Cert: PG Runtime: 93 mins Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston and Frances McDormand
Da-da-dadadada-da-da, circus, da-da-dadadada-da-da, afro! Circus afro, circus afro! Polka dot, polka dot, polka dot afro!
So yeah I have watched a few animated movies this month, Madagascar 3 being the first. It is a very good franchise and it does appeal to kids and adults a like. So what has happened to our city loving animals then? Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer) are still trying to get back to the Big Apple and their beloved Central Park zoo, but first they need to find the penguins. When they travel to Monte Carlo, they attract the attention of Animal Control after gate crashing a party and are joined by the penguins, King Julian and Co., and the monkeys. How do a lion, zebra, hippo, giraffe, four penguins, two monkeys, three lemurs travel through Europe without attracting attention and get back to New York? They join a traveling circus. Their attempts to get back to New York are consistently hampered by the Captain of Animal Control (Frances McDormand) who wants to make Alex part of her collection. Once they make it back to New York Marty, Alex, Gloria and Melman realize that they want to be part of the traveling circus.No surprise this movie was a safe bet, but at the same time was perhaps one of the most fun animated movies I’ve ever seen. What started out as a mirror of the trailers for the first ten minutes became a wild ride of fun, humor, and balance that kept me entertained. However, once the chase began the pace picked up and the surprises began to flood in.
One major surprise was how well the chase scene was done and the clever use of penguin ingenuity. Although Dubois’ moves were a little over eccentric and silly at points, it was still exciting and perhaps the best chase scene since the Italian Job. Another surprise came from the multiple stories embedded in this film. The main story like always is for Alex and the gang to get home, but within the main tale lie stories of passion, dreams, pride, and unity that connect all of the characters together. There are also a couple of love stories in the movie as well, one that is cute, the other more funny/ridiculous than anything else, both entertaining. All of these stories, mixed in with some diverse comedy, were very entertaining and I felt that many audience members will love. The other major strength of this movie is the animation. As I’ve said before, DreamWorks animation team knows how to make digital art come to life. Throughout the entire movie the movements of the animals were smooth, flowing, and well edited that impressed me once more. Even the lip work of the animals seemed to mimic the human way of speaking that is seldom seen in animation. Yet this movie also had something the other two didn’t have, and that was being shot in 3-D. Although I didn’t see it in 3-D, there were various shots that one could easily tell were meant to pop out at you, most likely to add another level of entertainment for the kids. While most of the 3-D seemed to involve things flying out at the audience, there were a few scenes and sequences I thought would be fantastic in 3-D adding more depth, color, and pizazz to what was already a good scene.
The soundtrack for the film may have also helped with the entertainment values, especially one of the best uses of Katy Perry’s Firework song, even though I had heard it three times in the same movie. Another thing I really enjoyed was that this was a fun, feel good movie that manages to give you an energy boost on some level. Despite how much I enjoyed it though, there are a few weak things to mention that may or may not be important to you. Perhaps one of the biggest weak areas is the lack of Mort, Maurice, and the penguin humor. Although they had some show stealing moments, fans of these characters will be a little disappointed to see how little their humor they have. Instead they shifted more of the focus on the new circus animals, in particular Stefano. My next warning is for those who are not a fan of Martin Short comedy as the movie is filled with his constant screaming and anxiety filled dialog that was humorous for me at some points, but at some points annoying. Perhaps a third thing to mention is how much the team focused on kiddy comedy than adult and kid comedy. Unlike Shrek or even the first Madagascar, this film didn’t have the well-disguised adult humor and instead was more about juvenile bonking on the heads, and mindless screaming. As I’m sure you can guess though, the movie is very predictable and at points shallow, but that is what most kids’ movies are these days.Madagascar 3 is definitely one movie I suggest you head to the theaters to see. Although you can guess what is going to happen, the animation and visual effects of the movie combined with the fun soundtrack are sure to keep you entertained. If you are looking for a film to see with a group of friends, a church group, or even just to take your kid to see this is the movie for you. Although not the most unique, it is still very entertaining and worthy of attention.