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    June 11, 2012



    Genre: Action/Adventure/Animation/Comedy
    Release Date: 7 June 2012
    Running Time: 93 minutes
    Distributor: Paramount/DreamWorks
    Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon
    Screenplay: Eric Darnell and Noah Baumbach; based on characters by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
    Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Frances McDormand, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter

    Plot: Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple and of course, King Julien, Maurice and the Penguins are all along for the comedic adventure. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style. REVIEWS AFTER THE JUMP

    Review:  Now that the bunch of talking animals hailed from the New York zoo has escaped and traveled to Madagascar, and then to the Savannah and now making their way to Monte Carlo (and the rest of Europe). This movie franchise remains relevant, intact and iconic over the years due to the large ensemble of lovely and comedic characters. The stake gets higher now as their journey to go back to New York lands themselves into a new territory unlike what they have experienced before. The question is will this third trip to Europe yields a further improvement over its predecessors or will it squanders in defeat in line with most three-quel disease that inflicting most of the franchise nowadays.

    Following the events from the second movie, Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are still dreaming about going home to the New York city. But first, they need to find the Penguins and the chimpanzees who are obviously having so much fun in the rich and famous inside the casino of Monte Carlo; to get them home. Following a chaotic mission to meet the penguins, the group caught the attention of the Monaco Animal Control. Headed by the relentless Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), the group is hunted around the Europe. Seeing their only chance of escape is on a circus train, the four desperately claim that they are circus animals themselves, which convinces circus mates Stefano the Sea Lion (Martin Short) and Gia the Jaguar (Jessica Chastain) let them in.

    The problem with an animation sequel is that they tend to recycle the bin for jokes and story line. Fortunately, “Madagascar 3” manages to escape much of those clichés (not all though) by setting up a rather entertaining product in the midst of record breaking yet still uninspiring summer so far.

    First let’s talk about the plot which is eventually becomes the most valuable asset to keep the steam engine running. As aforementioned, the plot for “Madagascar 3” is not completely fresh but considering how animations tend to skew towards recycling these days, this is a winner. Among the changes, comes a completely new setting in the continent of Europe with multi-nationality as the factor and putting a human as the antagonist. The new package works pretty well but does very little in setting up itself to whole new level.

    Despite all the canny and uncanny moves brought into the table for this one, “Madagascar” remains true to itself. If there is one lesson to be learned from the franchise is the amazement on how the writers are still able to choke up consistently improvement over its predecessor. Interestingly, they decided to throw in gagging humors along with some recognizable throwbacks on the pop cultures. There is the operatic song by Andrea Boccelli accompanying a rather strange love relationship between a lemur and a bear.

    There are also some jokes about work ethics and they are obviously some reference to modern set pieces like “The Ocean Eleven”, “Casino Royale”, “National Lampoon’s European Vacation” and Katy Perry’s “Firework” among others. On top of all is the catchy yet addicting Afro Circus hymn that makes it so memorable.

    While the pacing in approximately been frenzy in certain section of the movie, it comes noticeable that this third picture in Europe becomes less about message but more on subtle humors. Even that humor becomes more and more juvenile giving the adult audiences some shallow moment. So, with the lack of vocal theme to be delivered, one can here expect the unexpected turn on the climatic closure. So another animation that talks about how important friends are? Yes, Hollywood does it again. Nevertheless, the climatic finale puts into use of the eye-popping 3D very well. The acrobatic circus acts seem over the top plus the overused “Firework” pop single are still well balance with a colorful neon lights which burst into brightness and richness in layering.

    In the end of the day, “Madagascar 3” is an exciting, crazy-fueled and entertaining family product that is well positioning itself with splendid new settings in the continental Europe, great use of 3D and color as evidently displayed in the dazzling circus act as well as the wide range of lovable characters that work; but despite the lack in true messages that deeply inspire, it is still a movie that makes you engaged and bemused for their humors.

    Story: 3.5
    Casts: 4.5
    Cinematography: 4.5
    Effects: 4.0
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 15.7/20.0

    "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is now showing in cinemas nationwide
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