Thoughts: Madagascar 3rd time wasn’t a charm!

Now don’t get me wrong…I absolutely LOVE animated movies. And NO!! It is not because I think they are cute and fuzzy and cuddly and make me feel all gooey or something on the lines, its more so because an animated movie borders on the knife edge of reality and the make belief and I guess that is what makes these movies so worth a watch. It is like living in Peter Pan’s shoes whilst simultaneously watching John McLane say “yippee kaye M*****f****r”!

Madagascar just plain and simple fails on all fronts.

The cast remains the same…which is good, since all actors are highly talented. But what the movie really lacks is a story. The basic premise of all the animals want to go back to New York City is simple enough and yet somehow the whole way they want to do it just seems to be more of something Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen would have written after they took their respective pills. Its haphazard, loses focus, doesn’t define a lot and sort of ensures you tend to leave the theater without a simple thought in your mind, which sadly is something I don’t expect from a trilogy.

The movie beings from where it left off in the last one with Alex and his gang are still in Africa, but are now getting homesick and yearn for their lives back in New York. So they come up with a plan to regroup with the Penguins, who left with the monkeys and their flying machine for Monte Carlo to play the slots. Once in Monte Carlo (they swim it till there for those keeping track) they all run amok in the entire casino due to which the movie’s arch nemesis Captain Chantel DuBois (the talented Frances McDormand) who works for Animal control (but is more of an Animal Hunter and hell bent on adding a lion to her trophy wall) starts to chase them for the rest of the 90 minutes.

So whilst escaping the insane hunter, the gang ends up taking refuge with a travelling circus and this is where the cast gets expanded, with the introduction Gia the cheetah (Jessica Chastain), Vitaly the scary Russian tiger (Bryan Cranston) and Stefano the overly Italian sea lion (Martin Short). Here the gang realizes that if the circus’s next performance goes well they would get a one way ticket to New York and then decide to train the circus animals so that they can reach back home. Of course all is not that easy, with trust, confidence, morale boosting, love, and the regular movie themes running around makes for the whole 93 minute run time.

The movie has the entire original cast with Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), King Julien (Sacha Cohen Baron), Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer), Mort (Andy Richter) and the list goes on, but that is not the issue. The stars do their role to perfection, the one liners, the sense of humor is something that can be enjoyed by both young and old alike.

Now, the story is where I feel this movie lacks the most. And the only reason I feel so is because I would compare and a fair comparison for these would be against other animated trilogies.

There are film franchises that grow from strength to strength, such as Ice Age where we get to go on an incredibly long journey with its characters trying to survive the inevitable change and extinction and then like Toy Story which by far is one of the best trilogies ever created which takes on a journey right from our childhood to us becoming young adults, things we pick along the way and what we discard. And on the other side there are animated film franchises that rehashed the same old themes and gags in all its installments, and deservedly crashed under its own repetitiveness. Movies like Shrek, which started brightly, but with each sequel the grumpy ogre and his friends started to become cheap parodies of themselves.

There are movies and leave an impression then there are movies that just are made for they need to be. Madagascar 3 is something that seems more of the latter than the former.

Madagascar’s 3rd movie isn’t in the lines of Toy Story, but it isn’t as bad as Shrek’s 3rd part. The ensemble has tremendous potential, the story line has a variety of possibilities and sadly in my opinion they didn’t chose the right one this time. Madagascar 3 is worth a watch in 3D, for its effects but then as a movie it fails in a few places. I wouldn’t go so far as to not recommend it, but I wouldn’t call it a must watch either.

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