Release date: 8 June 2012
Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith
Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath
Duration: 93 min
Rating: stars: 4 stars out of 5 stars
Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman 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., the monkeys and a new arrival: a performing llama. How do a lion, zebra, hippo, giraffe, four penguins, two monkeys, three lemurs and a llama travel through Europe without attracting attention? They join a traveling circus.
It’s not just human stars who have to worry about scene stealers in Hollywood. Cartoon animals have to beware, too.
The first "Madagascar" (2005) introduced us to four Central Park Zoo denizens — a vain lion, a kooky zebra, a hypochondriac giraffe and a don’t-mess-with-me hippo — who were feeling a little penned up. The jokes came from a plot that took these jaded New Yorkers out of Gotham and put them in an exotic wild they were in no way prepared for.
It was a fun idea, but the characters remained sketchy. Which gave the supporting beasts their chance. Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith remained the in-voice-only stars of the cartoon. But the real attractions became the extra, oddball beasts, including the slightly insane lemur king Julien and a crew of gung-ho penguins.
They return here, along with a few new characters — a sexy Italian jaguar, a dour Russian tiger, a sea lion who seems to be channeling Roberto Benigni and a crazed French animal-control officer. And while they push the four main characters further into the background, they make this a fun and fast family entertainment.
The story, which picks up in Africa where the last sequel left off, is a little haphazard, moving the plot forward illogically. When our four animal friends need to go to Monte Carlo, for example, they simply swim there. (From Africa?) Trying to get home and rich with casino winnings, they buy a traveling circus. (Why not just buy four passages on a trans-Atlantic freighter?)
Yes, I know, asking for realism in a movie about talking animals is a bit much. But lapses like this aren’t a matter of wild fantasy; they’re the result of lazy writers who can’t be bothered connecting the dots.
The new characters, though, are wonderfully drawn, particularly the très French functionary in pursuit, a mass of grimaces and geometry (and voiced, surprisingly, by Frances McDormand). Terrific, too, are Jessica Chastain’s slinky big cat and Martin Short’s slap-happy sea lion.
The film does stumble a couple of times, including a strange pause for "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien." (Yeah, nothing really delights the small fry like a big Edith Piaf number.)
But the film soon picks up again. And at its heart — the animals’ jazzy circus performance, done in black-light colors and set to a Katy Perry song — may be one of the trippiest scenes in a mainstream kiddie movie since Dumbo saw those pink elephants.
The ending wraps things up neatly, suggesting the series is now concluded. No offense, but let’s hope so. Julien and the penguins have kept these films going far longer than the first episode suggested was possible, and while this outing is still fine, there’s no use beating a dead horse. Or even a cartoon zebra.
On the whole, 'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted' is worth a watch.
We also Suggest: Ice Age 4, Over the Hedge, Flushed Away
See the official movie website: http://www.madagascarmovie.com/
Review by:- Lobna Hammam