Voices of: Ben Stiller,Chris Rock,Jada Pinkett Smith,David Schwimmer,Sacha Baron Cohen,Frances McDormand,Jessica Chastain,Bryan Cranston
Directors: Eric Darnell,Tom McGrath,Conrad Vernon
Indian Express Ratings: **1/2
NICELY executed 3D,a fiendishly determined detective,an interesting new character,goofy accents and a psychedelic circus — Madagascar 3 has everything going for it but a story that,unlike animation films these days,never aims for anything beyond the gratuitously simple course it sets for itself.
The cast of voices that has made the franchise a success returns to play Alex (Stiller),Marty (Rock),Melman (Schwimmer),Gloria (Smith),the penguins,the lemurs and the chimps. However,McDormand’s Captain Chantal Dubois leaves everyone behind with her French “animal control” detective who can out-sniff and out-slurp her preys,and won’t stop at anything to get a lion to complete her trophy wall. Hence,the mascara-ed eyes trained on Alex.
Alex and the gang are still trying to get back to New York and,having realised that the chimps and the penguins have deserted them in Madagascar,decide to swim across to Monte Carlo where the latter are milking the casinos.
They do find the penguins working the machines to mint money but also run into Captain Dubois,and are barely able to escape her clutches by jumping onto a circus train headed for Rome. On this train,Madagascar 3 introduces us to three new characters which are set to remain a staple for the films that may follow — Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Cranston),Gia the jaguar (Chastain) and Stefano the sea lion (Martin Short). Vitaly once used to jump through hoops a little bigger than the size of a wedding band,but has lost his will since a mishap. With its star performer down in the dumps,the circus is on the rocks.
Alex and friends pin their hopes on turning the circus around since,if it is successful,it will be taken by a promoter to New York. Madagascar 3 is about these animals “learning to be animal” again,”rediscovering their passion”,and “pushing the boundaries”. The irony of them finding it in the confines of a circus,being shot out of a cannon or skidding on skates set on fire,or jumping through lit hoops and dancing on tightropes,doesn’t strike the filmmakers — and obviously they hope it will be overlooked by its young audiences,who will be laughing at how they get the comeuppance on Dubois,who can do everything from running through walls to breathing new life into patients with her own little rendition of Edith Piaf’s ‘Non,je ne regrette rien’.
All this also provides an excellent opportunity to use 3D effects,which for once are utilised to the optimum without losing any vibrancy in colour that plagues films of this genre.
Yes,it’s all fun and games in Madagascar 3. However,again in this franchise,the joke is actually on the animals even if they do all the laughing.