Sunday, July 01, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Year: 2012
Directors: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon
Voice cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Frances McDormand, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Chastain, Martin Short

Plot: Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo head to Europe to get the penguins to help them return to New York. But after they cross paths with a relentless animal hunter, they are forced to seek shelter with a travelling circus.

Review: The Madagascar movies have always been entertaining, ranking just behind the Ice Age films. The banter between the four animals, the zaniness of King Julien the lemur and the psychotic penguins all add up to great humour and adventure.

The story this time around is a slight improvement from the previous instalment as the animals do their best to get home, not without getting themselves into trouble of course. There is still plenty of laughs here, with a nice helping of drama and a revelation for the four animals towards the end, which isn't as unexpected as you'd think. There are also more new characters here, including circus animals Vitaly the tiger, Gia the jaguar and Stefano the sea lion, who all play their roles well. But I have to say, Stefano reminds me of Luigi from Cars.

But none of the new animals stand up in significance to Captain DuBois the animal hunter, who is perfect as the animals' nemesis. The thrilling chase sequence in Monaco between DuBois and the animals at the beginning of the film is easily the best part, and she comes off looking like the Terminator.

The film isn't without its flaws though. The subplot involving King Julien's crush on a circus bear didn't really work for me, and only looked like it was added in so that the lemur would have something to do. The penguins, as entertaining as they are, never really reached the peak they were at in the first film. And even though Katy Perry's Firework was a great way to enhance the animals' circus act, using that song the second time at the end was one time too many.

Overall the film is good enough to be entertaining without overstaying its welcome, and it's still better than watching another Shrek movie. (3/5) 

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