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The third film in the Madagascar trilogy is the best in my book, it is confident, brilliantly written, colourful, exciting and has an unforgettable song which is in equal parts annoying and genius.Starring the same old gang from the previous two installments, Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), this installment follows them as they initially go to find the missing penguins, but then follow their dream to return to the New York Zoo, by joining a circus.The film is hilarious, colourful, absolutely brilliant for kids and adults alike and is both likeable and annoying in equal measure. Without giving too much of the plot away, the film takes in a romantic rendezvous in Rome, exhilirating car chases through the streets of Monte Carlo, intrigue in London and adventure in New
Madagascar 3 starts with Alex the lion's birthday, his friends, Gloria the hippo, Melman the giraffe and Marty the zebra have made up a mud sculpture of their home city, New York. Alex realises how much he misses home so the friends go to visit their old pals, the penguins for some help to get home. On their way back to the zoo they stop off in a casino and whilst there, get into a spot of bother and have animal control coming after them.
To escape from Captain Dubois, the friends pretend to be circus animals so they can board a traveling circus train and get away. Whilst on the train they meet some circus animals and befriend them. They become part of the circus to try and help them look good in front of the important audience member. Eventually the circus ends up in New York but will the animals make it back to the zoo?
I wanted to go to the cinema to see this when it was first released but never got round to it, I really wish I did go to see it now as I think visually, it would have looked great in 3D. The animation is truly brilliant and I would say it definitely tops the previous two films in terms of visuals. All of the films have been brilliantly mastered but there is something about this one that makes it stand out but I can't quite put my finger on it. It may be the bright and vibrant circus scenes, these are in your face but work brilliantly.
Of course, Madagascar is known for its funny scenes and this film doesn't disappoint. Both me and my daughter laughed out loud on many occasions, the penguins, as always, were absolutely hilarious. My favourite scenes have to be when the circus go to London, the bright, vibrant neon type colours used look fantastic, the tricks the animals do are great and the background tune Firework by Katy Perry all make for an excellent viewing experience.
The voice cast is excellent and the same actors come back again, the four main characters are voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith. The chemistry between the four animals really shines through with the great work from these people. I truly believe the right people have been used and the comedy values of each of them are great. The music used throughout the film keeps it fresh and fits in really well, alongside the Katy Perry hit there are songs like Hot in Here and We Speak No Americano. If you've seen any of the trailers for the film you will recognise the afro circus song, it's absolutely fantastic in the film and whilst annoying, it's great at the same time. Towards the end of the film they intertwine the afro circus song and I like to move it from the first film, it's a good mix!
I think anyone would be a fan of this film regardless of seeing the first two films or not. It really is an absolutely brilliant family film, my four year old loves it, I love it and I'm sure it would be something my nan would love too. The storyline is good and it keeps your attention to the end, the visuals and audio are simply amazing and it is an all round excellent film, it comes with a high recommendation from me.
Despite not having seen the first two films in the Madagascar series (well I've seen half of the first one but that's it!), I was really excited to see the latest film in the franchise simply because my little boy Harry enjoyed it so much on his first viewing of it when he went to see it with his cousin a few months ago. It was this week's film on at our local cinema's KidsAM choice (i.e. cheap tickets!) so Harry and I decided to go and see it, the advert does make me laugh so that's always a good start. He kept telling me how much I'd enjoy it, so we sat back and really hoped that it would live up to his, and my, expectations. Harry was totally right, and I thought it was brilliant, and now I look forward to seeing its predecessors!
Picking up from where I assume the last movie left off, our animal friends are back in Africa, and hoping to find a way out of there and go back 'home' to New York and the zoo in which they used to live. It's Alex the lion's birthday, and his friends build him a model of his beloved NYC out of mud, and it only ignites their ambitions more, so they decide to swim across to Monte Carlo to locate their old adversaries the Penguins of Madagascar and King Julien to fly back to New York on their plane. However, a bit of a scuffle in a casino leads to the local Animal Control officer Chantel DuBois being alerted to their presence, and she becomes determined to hook Alex the Lion in particular to add to her wall of fame. On the run from the crazed officer, the animals have to hitch a ride with a travelling circus to escape her tracks, but end up taking on more than they had anticipated, and end up reinventing the circus from scratch... Madagascar style...
