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Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman and the rest of their gang return in
the third installment of the "Madagascar" series, and yes they are
still trying to get back home to New York City. This film has them
traveling with a group of circus animals all throughout Europe on the
run from a French animal hunter who has killed every animal and has
mounted their head on her wall, except for a lion.
This movie stars the voice talents of Ben Stiller (Tower Heist, Tropic Thunder), Chris Rock (Grown ups, The Longest Yard), David Schwimmer (Friends, John Carter), Jada Pinkett Smith (Ali, Collateral), Sasha Baron Cohen (Borat, Bruno), Cedric the Entertainer (Larry Crowne, Ice Age), and Bryan Cranston (Drive, Breaking Bad). Everyone did a great job with their characters and it was a blast to hear all these familiar voices in a film together again.
I have been a fan of the previous "Madagascar" films, and that still is the case, but I really didn't have any hype for this movie because from the trailers, it didn't really look that good. I am glad to say that it is the complete opposite of that. Surprisingly, I really enjoyed film from start to finish and thought that for certain audiences, the film is perfect. If you are a younger person (12 and under) the movie will entertain and make you laugh the entire time. Now for the other demographic (13 and up), the film is still a really fun experience having jokes that adults would get, as well as some really funny situations.
The "Madagascar" series has been known to be over the top, but "Madagascar 3″ takes the cake for being the most over the top one yet. You can not simply go into this movie expecting a toned down film featuring animals that can talk and doing anything that humans can. You have to go into this film with an open mind and just enjoy the ride. I found myself laughing constantly throughout the film and I couldn't help but have a smile on my face the entire time. This movie made me feel like I was a kid again and that is one of the best feelings there is.
This is easily the best movie in the series in my opinion. What really blew me away though was something that wasn't crucial to the movie, and that was the 3D. This is probably some of the best 3D I have seen in a film. I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to see what was going to pop out next. If you see this film, please do yourself a favor and see the 3D version of it, you will not be disappointed. I highly recommend this film to all ages. Whether you are a kid or an adult, you will find enjoyment in this film.
There are eager animated film franchises that rehashed the same old
themes and gags in all its installments, and deservedly crashed under
its own repetitiveness. Think Shrek, which started brightly, but with
each sequel the grumpy ogre and his friends started to become cheap
parodies of themselves. There are other film franchises that grow from
strength to strength though, such as Ice Age where we get to go on an
incredibly long journey with its characters trying to survive the
inevitable change and extinction, and then there's Madagascar, with
Europe's Most Wanted surprisingly having a lot more to offer than what
it had suggested.
We go back to where we last left off, rejoining Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) who are still in Africa, but getting homesick and yearn for their lives back in New York. So they hatch a plan to regroup with the Penguins, who had left with the Monkeys in their flying machine to Monte Carlo and its glitzy casinos, and compel them to take everyone back to New York. Granted it's a slow start, but when it picked up with Frances McDormand voicing the French policewoman Captain Chantel DuBois, more of an animal hunter in disguise and hell bent on adding a lion to her trophy wall, it really went over the top with a multitude of action sequences that get set to show off dedicated and meticulously crafted moments for 3D. It's clearly one of the better 3D efforts in an animated feature film that took pains to ensure the medium got milked for the premium ticket you paid for.
Then the narrative goes up a notch with the introduction of some circus animals with whom our protagonists get to mix with in order to momentarily escape the fanatical clutches of DuBois, and in comes the opportunity to expand on its cast, with the likes of Jessica Chastain, Bryan Cranston and Martin Short entering the fray as a cheetah, tiger and sea lion respectively, each with its own distinct quirk, objective and baggage. It's a zoo animal meets circus animal rivalry formed, and Alex and gang wanting to stick around, with thanks to the Penguins, because the circus is en route to Rome and London, where an American circus event promoter would be in town to evaluate if the troupe can make money if brought across the Atlantic, and naturally, New York.
