Like most casual fans of the Madagascar series I got sucked in by the Circus Afro clip which I have watched more times than I care to admit to.
I skipped Madagascar2 although I can’t pretend to remember why and despite my enjoyment of said Circus Afro clip I only ended up seeing Madagascar3: Europe’s Most Wanted as there was absolutely nothing else to see.
PLOT: Still trying to get back to their beloved New York zoo Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer) travel to Monte Carlo to find the penguins and monkeys and their futuristic aeroplane. After being chased by the Terminator of animal control (Frances McDormand) they find themselves stranded in Italy. The gang then come up with a plan to buy an ailing circus, impress the locals, earn themselves a contract to perform in America and go home. END PLOT
I was not expecting a deep insight to the homing instincts of captive born animals but the plot of Madagascar3: Europe’s Most Wanted is downright bizarre.
The opening act of Madagascar3: Europe’s Most Wanted is great fun and laugh out loud on numerous occasions. Unfortunately it all grinds to a halt when the new characters of Gia (Jessica Chastain), Vitaly (Bryan Cranston) and the incredibly irritating Stefano (Martin Short) arrive.
The entire circus arc goes on for far too long and made a 90min film feel much much longer. I hadn’t consumed enough sugar to enjoy the psychedelic circus performance which was just weird and never ending.
There are too many characters and of course the few that are actually amusing, the penguins and to an extent King Julian, are underused. Madagascar3 needed more of the penguins and less of Alex and Marty but like everything Ben Stiller is involved in he is front and centre and completely uninteresting.
Despite the god awful plot and unfortunate number of characters it is hard to fault the voice work. My current favourite Jessica Chastain does a commendable job of using a generic non-country specific European accent and Bryan Cranston is unrecognisable with his deep Russian voice. I will never be a Martin Short fan therefore I am programmed to HATE everything he touches and/or voices.
In this day and age you can’t use the argument that animation is for children, look at How To Train Your Dragon and Tangled, they are two amazing films that cater to all ages. I feel sorry for any child whose introduction to the cinematic world is Madagascar3. It will put them off for life.
Madagascar3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a colourful, migraine, inducing mess but it’s saving grace is the criminally catchy Circus Afro clip and four penguins who really need to branch out on their own. There are giggles but after a very strong opening section the entire film just falls flat. It gets a 4.5/10.