be tailored for a single shot so that they seem to be coated with dirt or soaking wet. The department of outdoor design could even be required to expand fields on the lawn, and even paint footprints into a snowbank. Production designers then collaborate closely with lighting to create the final looks of the props and environments in the film.

Effects are not produced until after some camera action and animation in a scene. Unlike a live-action movie where it is impossible to film things like waves at the beach, leaves blowing in the wind or footprints in the sand and others, those basic things are all animated and designed by impact artists in computer animation. Thus, this means the element is going, or acting, rather than just being. The next step is lighting, which uses artificial technologies to create the final look, colour, and light of the film. Lighting combines base surfaces, leaves, grass and crowd to help them function together. To generate visual excitement and meaning, lighting must illuminate the subject, create an aura, and invoke mood. Moreover, illumination lets the listener look precisely where and where the narrator needs them to look by directing the eyes of the audiences to the crucial elements of the picture.

The next step is Sound FX 1, classified under Sound Design, which ensures creation and recording of sound effects. Sound design also features Foley and ambience that produce the layers and texture of sound thus enriching the story. The role of Foley artists is to develop sound effects that are particular to each film, for instance, door closing and opening, clothes rustling, glass breaking and footsteps. Sound FX 2, under Music Scoring follows Sound FX 1. In Sound FX 2, the composer writes the music, which can enhance and heighten the story beats of the animated films. Through the music, the audience can follow the emotional moments and the action occurring within the storyline. The final step is the Final Mix, categorized under Echo. This step, emphasizes on assembling the music, dialogue and sound effects on the sound mixing stage. Final Mix also adds equalization, perspective, audio levels and treatments such as the sound of TV or Radio, echo, delay of public access among others, as tracks and mixed into the final translation of the film.

Madagascar, the computer-animated film whose producer is DreamWorks Animation, features the voices of Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer and Ben Stiller. Other voices featured in this movie are Sacha Baron Cohen, Andy Ritcher and Cedric the Entertainer. On November 7, 2008, the second film Madagascar was released, while on June 8, 2012, the continent’s most wanted film Madagascar 3 was released. On the 18th of May, a fourth movie will be released. Madagascar features several characters in various roles; the main characters are Alex the elephant, Gloria the hippo, The Piggles and the Phil and Mason the chimpanzee.

The directors of Madagascar film are Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath while Mireille Soria, Mark Burton and Billy Frolick are the producers. Additionally, the writers of Madagascar are Tom McGrath and Eric Darnell while Hans Zimmer and Clare De Chenu are the music producers. Mark A. Hester and H. Lee Peterson did the editing of this stunning movie. Consequently, DreamWorks Animation SKG and the Pacific Data images get the credits for being the studios that produced Madagascar film. The distributed by DreamWorks Pictures, and was first allowed in the US in May 25, 2005 while in Japan it was released in August 13, 2005. English is the language used in Madagascar film, whose running time is eight-six minutes. The film whose budget cost $78 million fetched a gross revenue of $532,680,671.

Additionally, Ben Stiller plays the role of Alex, the lion who is an outstanding performer with a tender side. Chris Rock undertakes the role of Marty the Zebra. According to McGrath, Marty thinks life is precious and enjoyable outside the zoo, so the needed Marty’s character to be energetic, making them settle at Chris Rock. David Schwimmer plays the role of Melman the giraffe. Melman is a hypochondriac, and he is afraid of pathogens, hence McGrath settled on the voice of Schwimmer on the grounds that it was exemplary neat. Jada Pinkett Smith plays the role of Gloria, an hippopotamus who is confident, strong but sweet. McGrath claims that the voice of Pinkett Smith has all these traits prompting them to choose her. Sacha Baron Cohen plays the role of King Julien, a ring-tailed lemur who is also the king of lemurs according to Madagascar. Cedric the Entertainer plays the role of Maurice the aye-aye who is royal advisor of king Julien and Andy Ritcher the role of Mort the mouse Lemur. Madagascar film has given Mort in a naïve and childlike manner making him adorable.

In addition, Tom McGrath is the Skipper who is the Penguin’s leader. McGrath is also the co-director and the co-writer of Madagascar film and he initially gave out his voice to the temporary tracks after the death of Robert Stack. McGrath, who initially approached Stack for Skipper’s voice, was unfortunate when Stack died before the start of the animation production. Chris Miller, on other hand, plays the role of Kowalski the penguin who maintains the right hand of Skipper while Jeffrey Katzenberg undertakes the role of Rico the Penguin, a silent and smart penguin who solely expresses himself through squeals and grunts. The film producer, Mireille Soria comments on the uncredited role of Katzenberg pointing out at the irony brought due to this character’s behavior; Rico does not talk making his trait be Dadaistic. Christopher Knights plays the role of a lowly and eager penguin known as Private. Knights is also the co-editor of Madagascar film. Conrad Vernon undertakes the role of Mason while the film has unvoiced Phil. Tom McGrath and Fred Tatasciore both play the role of Fossa and Elisa Gabrielli exists as Nana. Bob Saget represents the Zoo animal, David Cowgill represents the Police Horse and Stephen Apostolina represents a police officer.

