Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" Review

Why is this still called Madagascar again?
    Yes, we are back in... Madagascar? Wait, no. Now we're in Europe. Huh. Anyway, I've never really liked any of the Madagascar movies. I loved them when I was a kid, but, after rewatching them this past summer, they don't hold up that well. I don't know what it is. Something about the ridiculously nonsensical plots and the over-use of pop culture references just doesn't work in this series like it does in others. But, does that trend continue in this third instalment? Kinda sorta maybe.
    This time around, Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer) have grown sick of Africa and plan on finally travelling home to New York City. However, after a run-in with an evil animal control officer (Frances McDormand) leaves them, the Penguins (Tom McGarth, Chris Miller, John DiMaggio and Christopher Knights) and the Lemurs (Sasha Baron Cohan, Cedric the Entertainer and Andy Richter) stranded in Europe, they band together with a group of circus animals, including the former star tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), Alex's love interest Gia (Jessica Chastain) and one of the more annoying characters of this year, Stefano (Martin Short) in order to finally return home.
Seems legit.
    Now, granted, this is the best Madagascar movie in the series. But not at first. This movie is about as perfect an example of a "slow burn" as I'll ever get. The first 20 minutes or so are downright terrible. It's weird. The writing fells forced and there isn't a whole lot of humor. The story's a mess too, almost like the writers weren't even trying. At one point, the animals are in Africa and the next, they're in Europe with no explanation whatsoever of how they got there. Then, suddenly, it turns it a good movie. The characters get more fleshed out, the story, while cliched, does start to get more grounded in reality. The humor comes back in full-force too. And then the circus scene hits...
    It's safe to say that the final half-hour of Madagascar 3 is absolutely stunning. Dreamworks can finally boast that their movie looks better than any Pixar movie to date. The circus scenes are surprisingly trippy, set to Katy Perry music and with bright neon colors. And it was great. A large amount of creativity obviously went into this movie, culminating into a grand finale. The characters all get a chance to shine and, surprisingly, the resolution is actually emotion and delivers a good message to boot.
This is break so many of
Nature's laws.
    Madagascar 3 is not the best animated movie of this year. It is the best animated and it is the best Madagascar movie, but it is hard to forget it's terrible beginning or how it does tend to drag on in the middle. However, the last half-hour of the film is just so spectacular and fun that it's easy to forgive this movie of the early mistakes. Madagaascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted gets 4 and a half stars out of 6.

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