June 10, 2012
The first "Madagascar" was unexpectedly funny and entertaining. Those four lead characters Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman were delightful and pretty likable. However, the second one already gave me the feeling that the franchise was getting tired. Now that the Penguins already have their own TV show, I don't really want to see them on screen anymore! However, how could I say no to the kids who wanted to see this third installment? I just had to grin and shell out for the tickets.
Missing their zoo in New York after a long stay in Africa (from the second film), our four friends now make their way to Europe in order to find a way to go back to their old home. While being pursued by the French Animal Control officers, led by the superhuman-ly relentless Captain Chantel Dubois (who wants Alex the Lion's head on her wall), the four join a circus animal train to escape. How opportune that this particular train was en route to New York too. So now, Alex and friends have to help their new friends get their circus act together in order to be finally NYC-bound.
I felt that this whole flimsy story was just there to in order set up the stage for one spectacular scene: a very colorful and beautifully- animated "Fantasia"-inspired sequence of multi-animal circus acrobatics accompanied by Katy Perry's hit song "Firework." The relationship of the four friends, which was the center of the first two episodes, were hardly tackled at all. This time it was just all about the action of eluding the animal catchers and getting to New York. The voice work was flawless as usual. Having Frances McDormand there as the vicious Capt. Dubois and Jessica Chastain as the cute jaguar-trapeze artist Gia were nice to know as the final credits were running.
Overall, I did not enjoy this one too much. I did not really have any LOL-moments while watching this particular installment. There were in fact a lot of cringe-worthy moments led by that very lame sequence where Marty was painted white with big polka dots and wearing a huge multi- colored Afro wig. As for the new characters, the ability of Vitaly the Tiger to go through small hoops was too impossible, the face of Stefano the Seal is too annoying to be cute, and the bear "girlfriend" of King Julien the Lemur felt unnecessary. This one is really strictly for the kids.