The voice cast are the same as the previous movies, which is great continuity for its younger viewers. I think the voice cast are brilliant, and really work on bringing the characters to life on the screen for us. Ben Stiller voices Alex the Lion, who is certainly the leader of the pack. I strangely didn't identify him at all when I was watching, but with hindsight it was quite obvious that it was him! He did well, and I really loved Alex, and so did Harry, he's got his heart in the right place and leads the group well. Chris Rock is fantastically funny as Marty the Zebra, and I think every child in the cinema laughed at 'Circus Afro', as did I, it's brilliant and a lot of the humor in it came from Marty. David Schwimmer is Melman the giraffe, a sweet character who is almost scared of his own shadow, but dearly loves Gloria the hippo, voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith, who does a good job but I felt it could have been any female actress voicing her, it was a fairly unremarkable performance I'm afraid!
Sacha Baron Cohen is simply brilliant as King Julian, the slightly eccentric king of the animals, and his character regularly had me laughing out loud... he and the huge bear were just comedy gold and Julien's singing was wonderfully awful, he was definitely Harry's favourite character! I also want to mention Gia the leopard who loves the circus very much, as I think she's a great character and voiced brilliantly by Jessica Chastain. I also loved Russian tiger Vitaly who is voiced by Brian Cranston. Vitaly is hiding a secret about his time at the circus from the new animals, and when it's revealed, Alex is determined to help him overcome it, and I thought some of the scenes were fantastic, and very well handled, showing children it's possible to overcome your fears and there are ways of getting around things with a little help of those around you.
Some of my favourite scenes in the whole film were those in the circus - the colour and actions were just superb and I was completely glued to the screen throughout this, it was just superb. We didn't view it in 3D as 3D makes me sick, but I can imagine these scenes were stunning in that format. The scenes were set to Katy Perry's song 'Firework' and I just thought they were beautiful, and for young children watching, it's very visually stimulating and Harry absolutely loved it. The animation throughout the film was brilliant, especially the circus trickery was stunning, and all of the animals moved seamlessly, the scenes used were brilliant, especially in the casino and the fantastic rooftop chases with Officer DuBois on their tail, even if she did get on my nerves towards the end. I felt her character was a bit over the top at times, her animal-like tracking was funny, but I found her a bit too crazy at times, although the children seemed to like her.
The plot itself wasn't hugely strong, there wasn't a brilliant twist or anything in there to shock viewers, instead it ambled along slowly towards the goal of getting the animals back to New York and the zoo, with the circus taking over as the main plot around a third of the way in, and I'm glad it took this turn as it was fun, exciting and allowed for a lot of humour. The plot hooks around Vitaly, and Alex and co joining the circus were fun, and there are some good morals in there too. The soundtrack is fun, and highlights the excitement and fun of the movie, with tracks well placed throughout, and Harry is so obsessed with King Julian's version of 'I Like to Move It Move It', I've had to buy it and download it onto his iPod! This movie was fun and fresh, and it certainly went above and beyond my expectations for the film, and I'll be buying it to add to our collection. I can imagine it'll appeal to children of any age, and there is a lot of humour in there for all ages to enjoy. A fantastically fun movie that I can highly recommend!
Directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
Written by Eric Darnell and Noah Baumbach
Running Time: 93 minutes
Ben Stiller ... Alex (voice)
Chris Rock ... Marty (voice)
David Schwimmer ... Melman (voice)
Jada Pinkett Smith ... Gloria (voice)
Sacha Baron Cohen ... Julien (voice)
Cedric the Entertainer ... Maurice (voice)
Andy Richter ... Mort (voice)
Frances McDormand ... Captain Chantel DuBois (voice)
Jessica Chastain ... Gia (voice)
Bryan Cranston ... Vitaly (voice)
Martin Short ... Stefano (voice)
The DVD is out on 11th February 2013 and is available for pre-order at the usual retailers. The previous 2 movies in the franchise are also available on DVD individually or as a boxset.
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We'd seen numerous adverts for this film so when my children were off school on a teacher training day recently, we decided a trip to the cinema would be a good way to spend the afternoon, and this film was first choice for both my boys. They have previously watched Madagascar (film one in the series) several times as we own that on DVD. We've not seen film two, so it was interesting to see this development of the franchise and introduction of new characters alongside the familiar ones my kids know and love.
