Madagascar is much more cartoonish than Dreamworks’ other recent animated features. In addition to a healthy (but not excessive) dose of slapstick violence, it plays about with cut-scene asides (the monkeys and penguins), with movie references (the American Beauty one is particularly good), and classic visual gags, such as Alex the lion seeing all of the animals around him transformed into juicy steaks. It doesn’t feature a make-it-all-better plot like Shark Tale, nor does it have a top-heavy list of stars who want their voice performances to take priority over everything else. It takes some chances, and is a better film for it.