I'm rather surprised by the depth of the narrative here, as Eric Damell and Noah Baumbach's screenplay managed to squeeze a lot in under 90 minutes sans end credits roll. Characters don't get thrown in for fun, but have enough screen time to perform without getting the feeling of being redundant to the whole scheme of things, and how they all blend well together for the major set action pieces, complete with comedy ranging from witty repartee to physical slapstick gags. The major new entrants to this installment will also become crowd favourites, such as the girly cheetah Gia, the curt Russian tiger Vitaly who has to reclaim his theatrical mojo, and Stefano the sea lion trying his very best to hold the entire troupe together, while not being very bright himself.
Every scene got designed to have the characters endear themselves to the audience, even if they come silent, such as the bicycle riding bear, and a couple of English dogs voiced by the likes of Vinnie Jones, Steve Jones and Nick Fletcher. Paz Vega also lent her voice to a collective group of show-horses, while perennial favourites such as Sacha Baron Cohen's Julien and Cedric the Entertainer's Maurice almost always threaten to run away with the show, given their rather spaced out moments that run outside of the main narrative thread. There are colours galore with gags running wild, and I'd suspect where your sense of humour might have been misplaced if there's absolutely nothing here in the film that can tickle your funny bone.
With an assortment of pop songs ranging from 90s hits to those by Katy Perry, the signature theme song only got an airplay during the end credits, and is an amalgamation of the Afro Circus song written by Chris Rock, that somehow had a strange yet infectious blend that epitomizes everything that had transpired in this film, and set itself up for more. Themes of friendship and sticking together through thick and thin, of never giving up and the likes, are good themes to have for a film that's going to appeal to the young for sure.
I'd like to think there's a stop at three policy and to leave the franchise as it is now, going off at a high, rather than to continue with a formula that would ultimately show its age. Madagascar 3 worked and delivered everything you'd expect of a crowd pleaser that can appeal to all age groups, and I'm very much compelled to earmark this for a 3D blu-ray title for keeps. Definitely highly recommended in my books, given its rarity of it improving upon the strengths of its predecessors, and finding room to add more characters, not caricatures, to its mythos.
I watched this at the Cannes Film Festival 2012 after deciding to take a break from all the serious art-house fare on offer. With the exception of Ben Stiller's lead all the original supporting leads take virtually a back seat in this third instalment. But several great new characters are introduced namely Frances McDormand as Captain Chantel DuBois, Bryan Cranston as Vitaly and the fabulous Martin Short as Stefano. All there performances are stand out but wished Shorts Stefano was featured more. Cranston as Vitaly was beautifully menacing but it is the wacky deadly policewoman in charge of hunting down and capturing the animals as they make their way across Europe which is the centre of the narrative drive. Since the police team where obviously the bad guys (DuBois only wants to capture Mike (Ben Stiller) so she can add his head to her mounted collection of stuffed animals on her office wall) it was ironic that I watched this in France since the police were portrayed as bunch gung-ho obsessive freaks (DuBois crawls around on all fours to sniff down her prey like a dog come insect). The film was screened in 3D, initially I was apprehensive since I don't really enjoy 3D movies but this was a pleasant surprise. After a few minutes I had completely forgotten that I was wearing the 3D glasses and actually...in the spectacular climatic scene I was completely wowed. An explosion of vivid movement and colour formed an intricate moving tapestry of light and colour that was gorgeous to watch. The kids will love it and any one young at heart enough to let themselves loose themselves in escapist fun for a couple of hours. One of the best "family" animation films that I've seen in years and highly recommended. Oh I nearly forgot....Baron Cohen's (as The King) love affair with a giant mute bear is both surreal and priceless!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As with most sequels, the quality greatly decreases with the number.
Madagascar 3 is not an exception. I watched the first Madagascar back
in 2005 and me and my friends found it hilarious. The second
installment was still OK, but this one ... terribly sucks. I looked at
the movie rating and the raving reviews and I am still wondering if the
people were on some kind of drugs while watching it. Maybe one of the
reasons is that I watched it on 2d and did not get the 3d treatment
like the rest, but if one dimension will make you rate a movie that
high, then the humanity is definitely in trouble.
For me it seems that this episode was created for kids up to 5-6 years of age: simple jokes, whole bunch of rainbows and bright colors, lots of musical flicks, many scenes that lack logical explanation (from being in Africa the animals end up in Monte Carlo swimming - why didn't they swim to the US in the first place then), lots of shallow characters, really insanely overblown circus tricks (a tiger going through a ring after being lubricated from head to toe).
