Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted 2/4

September 13, 2012 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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Madagascar 3 raises an interesting question about what movie-goers want from animated films: intelligent, thoughtful productions that use artwork, rather than live-action, to tell a story, or colorful crap that can be used to distract children for about 90 minutes…writes James Berardinelli.

Madagascar 3, much like its predecessors, is a perfect example of the latter. It has value only as a way to engage a very young viewer until his or her attention span expires. For many adults, sitting through this will be an exercise in tedium. It offers about as much as an oversized, overlong Saturday morning cartoon and if that’s where expectations are set, it probably won’t disappoint. Talk about setting the bar low, though.

The animal characters in the Madagascar series – Alex the Lion (voice of Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) – are classic examples of “grass is always greener” types. They’re never satisfied with where they are. In this case, they have decided they’re bored with Africa and want to return to the Central Park Zoo in New York, which they affectionately call “home.” Getting there proves to be a bit of a challenge, however, requring stop-overs in Monte Carlo, Rome, and London. Along the way, they make an enemy of French Animal Control officer Captain DuBois (Frances McDormand), who wants nothing more than to mount a lion’s head on her wall. They join the circus, where they are welcomed with warmth by Stefano the Seal (Martin Short), wariness by Gia the Jaguar (Jessica Chastain), and hostility by Vitaly the Tiger (Bryan Cranston). Eventually, they all learn to work together to catch the attention of a U.S. promoter who will fund their trip across the Atlantic.


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