This has now been in cinemas since the summer, so there are less showings of it, but you can still see it traditionally or in 3D. The DVD release is scheduled for the 11th of February in 2013, and this title is available for pre-order on amazon for a cost of £14. I can see us buying a copy when it comes out.
The film starts where I assume Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa ends. The four main central characters of Alex the lion, Gloria the hippo, Marty the Zebra, and Melman the Giraffe are in Africa. It is Alex's birthday, and the other animals have made a mud sculpture of New York to cheer up Alex. This leaves him even more morose, so they go to track down the Penguins in Monaco so they can be flown back home.
Here they end up creating carnage in one of the largest casinos, resulting in a call to animal control, which puts an animal control warden, Chantel Dubois, on their trail. They need to excape from her or risk being shot and added to her trophy wall. They come up with a cunning plan to run away with a circus that is travelling across Europe in the hope to impress an American talent scout who will then let them take their show to America.
Alex is desperate to get home, so he is very disappointed when he realises they have joined the worst show in the world, and he takes a personal interest in improving morale and improving the show so he can get home. Along the way, he has to deal with a very jaded tiger called Vitaly who used to be the star of the show. Can Alex help Vitaly get his confidence back?
He also has a strong attraction to a cheetah called Gia, and has to win over everyone in the circus to make sure the show stays on the road. Can he pull it off and get home to the Zoo in New York which he calls home?
We really did enjoy this family film as a whole. The premise of these Zoo animals having this bond and longing for home still seems as relevant today as the first Madagascar film did back in 2005. The plot as a whole worked better in some places compared to others, and I felt was less clever than the first film, but it did still raise some laughs and keep my children enthralled.
I think the strength of this film is that established characters are there so you are emotionally involved from the start, but we also see so many new characters that also are really loveable and make you care about what happens. The concept of putting zoo animals in the circus is rather fun, as who doesn't love a circus. Some of the stunts being performed in the circus really were quite farcical, such as the Tiger jumping through a ring as small as a women's wedding band, but my children weren't aware of how ridiculous the size difference were and it seemed really fresh and exciting to them.
I liked the concept of an animal control warden tracking them, and it did work well in places, but by the end of the film, I was really beginning to get annoyed by the character of Chantel Dubois. Her animal like tracking behaviour grated on me, and I found the perfomance of Non. Je Ne Regrette De Rien performed by her and her male colleagues to be really dull and not that clever at all compared to the rest of the film.
Like other Dreamworks films, there was use of more contemporary songs in the script such as Firework by Katy Perry, Wannabe by the Spice Girls, It's Getting Hot in Here by Nelly. This was alongside original material specifically for the film. My kids have been annoying me for weeks since we watched this singing Na na na nana na na na na, polka dot circus, polka dot circus at me. To be fair to them, it is in my head to, so the soundtrack to this is pretty catchy, and enjoyable while you are watching this film.
This is the first in this film series that was also made to be shown in 3D, and to be honest you can tell, particularly in the scenes where the circus acts are performing their stunts. You get this from the trapeze and cannon practice, and then the actual show is a mass of bright colours and movement that looked pretty spectacular on the big screen anyway, so would have looked good in 3D. I did find sometimes that this seemed to go on a bit too long for me and felt a bit repetitive. Again, the kids didn't notice or care.
With a run time of 93 minutes, I did feel the kids were starting to get a bit twitchy by the end, but they did sit pretty well through this. The plot was a little disappointing for me at times, but I enjoyed looking out for little references there to the original film, and no doubt some to Madagascar 2 as well. The script was quite funny, and I can't see as many pop culture references within this one compared to the original that will cause it to date rapidly. If anything, I felt they had selected a good range of older music, and avoided references to other films.
I thought new characters were engaging and well developed, and the plot was definitely still interesting enough, but I don't know if I could now imagine this one going on to a 4th film as it feels to me like the story is now complete.
If you like kids films that are comical, and have adult jokes that go over the head of the kids, then this is a film you will probably enjoy. My children would give this 5 stars. I feel somewhere round 3.5 would do it better, but I will give it 4 to compromise our family opinion of the film. There are some genuinely funny moments, but there are also a few that are a bit dull and cliched.