Even the penguins are not the same. I cannot really say what was wrong with them, but they seem to be just a part of the scenery.
The only thing that was missing was pink unicorns, but I think it was well compensated by a zebra painted in white with colorful spots, wearing a rainbow-colored wig and singing something about polka. Genuinely ridiculous. Someone in the reviews was wondering what drug were the creators of this movie on ...
The only thing I really laughed at was the relationship between the lemur and the bear.
So, to summarize: if you are more than 5 years old you should find that this movie was a total waste of your time and money.
Finally! We have a movie in 2012 that is worth every minute and every
penny. If your kids (or you, for that matter) cannot stop singing
"Circus! Afro!" then go ahead and see Madagascar 3: Europe's Most
Wanted in 3D. It is the most clever, fun, and exciting animated film to
hit theaters in a long time.
When we see our favorite zoo escapees this time, they are on the run with their jungle friends in Europe. Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer) desperately want to get back to Central Park. Standing in their way is Captain Chantel Dubois (Frances McDormand) as the most evil animal control officer in the world. They narrowly escape her clutches by jumping on a train with a traveling circus. Now their only hope for getting to New York is to buy the circus and whip them into good enough shape to earn a touring contract in America.
Director and screenwriter Eric Darnell does an excellent job of leading the crew with this third installment. The story incorporates new characters beautifully by adding a love interest for Alex (Gia, voiced by Jessica Chastain), a dopey friend for Marty (Stefano, voiced by Martin Short), and a fallen hero everyone can cheer for (Vitaly, a tiger voiced by Bryan Cranston). King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) also finds love in a big bear wearing a tutu named Sonya, and the results are as hilariously sweet as the love saga of Donkey and Dragon. Kids will be able to keep up with all of the new names and nationalities and may even find a new favorite character in the bunch.
What makes this movie truly magic is the skillful use of 3D technology. Every leap on the flying trapeze, flight out of a cannon, and grasp at an animal's tail by Captain Dubois jumps out of the screen and excites the senses. It is so refreshing to see a movie in 3D that actually takes full advantage of its capability. The clever script and silly animation also kept me laughing, but I could have done without all of the jabs at people of Russian, French, Canadian, and basically all non-American descent. What was initially funny drifted toward mean, and resulted in one joke that was totally inappropriate. These moments only accounted for about 5 of the nearly 90 minutes of running time, so do not let that deter you from enjoying this chaotic adventure.
Madagascar 3 is just like going to the circus, but with more laughter and less wondering about how the animals are treated backstage. If you still like to "move it, move it," then you need to see it see it!
Review courtesy of The Rogers Revue
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's hard to believe that it has been over seven years since the first
"Madagascar" film arrived in theaters back in 2005. Now, the number of
installments in the movie franchise has risen to three. In "Madagascar
3: Europe's Most Wanted" we are reunited with our beloved Alex the
Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe. Our
favorite animals are stuck in Africa and are missing their home in
Central Park Zoo in New York. In the process, they head to Europe
(marking a shift in the setting compared to its two predecessors which
are set in Africa) where most of the adventure takes place. Regardless,
this third installment is a marked improvement from its two excellent
predecessors, offers a great deal of fun, and promises a hear-pumping
"Europe's Most Wanted" is mostly set in Europe, from Monte Carlo all the way to London. This marks a shift in the setting compared to its two predecessors which are set in Africa. Anyways, you're probably wondering "What happens in this third installment?". Apparently our four favorite animals are stranded in Africa along with King Julien, Maurice, and Mort. The penguins and monkeys left them and head to Monte Carlo (specifically the luxurious casinos) and promise to never come back. The remaining seven animals then head to Europe to capture the penguins and monkeys in the hotel, only to cause trouble. Because of the chaos that ensues, Animal Control Captain Chantel DuBois is hired to capture these escaped animals in a chase that spans all over Europe. DuBois is ruthless and she actually wants the animals dead, especially Alex. Aside from ruthless, she possesses some of the coolest moves you would least expect from an elderly woman, and some of the most preposterous tracking methods, more reminiscent of a dog's.