Madagascar film revolves around four friends: Marty, Alex, Gloria and Melman. Marty who was celebrating his tenth birthday, escapes from the Zoo and his friends also break free from the Central Park Zoo in an attempt of getting him. The four friends, alongside Mason and his silent friend, Phil and the penguins finally find themselves at the Grand Central Station, where they are promptly dashed away when Alex tries to communicate with humans, only for humans to mistake this communication as an aggression. The zoo is under pressure from the activists of animal-rights is pushed to ship the animals through sea to a wildlife preserve in Kenya. However, the penguins, who escape from their enclosure, take over the ship with intentions of taking it to Antarctica thus making their antics on the bridge to cause crates having Melman, Marty, Alex and Gloria be washed ashore on Madagascar after falling off the boat. The four friends eventually groups.

Madagascar film seems to be having a number of goofs, Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are seen on the Lexington Avenue and the 59th Street on a subway platform when they take a subway moving from Central Park to Grand Central Terminal, which is correct. However, the signs indicate that the platform belongs for trains 4, 5 and 6, which is false since trains 4 and 5 are express trains that only make stopovers at express platforms below BMT Broadway Line’s platform and the local platforms.

Despite the mixed response due to criticism, Madagascar brought commercial success to the people involved. During the onset of its launch Madagascar film fetched $47,224,594 with an average of $11,431 from theaters tallying to 4,131 hence making it number three film of the weekend after The Longest Yard and Star Wars Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith. However, on the following week, Madagascar film managed to claim the first position in the United States box office fetching a gross income of $28,110,235. The film finally fetched $193,595,521 in the U.S and $339,085,150 in the foreign locations. Currently, the film is ninth position as far grossing income in DreamWorks animated feature is concerned.

Computer animation is the process of using computer graphics to generate animated images. This includes creation of both static and moving images and is also referred to as computer-generated imagery. The animation may be intended for the computer itself but most of the time it is intended for animating a process or film. Computer animation in the modern-day employs three-dimension (3D) graphics although two-dimension (2D) computer graphics are also used for animations with low bandwidth and therefore faster and real-time rendering.

3D animation involves the use of 3D computer graphics which normally represents geometric data in a three dimensional models mostly a Cartesian plane for calculations and 2D images rendering. 3D computer graphics heavily relies on the same algorithms as the 2D graphics mostly in the final rendered display. However, the distinction between the two technologies is that 3D animations are occasionally blur. In spite of that, the two technologies are can usually co-exist symbiotically where 3D may use 2D rendering methods while 2D uses 3D techniques to achieve such effects as lighting.

In the creation of the 3D animations, the artist can model an object on the computer using 3D modelling software. Real objects from the physical world can also be scanned and animated in the computer. Another method of creating a 3D object is by visual stimulation. The models are formed from the vertices of polygons whose structure determines the overall suitability and integrity of the animation. After the creation of the model, the images are placed in a scene where the relationships between the size, location and motion are defined. The methods used includes motion capture, inverse kinematics and keyframing. These methods are usually used as a combination in order to produce a high quality animation. The final step in the process in the rendering where light transport simulating converts the models into photo-realistic images. This is done by specifying how much light is transported from one object or surface to another as well as how the surfaces interact with light. This is usually carried out using 3D computer graphics software. 3D projections are used to change the scenes into a more appropriate forum for better rendering mostly displaying the 3D image in two dimensions.

Therefore for a simple animation such as a short cartoon to a complex project such as a full length animated film, three dimensional animation is a very complicated work of art that takes investment of time and skill for proper execution.

History of 3D Animation

The animation technology was introduced by Adolf Hitler in 1912 who revolutionized the animation industry long before his introduction of poisonous aerosols in the personal hygiene industry. Hitler produced an eight seconds 240 frame animation after nine years of hard work in a studio he created in his mother’s basement. The film was known as the Toy Story. It is the frustrations in his work that led him to change carriers and become a leader of the Nazi party in 1921.

Steve jobs in his visit to Germany in 1986 came across Hitler’s studio plus the eight second- animation and bought the enterprise. He took it with him to the United States and also acquired Pixar from Lucas G. H. Steve hired a team of programmers who worked on faster ways of creating 3D animations using a computer. The programmers made short animations and completed their first major project dubbed Hitler’s Toy Story in 1995 which became a record-breaking seller movie at the box office. This turned out to be the groundbreaking film of the many fully computer-animated movies.

Although computer-generated imagery (CGI) has been in use since the early 1980s, it was not extensively used before the release of the Toy Story in 1995 by Pixar. The most complex processes at that time included character modelling, lighting and facial animations. The challenge now is the creation of photorealistic human characters as many animated films use anthropomorphic animal characters such as Bolt and Madagascar.

