Production Differences

In 2005, DreamWorks Animation released the animated film, Madagascar. Some of the minor characters were big hits and spawned their own television series, The Penguins of Madagascar. The differences in voice acting and animation would escape most people. But not me. I have no life.

Skipper

Skipper (Movie Version)

Skipper (Movie Version)

Skipper (TV Show Version)

Skipper (TV Show Version)

Voiced By (Movies):  Tom McGrath
Voiced By (TV Show):  Tom McGrath

The movie version of Skipper has a slightly rounder head and less facial definition than the TV show version.  Not a huge difference, though.  The only person who could ever voice Skipper is director and character creator Tom McGrath.

Kowalski

Kowalski (Far Left, Movie Version)

Kowalski (Far Left, Movie Version)

Kowalski (TV Show Version)

Kowalski (TV Show Version)

Voiced By (Movies):  Chris Miller
Voiced By (TV Show):  Jeff Bennett

In the movie version, Kowalski’s head isn’t as pointy as it is in the TV show.  I must say that I definitely prefer Jeff Bennett’s voice acting to Chris Miller’s.  That said, Chris Miller was the original Kowalski.  It’s just that Chris doesn’t sound as bookish or emotionally-inept as Jeff Bennett.  He comes off more as cold, distant, and sociopathically mechanical.

Rico

Rico (Far Left, Movie Version)

Rico (Far Left, Movie Version)

Rico (TV Show Version)

Rico (TV Show Version)

Voiced By (Movies):  John DiMaggio
Voiced By (TV Show):  John DiMaggio

In the movies, Rico’s head is more flat, like Skipper’s is in the TV Show.  He lacks the tuft of feathers that sticks up like a mohawk.  His eyes are very close to his beak in the movies.  John DiMaggio (also the voice of Bender in the Futurama franchise), does a perfect Rico voice, which isn’t saying much since Rico can’t do much more than grunt and mumble.

Private

Private (lower foreground left, Movie Version)

Private (lower foreground left, Movie Version)

Private (TV Show Version)

Private (TV Show Version)

Voiced By (Movies):  Christopher Knights
Voiced By (TV Show):  James Patrick Stuart

It’s hard to find a decent pic of Private from the movies.  There’s also not much difference between the movie and TV versions of this penguin.  The only ones I notice are that his forehead isn’t as big in the show and his eyes are set back further.  Both voices are equally good.  Christopher Knights’ voice is a bit lower and less accented.  James Patrick Stuart’s voice comes off as more juvenile and naive.  Both are good in my book.

King Julien

King Julien (Movie Version)

King Julien (Movie Version)

King Julien (TV Show Version)

King Julien (TV Show Version)

Actual Ring-Tailed Lemur

Actual Ring-Tailed Lemur

Voiced By (Movies):  Sacha Baron Cohen
Voiced By (TV Show):  Danny Jacobs

King Julien shows the greatest difference of all the characters between the movies and TV show.  He’s a lot fuzzier in the movies, he has a darker muzzle, rounder face, and his eyelids are more often half-closed in the movies (a la Garfield).  Also, the movie version has whiskers.  The TV show version comes off as plastic and very unrealistic, even if he is more expressive (and exaggerated) in the show than in the movies.  The movie version comes closest to an actual ring-tailed lemur but both miss the mark significantly in the coloration and facial features.  I find Sacha Baron Cohen more difficult to understand than Danny Jacobs.  He’s also less expressive.

Maurice

Maurice (Movie Version)

Maurice (Movie Version)

Maurice (TV Show Version)

Maurice (TV Show Version)

An actual Aye-aye

An actual Aye-aye

Voiced By (Movies):  Cedric the Entertainer
Voiced By (TV Show):  Kevin Michael Richardson

There’s also a large difference in Maurice between the movies and TV show.  The movie version is fuzzier, has a smaller head, more expressive eyes, and a more detailed mouth.  The movie version is a lot closer to reality but still gets the head shape totally wrong.  Both voices are good but I prefer Cedric the Entertainer – he seems to fit the downtrodden, druging support role better with his deep, gravelly voice.  Kevin Michael Richardson’s voice has a greater range and he’s more expressive but just doesn’t seem to fit the character as well as Cedric’s.

Mort

Mort (Movie Version)

Mort (Movie Version)

Mort (TV Show Version)

Mort (TV Show Version)

An Actual Mouse Lemur

Voiced By (Movies):  Andy Richter
Voiced By (TV Show):  Andy Richter

Not a huge difference.  In the movies, he’s fuzzier and his eyes are shinier.  That’s about it.  They nailed the mouse lemur look.  Aside from more pointed and upturned ears, a pointier nose, and a less-bushy tail, the actual mouse lemur doesn’t look much different from its anthropomorphic counterpart.

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