Along the way, the escapees encounter the circus train belonging to the Circus Zaragoza (later renamed Afro Circus) where we meet new friends (which consist of the circus's members). This includes Stefano the sea lion who is a sea lion cannonball, Gia the jaguar who is a skilled trapeze, and the most harrowing of them all, Vitaly the tiger who can jump through a ring of all sizes (even as small as an engagement ring). We also meet Sonya the Bear, whom King Julien develops a romantic yet comedic relationship with. Apparently the circus has been losing its luster ever since Vitaly's bad incident years ago. From then on, the circus crew just didn't have that same energy and excitement they had before. Alex later on along with his friends attempt to rebuild the circus by developing some of the sickest and breathtaking stunts ever for a circus show.
The breathtaking circus stunts bring one of the most entertaining scenes in the entire movie. The scene I'm talking about is when the circus crew, now added with Alex and friends, performed in London. I like how they combine the different acts together along with the neon lights, fantastic sets, and not to forget, Katy Perry's "Firework" song playing in the background, to create something so spectacular and bright and colorful. Add the stunning 3D effect and this scene is just flawless.
"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is humorous and is better than the previous two installments even in terms of humor. Marty the Zebra' jokes assure that this film will be humorous while the romantic relationship between Sonya the Bear and King Julien is silly that it makes you laugh. But what made me laugh the most was DuBois's preposterous methods of tracking the animals. She can crawl on all fours and inhale the air to see what the scene was like hours ago. It is so preposterous that it's funny and humorous. She also possesses some of the coolest moves you'll ever see, most of them present in the chase scene in Monte Carlo where DuBois jumps over obstacles with her bike and does crazy stunts.
The actors gave applauding voice performances. Ben Stiller was great as usual providing the voice of Alex the Lion. Chris Rock delivered a great sound for Marty the Zebra. Jada Pinkett Smith gave a strong voice for Gloria the Hippo whereas David Schwimmer provided a great sound for Melman the Giraffe. Frances McDormand gave one of the best performances as she voices DuBois with ruthlessly and hauntingly whereas Bryan Cranston delivered a menacing voice for Vitaly the Tiger. I also loved Martin Short's performance as the sea lion Stefano where he makes Stefano an extremely likable figure and I wished that his screen time had been extended and made longer.
The 3D is also one thing to note about for this film. It's excellent and enhances the movie experience. One of the scenes that benefit from 3D is the circus show set in London where there is an eclectic mix of fantastic sets, breathtaking stunts, and the beautiful upbeat song ("Firework" by Katy Perry) in the background. It makes you feel the movie more and makes the ride more thrilling.
Whether you're a fan of the previous two installments or not, go watch this one. "Europe's Most Wanted" is an improvement from the previous two films, even when its predecessors are already excellent. Its shift in the setting makes the movie more interesting and the presence of a human villain makes it more exciting. The 3D enhances the movie experience and allows you to feel more and capture the heart of the film. Overall, "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is a great film and highly recommended especially after it's been a long time after the last family-oriented animated movie came out in theaters so go watch this film with your families.
Final Verdict: "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is an improvement from its two excellent predecessors that entertains you immensely and delivers a great deal of fun - and it has to be watched in 3D.
Whoever said watching a movie in 3D is the same as watching it in 2D,
got it all wrong. Madagascar 3 has amazing 3D effects which will really
make you experience the movie in a different way. From the beginning
till the end, you will get into fits of laughter and the animals will
keep you entertained. The overall plot of the movie is good but what
really steals the show are the new Italian circus animals and their
Italian accent. I always felt that the real hero's of this smart
Penguins and Marti, the Lion, is only a pseudo hero.
What I didn't like about this movie was the unrealistic villain and her super human abilities, although funny, but at some point you will feel it was too much. But I can bet you won't notice the small things with the crazy animals making you LOL through out.
My suggestion: Don't miss this one, and watch it in 3D.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I know it sounds silly to say I want more realism from a film about
four talking zoo animals, but Madagascar III was so far removed from
any sense of internal logic or consistency that it was just plain
Very little about the first Madagascar falls out of line with reality. They even go so far as to explain why the animals can't talk: When the quartet is nearly apprehended at Grand Central Station and Alex (the lion) tries to reason with the crowd but his speaking comes out as roaring.