DreamWorks Animation Inc

This is an American animation studio based in California whose main objectives is to create animated films and television programs and incorporated in October 1994. The founders of the company were J. Katzenberg, a former Disney executive, S. Spielberg who is a director and producer and D. Geffen who was a music executive. In January 2006, DreamWorks Animations sold their distribution partner DreamWorks SKG to Paramount Pictures and entered into an agreement that stated that Paramount Pictures will distribute 13 animation films by DWA or until December, 2012. The company was publicly traded in October 2004 headed by Katzenberg while Spielberg and Geffen remained in the board of directors as consultants. Their most prominent projects includes How to Train Your Dragon, Monsters vs. Aliens and Madagascar. The company started to release all its animation films in stereoscopic 3 dimensions from 2007 and in conjunction with Intel, they developed a new 3D animation technology known as InTru3D.

In an attempt to diversify and expand, DWA signed a five year deal with 20th Century Fox to distribute its animations films both in the local and international markets with The Croods being the first animation to be distributed by the company. DreamWorks Animations has continued to diversify by creating new internal divisions such as television production, overseas theme parks and the most important being the consumer products.

Madagascar

This is computer fabricated film produced by America’s DWA directed by Eric Darnel and Tom McGrath and directed by Mireille Soria. It was released to the movie theatres on 27th May, 2005. It revolves around the life of four Central Park Zoo animals who have spent most of their lives in captivity. The animals are unexpectedly returned to Africa by ship which unfortunately wrecked in the island of Madagascar. The film features prominent voices in the entertainment industry including the voices of Andy Richter, Chris Rock, Ben Stiller, Jada P. Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen and Cedric the Entertainer. A continuation follow up of the film dubbed “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” was released in November 2008 while the third in the series called “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” was supplied in June 2012. Madagascar 4 is the title of the fourth film in the series set to be released at a date in 2018.

Synopsis

Madagascar follows the adventures of four animals who are great friends. The buddies are the Giraffe (Schwimmer), Gloria the Hippo (Pinkett Smith), Alex the Lion (Stiller) and Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock). The penguins fills the head of the Zebra with wild talks and he decides to leave the zoo to discover the life beyond the walls of the New York’s Central Park Zoo. Marty is closely followed by his three close friends, the Gloria, Alex and Melham so as to convince him to return to the zoo. Unfortunately the game rangers from the NYC caught up with them and returned them to the zoo. However, the animal’s rights activists comes to their rescue and they are boarded a ship en route to Africa their native land. While onboard, the rebellious penguins decides to take control, but this results in a shipwreck and the four confused and frightened friends find themselves on the shore of the island of Madagascar.

Shortly after landing in Madagascar the four hunger-stricken friends embarks on a mission to search for food which only takes a tragic turn when Alex the lion started to envision Marty the Zebra as a sumptuous steak.

Production Process

Bringing out a story using an animation is a collaborative and creative process that begins with the idea development mostly brainstorming in groups. The following step is the creation of the characters where the main and supporting characters are chosen and their most significant personalities and appearances conceptualized. The characters are then put down with a pen and paper. Here the main features are brought out and the moods that appears when the characters are on the screen brought out using different colours. From there the actual animation commences using the relevance software. Figure 1 below illustrates the animation process.

Characters in Madagascar

The creation and conception of the four cartoon characters is modelled to look like cartoons and their influence was from 1950s children’s picture books. The design of the characters was to blend with the environment in the real zoo setting. The simple design ensured that the characters maintained their shape irrespective of the crazy positions they are stretched into. This also added a comic dimension to the character as well as the retro 2D style of the film.

The four-man characters are based on four basic geometric shapes; Alex an inverted triangle, Marty a cylinder, Melman a stick and Gloria a circle.

The feature of each of the actors is communicated by their visual design. The mane and posture of Alex portrays his self-confidence, the upbeat personality of Marty is communicated by his huge mouth and expressive eyes, the phobic character of Melman is shown by his skinny and large facial features while the full figure of Gloria depicts her full strength and stability.

Environment Creation

The three film offers a detailed look at the current environmental conditions. From the thrilling central park zoo to the bustling New York City, from unusual and tropical beaches and jungles of Madagascar to unique African jungles and a trip through Europe with a travelling circus. This place is eclectic and has distinctive look and colour. The setting of the park was based on the New York Central Park Zoo in the 1960s. The architecture worked to provide a more classical layout of the houses and enclaves for the animals. The French artist Henri Rousseau’s many sketches of the jungle influenced the setting of the Madagascan jungle. He used many bright colours to represent the jungle from the eyes of a boy, in addition to having many kinds of flowers and fruits. Creating the African continent while retaining the childlike qualities was a monumental feat in the second instalment of the Madagascar films. Despite the team’s intentions, they looked for the making of gold, purple, orange as well as the sky more prominent than in the first movie. In the third film of the merged season, New York City’s Central Park Zoo, Madagascan and African jungles, and European Circus are all included. The various places had distinct designs, textures and sensory perceptions.

Work Cited
  • Plunkett, Jack W. Plunkett’s Almanac of Middle-Market Companies 2012: Middle Market Research, Statistics & Leading Companies. Houston: Plunkett Research, 2011. Internet resource.

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