Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
dir Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon
scr Eric Darnell, Noah Baumbach
prd Mireille Soria, Mark Swift
voices Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Frances McDormand, Jessica Chastain, Martin Short, Bryan Cranston, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter, Vinnie Jones
release US 8.Jun.12, UK 19.Oct.12
12/US DreamWorks 1h33
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Step right up: The gang runs off with the circus

stiller rock schwimmer

Madagascar (2005) Madagascar 2 (2008)
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Instead of coming up with a clever story, this over-crowded franchise just adds a bunch of new characters and ups the hectic energy, hoping that kids won't notice that there's nothing to it. But by never stopping to take a breath, it's actually rather boring.

Abandoned in Africa, four lost New York zoo animals - nervous lion Alex (Stiller), zany zebra Marty (Rock), geeky giraffe Melman (Schwimmer) and giddy hippo Gloria (Smith) - travel to Monte Carlo to find the mastermind monkeys and penguins who abandoned them. When tenacious animal control agent Dubois (McDormand) catches their scent, they hide out with a failing circus and join the performing animals - sexy cheetah Gia (Chastain), goofy sea lion Stefano (Short) and grumpy tiger Vitaly (Cranston) - to catch the eye of American promoters so they can get home.

The premise itself isn't too bad, as it allows the filmmakers to indulge in lots of wacky European stereotypes and colourful circus action, but the film is so hyperactive that it never does anything clever with any of it. Even Dubois, by far the most detailed character in the film, is reduced to a silly bloodhound awash in simplistic French cliches. And amid the cacophony of irrelevant sideplots (including a romance for Baron Cohen's lemur), the audience will find it impossible to engage with anything on screen.

That doesn't mean it isn't eye-catching. The animation is wacky and busy, packed with witty 3D gags and some genuinely gorgeous set pieces. The animals' big Cirque du Soleil-style performance in London is great fun to watch, even if it's an overwrought animated fantasy. And the film's climactic action sequence is packed with snappy details that are heavily signposted throughout the film.

So it's a real shame that the script fails to make anything of the characters themselves. The filmmakers have a terrific vocal cast that's developed a nice camaraderie, but the writers only give them simplistic gags while never building any sense of urgency or interest in the plot. So while we're never bored by what we're looking at, the absence of anything inventive leaves us squirming in our seats.

cert pg themes, violence 2.Sep.12

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Jon Harland, North Wales: 1.5"/5" "This was a poor film during which I fell asleep. However it seemed to suit a five year old mindset as he stayed awake. The disjointed and high speed nature of it just baffled me and I gave up trying to understand it. Pixar have nothing to worry about with this drivel!"(31.Mar.13)
© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall