"Madagascar" & "Ice Age": Different?

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In 2002, 20th Century Fox brought to life three pre-historic animals and (literally) broke the ice for animated comedies with "Ice Age". Dreamworks Pictures followed this when they unleashed their zoo animals with "Madagascar" in 2005. For almost a decade, the characters from both of these series have been giving us their fair share of gags and overcoming insurmountable odds with their unique personalities, but neither of these animated animals had ever met audiences in the same year of release.

But whether you like the furry bunch from the frosty bygone era, or your whacky crew in the blazing wild, they have shared certain themes and characteristics that it's a wonder why no one has ever bothered to compare them until now.

In preparation for the release of "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" and "Ice Age 4: Continental Drift" that would be coming to theatres for the first time in the same year, with only a month apart, we went back to find how distinct yet familiar our favourite characters are from these two series.

The Carnivore

Alex the Lion
The main character in the "Madagascar" series and considers himself to be the de-facto leader of the bunch. He has a headstrong personality, smart, quick thinking on his feet but tends to be self-absorbed to see problems faced by others.

Predatory Instincts: Ever since he was taken away from his African home as a cub, Alex always had the luxury of being served pre-packed steaks at the Central Park Zoo in New York, so he never had to hunt. Naturally this means that Alex never had any predatory urges, until he was stranded in the wilderness of Madagascar in "Madagascar".

Unexpected weakness: Alex is a natural dancer and used his dancing skills to declare himself as the King of New York. When the 'King' returned to his homeland in "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa", he mistakenly took the showdown between him and the wildly strong Teetsi as a dancing battle, so he was naturally given a thorough beating and exiled from the pride.

Diego the Saber-tooth Tiger
One of the companions in the main trio from "Ice Age", Diego was initially leading them into a trap on the orders of his herd leader. He later came to realise that the human child that he was sending to be sacrificed was innocent, and left his herd to join his new 'herd'; Sid and Manny. Although Diego has a somewhat sarcastic personality, most of his jabs are without ill intent.

Predatory Instincts: Being the only carnivore in the group, Diego was starting to become anxious that he might have lost his predatory instincts in "Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs". He should be worried, because he had never eaten a prey at all since "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown".

Unexpected Weakness: Of all the things to be afraid of in the pre-historical Ice Age, you could choose between savage predators, avalanches, sheer drops off glaciers or the weather. Little did we expect that Diego would be aqua-phobic (fear of water) and there's plenty of that to get around in "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown". However, Diego finally overcomes his fears when had to save Sid, and the opossum brothers Eddie and Crash.

The Troublemaker

Marty the Zebra
Marty is the best friend of Alex and just like Alex he is a fast-talking animal. Marty always strives to be unique as an individual and he knows how many black stripes and white stripes he has (29 white and 30 black).

To be blamed for: After Marty celebrated his 10th birthday, Marty realised that he has been living in Central Zoo all his life. Going through a mid-life crisis, Marty then decides that he wants to experience life in the wild. He hatches an escape plan from Central Park Zoo, with the help of the penguins, and causes the whole turn of events that gets him and his friends stranded in the wild in "Madagascar".

Sid the Sloth
Sid the Sloth, as his name implies, is slow moving and clumsy. He is also annoying, unpopular and talks with a lisp. He has a knack for getting into all sorts of trouble, which might explain why his family left him behind when they were escaping the ice age.

To be blamed for: Feeling a little jealous that Manny and Ellie were going to be a family, Sid tries to start a family of his own by stealing three dinosaur eggs and pretends to be their parent when they hatch. When the real dinosaur mother came to fetch her hatchlings, Sid was also carried off to the underworld, causing the herd to come and rescue him and thus set off the motion of "Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs".

The Big Guy

Melman the Giraffe
Melman has a penchant for getting drugged with all sort of medicine and is afraid of the mildest of diseases. Attuned to his life of constant medication, scans and injections from the zoo, Melman used his experience to be a witch doctor in the wild to help his fellow giraffes.

