This week Morgan and I got to go see the newest addition to the Madagascar franchise. I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t have that great of hopes for this one. If you listened to Episode 11 of the podcast where we reviewed the original Madagascar film, you can probably tell that there was a lack of true excitement about the first. It did have a lot of good things about it meriting discussion, but in the end I gave it just 3 stars out of 5 (really, I don’t think that it was deserved. It’s more of a 2.5 stars hoping for 3 stars). The original Madagascarwas simply hard for me to get through. It dragged a lot and I didn’t really grow to love the characters. I saw number 2 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa and though I thought that it was an improvement, it still didn’t leave me thirsting for more. That being said, we got the prescreening tickets to Madagacar 3: Europe’s Most Wantedand decided to check it out anyways.
The film’s setting starts off in Africa as Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller) is celebrating his birthday. The penguins had taken the plane and made their way over to Monaco and the Monte-Carlo casino. Alex is hit with a bad case of the ‘Missing New York Blues’ and convinces the rest of his unconventional herd—Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer)—to make the trip to find the penguins in order to get back to the Central Park Zoo. Along the way, they get in trouble with the law—aka Monaco’s animal control head honcho, Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand)—and in their escape they talk their way onto a train filled with circus animals where they then try to perform their way back to the good old U.S. of A.
Maybe it’s the fact that I went into Madagascar 3 with low expectations, but really I was very pleasantly surprised. From the very beginning it was fast pace and had very few lulls. The effects, too, were very well executed. Where normally I think that 3D gives me a headache and is more of a gimmick than an enhancement, it was very well done here in this animated setting. There were a few great jokes in there that will make for some good quoting for Morgan and me, add in lots of color and a good soundtrack and the film leaves you on a general up feeling throughout the whole thing. I’m not going to say that the movie is perfect, there were some rather large plot holes and I still didn’t fall in love with the characters but all and all where the first and second struggled to keep you engaged, I would actually say that this movie and the afro circus deserve those 3 stars.
So, if you are going to be going to the movies with the kids, this is not one to be feared. Personally, I wouldn’t pay to see itagain, especially during prime time in the summer movie season; however, for a Saturday morning showing, I actually enjoyed myself.
Review by Chelsea Robson