Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
Thor
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Trapeze Americano

Rated: PG  Some mild action and rude humor
Release Date: June 8, 2012
Runtime:  1 hr 25 mins

Director: Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon, Tom McGrath
Writers: Eric Darnell, Noah Baumbach
Cast:  Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Frances McDormand, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short, Jessica Chastain, Paz Vega, Christopher Knights, Tom McGrath, Chris Miller


SYNOPSIS: Still in Africa, Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe dream of getting home to the Big Apple. Following the penguins to Monte Carlo, they work their way through Europe under the guise of a traveling circus.

REVIEW: Now on its second sequel, the Madagascar animations have delighted children and adults alike. Co-directors and co-writers of all of the Madagascar films, Tom McGrath and Eric Darnell are joined in directing duties by Monsters vs Aliens writer/director Conrad Vernon, and joined in writing duties by Fantastic Mr. Fox scribe Noah Baumbach. Starting where Escape to Africa left off, Alex and the rest of the 'wild' animals find a way off one continent and onto another - continuing their quest to find a way back home.
Residing in Africa, Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller, Tower Heist), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock, What to Expect When You're Expecting), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith, Hawthorne), and Melman tge Giraffe (David Schwimmer, John Carter of Mars) dream of returning the their home in the Big Apple, New York. When the penguins, led by Skipper (Tom McGrath, Megamind), Kowalski (Chris Miller, Puss in Boots), and Private (Christopher Knights, Megamind), take off in their cobbled together and monkey powered plane to Monte Carlo to increase their fortunes, they leave Alex and the others in Africa without a way home. Following the penguins to the casinos they all reunite with enough time to draw the attention of the relentless and rabid French Animal Control Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand, Transformers: Dark of the Moon), anxious to add a lion's mane to her trophy wall. In order to escape the city, Alex and crew find cover on a train with a traveling circus filled with performing animals like the Russian Tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad), the Sea lion Stefano (Martin Short, Weeds), and Cheetah Gia (jessica Chastain, The Help). They travel the European countryside trying to make the circus successful in order for a American circus promoter will see their act and get them back to New York, all the while trying to evade Captain DuBois.

Following in the grand feral tradition of the previous films, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted 3D is funny, touching, and exhilarating. Skipper and the penguins slay with their hi-tech hi-jinks and monkey shines. Odd couple Alex and Marty ditch the predator and prey routine for good in favor of new issues, one of which is who should be leader of the pride. But that issue comes quickly to a close when the snarling and sniffing animal control Captain DuBois starts nipping at their heels. The action is fast and furious, from a high-flying and fast-wheeled chased in Monte Carlo, to a narrow getaway in the darkened train yards. The 3D of the film explodes to good use with every twist and turn of film. Marty's melody of "Afro... circus... afro... circus... polka dot, polka dot... circus" was an instant classic as soon as he uttered it in song. Lemars King Julien XIII (Sacha Baron Cohan, The Dictator), second-hander Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer, Larry Crowne), and wide-eyed follower Mort (Andy Richter, Aliens in the Attic) add in their special brand of yucks and ahhs along the way.

The story is fresh and funny. In part 2, they escaped Madagascar to the unknown wilds of Africa. In Europe's Most Wanted, Alex and crew journey to another continent, still with the expressed wish to find their ways back home, but with a brand new story dynamic. The romantics and friendships are already rock solid. Melman is not the hypochrondriac that he once was. Alex isn't trying to gnaw on his friend Marty or searching for his heritage. Marty now knows he's unique, even in a herd of other identical zebras. Gloria is happy with her relationship with the ever shy Melman who always carried a torch for her. Now the pack faces brand new challenges with the pursuing Captain Dubois and a cast of circus performers who seem to lack both the patience for non-circus folk and the passion to carry on the honored tradition of performing to their utmost. The Russian tiger Vitaly seethes with resentment for Alex due to his perkiness and his questions to why Vitaly doesn't bother jumping through hoops anymore. Alex starts noticing cheetah Gia in a way more personal than professional. Sea lion Stefano, even with his self proclaimed lower than average intelligence, knows that they need help in creating a better, more passionate routine. And what Alex comes up with for that better performance is a visual and musical treat.

Cirque du Soleil, Circus of the Sun, is a Canadian entertainment company that mixes circus arts and street entertainment. Alex the Lion brings the spectacle of Cirque to the circus without the human acrobats and clowns. Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman take a huge risk putting Alex's plan into play and convincing the other circus animals new colorful tricks. What results is a neon bulb, glow stick, ultra-violet black white, Katy Perry fireworks symphony display.

Some of the story is more silly than important. Lemur King Julien falls for the tricycle-riding ballerina bear. They take a funny jaunt through Rome on the tricycle and eventually a high horsepower Ducati. The journey and their romance is silly and fun, but does not add much to the tail, I mean, tale. But Julien, Maurice, and Mort play their part and deserve a moment in the spotlight. The addition of the brutal Captain Dubois adds much of the high octane action, Skipper and the penguins use their know-how and quips for great effect, and the friendship of the characters is evident and touching.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is a great animation for young and old. Those who have followed the films will be rewarded with a fine continuing story. The 3D is extraordinary, everything thrown in - and at the camera's lens - for eye-popping effect. You will laugh out loud, you will be entertained, and you will want to move it, move it!

WORTH: Matinee and BluRay

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