A kids movie is usually a reviewer’s worst nightmare, not for the movie, but instead the audience. The constant chattering from kids, the excessive screaming and crying, and perhaps worst of all sitting behind a couple of adolescent’s who think it’s the best thing in the world to kick your chair are all annoying distractions. However, I decided to face this annoyance and review the latest kids flick Madagascar 3 on this beautiful Sunday. What were my thoughts on this movie? Read on to find out.
With some of the recent disappointments I’ve seen this summer, I was thinking this sequel was a safe bet after seeing the trailers. For those who haven’t seen the trailers, here is a quick summary. The crazy animal quartet of Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Melman (David Schwimmer) are tired of Africa where they traveled to in the last film. Their destination is none other than the central park zoo, but they must first head to Monte Carlo to pick up the penguins and the chimps that have the only plane. As expected, things don’t go as planned and the gang is soon chased by an elite animal hunter named Captain Dubois (Frances McDormand) and her silent posse. In an attempt to elude her, they hitch a ride on a circus train, which is home to an energetic seal named Stefano (Martin Short), an aspiring Jaguar star Gia (Jessica Chastain) and a Tiger with an attitude named Vitaly (Bryan Cranston). What will happen to the gang?
No surprise this movie was a safe bet, but at the same time was perhaps one of the most fun animated movies I’ve ever seen. What started out as a mirror of the trailers for the first ten minutes became a wild ride of fun, humor, and balance that kept me entertained. However, once the chase began the pace picked up and the surprises began to flood in. One major surprise was how well the chase scene was done and the clever use of penguin ingenuity. Although Dubois’ moves were a little over eccentric and silly at points, it was still exciting and perhaps the best chase scene since the Italian Job. Another surprise came from the multiple stories embedded in this film. The main story like always is for Alex and the gang to get home, but within the main tale lie stories of passion, dreams, pride, and unity that connect all of the characters together. There are also a couple of love stories in the movie as well, one that is cute, the other more funny/ridiculous than anything else, both entertaining. All of these stories, mixed in with some diverse comedy, were very entertaining and I felt that many audience members will love.
The other major strength of this movie is the animation. As I’ve said before, DreamWorks animation team knows how to make digital art come to life. Throughout the entire movie the movements of the animals were smooth, flowing, and well edited that impressed me once more. Even the lip work of the animals seemed to mimic the human way of speaking that is seldom seen in animation. Yet this movie also had something the other two didn’t have, and that was being shot in 3-D. Although I didn’t see it in 3-D, there were various shots that one could easily tell were meant to pop out at you, most likely to add another level of entertainment for the kids. While most of the 3-D seemed to involve things flying out at the audience, there were a few scenes and sequences I thought would be fantastic in 3-D adding more depth, color, and pizazz to what was already a good scene. The soundtrack for the film may have also helped with the entertainment values, especially one of the best uses of Katy Perry’s Firework song, even though I had heard it three times in the same movie. Another thing I really enjoyed was that this was a fun, feel good movie that manages to give you an energy boost on some level.
Despite how much I enjoyed it though, there are a few weak things to mention that may or may not be important to you. Perhaps one of the biggest weak areas is the lack of Mort, Maurice, and the penguin humor. Although they had some show stealing moments, fans of these characters will be a little disappointed to see how little their humor they have. Instead they shifted more of the focus on the new circus animals, in particular Stefano. My next warning is for those who are not a fan of Martin Short comedy as the movie is filled with his constant screaming and anxiety filled dialog that was humorous for me at some points, but at some points annoying. Perhaps a third thing to mention is how much the team focused on kiddy comedy than adult and kid comedy. Unlike Shrek or even the first Madagascar, this film didn’t have the well-disguised adult humor and instead was more about juvenile bonking on the heads, and mindless screaming. As I’m sure you can guess though, the movie is very predictable and at points shallow, but that is what most kids’ movies are these days.
Madagascar 3 is definitely one movie I suggest you head to the theaters to see. Although you can guess what is going to happen, the animation and visual effects of the movie combined with the fun soundtrack are sure to keep you entertained. If you are looking for a film to see with a group of friends, a church group, or even just to take your kid to see this is the movie for you. Although not the most unique, it is still very entertaining and worthy of attention. My scores for this movie are:
Movie Overall: 7.5
Tune in next week for more reviews. Until then this is Robbie K signing off.