Love Interest: Melman always had a crush on Gloria the Hippo in Central Park Zoo, where they've lived since they were children. After many awkward attempts to confess his feelings for her, it was until he nearly sacrificed himself to a volcano, that Gloria reciprocated her feelings towards him

Thought he was going to die: Living in the wild without medical attention was enough to make every waking moment there a near-death experience for Melman, but it was until "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" when another giraffe told him that he had a brown spot on his shoulder, and the previous witch doctor who had it 'was gone' after two weeks.

Manny the Wolly Mammoth
Manfred, or Manny, can be sometimes emotional and serious, but is more often caring and friendly to his friends. As a family man, Manny can be a little overprotective, after what had happened to his last one, which were hunted and killed.

Love Interest: Manny believed that he was the only mammoth left alive in the world, until he met Ellie in "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown". Thinking that only they could ensure the survival of their species, Manny tried to convince Ellie to mate with him, but was rebuffed by Ellie until she regained her memory that she was a mammoth. The pair soon fell in love and Ellie gave birth to a daughter named "Peaches".

Thought he was going to die: When he saw cave paintings of humans hunting mammoths in "Ice Age", Manny went through an emotional moment, believing that he was the last of his kind and is afraid of what will happen to him. He fears were soon unfounded when he met Ellie and other mammoths in "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown".

The Only Girl

Gloria the Hippo
Gloria acts as the 'big-sister' to the three boys in the group; Alex, Marty and Melman. She is friendly to all of them but never realizes that Melman the giraffe had always been in love with her all these while.

Found true love: Gloria was always seeking true love and even enrolled for a mating programme at the Central Park Zoo. When she left the zoo and met with other hippos in "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa", she attracted the attention of the dim Moto Moto. After going on a date with Moto Moto, Gloria discovers that he was more attracted to her figure than her personality, and when knew that Melman was going to sacrifice himself, she truly realise her feelings for him and they became a couple.

Craziest moment: On the way to New York on a plane, they realised that the plane had ran out of fuel and was crash landing on Africa. While Alex, Marty, Melman and the rest of the passengers (except King Julien) were screaming their lungs out, Gloria was sound asleep, which made her miss Melman's first confession to her.

Ellie the Mammoth
Ellie was introduced to the series in "Ice Age 2: The Meltdown" and joined the herd to escape the upcoming flood, with her two opossum 'brothers', Eddie and Crash.

Found true love: When Manny tried to convince her that she was a mammoth and they were the only ones left, she was offended when Manny asked her to be his mate so that their species could live on. After they both found other mammoths, Manny finally admitted that he wanted her to be his mate, not for the sake of their species, but because he wanted her.

Craziest moment: Orphaned and adopted by an opossum as a child, Ellie grew up thinking that she was an opossum and swung from tree to tree when she first met Manny. It was only until she had a flashback of her childhood, did she know about her true identity.

The One Everyone Loves

Skipper the Penguin
The leader and mastermind of his penguin crew, that consists of Private, Kolwalski and Rico. Skipper hatches and coordinates all sorts of hilarious plans that is separated from the main plot in "Madagascar" and "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa".

Voiced by: Co-director Tom McGrath, who also created the penguin crew.

Breakthrough: Skipper and his crew were so popular that they had their own TV series, "Penguins of Madagascar" and appeared in several spin-off short films.

Scrat the Saber-tooth Squirrel-rat
Scrat's name is a combination of 'squirrel' and 'rat'. His endless pursuit for his beloved acorns has entertained audiences as he has survived all kinds of earth-shattering perils to secure it, even the wiles of his female-counterpart, Scratte.

Voiced by: Director Chris Wedge, who only directed "Ice Age" but continued to voice the lovable character in all of the sequels and spin-offs featuring Scrat.

Breakthrough: Scrat's popularity since "Ice Age" made him a breakout character. He has his own independent (but sometimes interrelated) plot lines from the main characters and has only been known to interact with them in only six occasions. Scrat has been the poster child for the series in all of its teaser trailers and related spin-offs.

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