The third Madagascar got so ridiculous, I eventually tuned its attempts at making sense out like white noise. We have the animals deciding to swim halfway across the planet, a tiger who can jump through a wedding ring, the circus now being run by chimpanzees and selling out to a human audience, and a lion suddenly learning the trapeze.
None of the new plot developments are particularly additive. In one, Sasha Baron Cohen's lemur monkey falls madly in love with a big bear (which by the way, is kind of gross) and the two go to the Vatican to kiss the pope's hand and get his blessing. What?! I'm not sure where the pope stands on monkey-bear unions but at least the first and second installments had a clearly spelled out humans-animals relationship.
The movie also feels rushed. It wasn't just the actual running time of 93 minutes, but the storyline weaved its way from one plot point to another at right angles with no transition. The gang decides to go to Monte Carlo and are suddenly there one scene later. One scene after that, they're being chased out of Monte Carlo and onto the next adventure. There's a weary Russian tiger played by Bryan Cranston who warns against clichés and nearly quits the circus but is talked out of it in 30 seconds by Alex. What do you call a sudden 180 reversal like that again? Oh yes, it's a cliché.
The animals we've gotten to know in the previous two movies continue
their quest to get home to NY in this third installment of the very
profitable movie franchise. This time they buy a circus in order to
impress an American promoter enough to book them in NY, thus taking
them home for good.
First of all, having recently watched Pixar's Brave, I am bound to say that Madagascar 3 feels inferior in almost every aspect. Whereas Pixar usually deliver a touching and well-worked screenplay, the story here is confusing and morally ambiguous. Are circus animals traveling around the world performing tricks really OK? Many feel that it's wrong, but the movie happily ignores this rather complex moral issue.
It is also obvious that the screenwriter has not forgotten or forgiven France opposing the American war efforts of the early 2000s, as the story takes a turn to Monte Carlo for no other purpose than to introduce the ridiculous French antagonist, and add to that a Freedom Fries-joke that feels incredibly dated.
To sum it all up, this movie has a pretty weak plot and its aim is pretty obvious - to milk more money from the franchise. I hope they let it end here, as I feel this is pretty much the end of the road for these movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
You know those animated films that are engaging to watch, then leave
you with some kind of a warm squishy feeling inside, after which you
stop to think about it and you can identify some simple truth? You're
like, yeah, I don't mind sitting through it if it means spending time
with my kid, and afterward there's something to talk about.
Why is the film getting praise from critics? Sure, there were several cool scenes, our familiar characters, a few more silly and not so silly ones that I guess I was supposed to care about but never really had a reason to... and they did stuff. Now I like watching good cartoons, I can't say how many times I've been sucked into Cars while it was playing in the background, but this one didn't have anything tying it together. Weak plot. Made for an amount of boredom. Wouldn't sit through it again, though wouldn't mind it being on if it weren't for something else. Now I saw it in Russian, so maybe there were some really great lines that got lost in translation, but I sort of doubt that could fix much.
The biggest thing though, is when afterward you stop to think about it... what's the solution to their problems? It's like watching Wall-e, but reversed, so the Costco addict blobs convince Wall-e that the space ship resort is the best way to live after all. They all dance, stop caring what the mirror looks like or what happens outside their box and live happily ever after.
**** plot spoiler*****
While lying and acting out of their own interests, and being wholly ignorant of the circus culture and business, the heroes go on to start prescribing how to fix their hosts and their act by... doing a half-baked job of doing complex skills, sexing things up with some special effects, and sell it for an amazing profit. Magically things work out, and they overnight develop the required skill sets needed of circus performers, the truth comes out, then they become friends anyway.
Do these sound like any stereotypes of Americans? Why do you think people hate us and think we're stupid and dangerous?
I find the use of this theme particularly irritating, and counterproductive for what our children need in America. We need our kids to understand that they need to work hard and consistently over time to acquire important skills and knowledge, that they need to start observing and learning before trying to fix the world, that you can't solve problems by just throwing money at them. The movie is reaffirming the exact opposite:
Lack of skills + Half-aced effort + Confidence + Money = Success
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