Fun, Reality and the Great Bonds of Friendship
Director: Eric Darnell
Voice-Overs: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Tom McGrath, Andy Richter, Frances McDormand, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short, Jessica Chastain, Paz Vega
Music: Hans Zimmer
Synopsis: 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 XIII, Maurice and the Penguins are all along for the comedic adventure. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover- a travelling circus, which they reinvent – Madagascar style.
Review: The beloved characters of the billion-dollar Dreamworks Animation franchise are back… and how! There’s Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippopotamus, Melman the Giraffe, King Julien XIII, Maurice and the Penguins and the Chimpanzees. It is the third part and it is but obvious that the film would be three times more the fun! And not just ’cause of the storyboard or the character but ’cause the series has got so wonderfully etched into a film aficionados system that you would know what to expect, yet would be wonderfully surprised during the course of the film.
The trailers for the film and the promotions around the film helped manifold in increasing the suspense around this supposed finale film of the three-part franchise. Besides, the characters become a little closer to one’s heart with each successful film rolled out every few years. It’s amazing how all of them look so real that you find yourself in the scene as though it were being shot with real characters all around you. Also, you may notice how the voice-over artist’s face starts reflecting in the countenance/face of the animated character in question. The first of the franchise released in 2005 with the second part releasing in 2008. During this 4 year break, the filmmakers joined hands with television channel, Nickelodeon to telecast “The Penguins of Madagascar” (that, as the name suggests speaks about the different adventures of the Penguins after they left from Africa leaving behind the four main Madagascar characters). The television series premiered in December 2008, becoming the most watched premiere.
This film is a continuation of where the second part ended, with Alex still pining to get back to the place he calls home – Big Apple (New York) and his rather cushy life as Alex the Lion at the Central Park Zoo. Hence starts their adventurous journey from Africa to Europe and back to USA. And what is an adventure without any mishaps and trouble-makers in tow? Lovable as they may be, Marty (Chris Rock) becomes noisier and Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett-Smith) don’t speak too much in this one, while the story focusses a tad-bit more on Alex (Ben Stiller) until the quartet alongwith King Julien XIII (Sacha Baron Cohen), Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) and Mort (Andy Richter) meets with the Penguins (Tom McGrath and the others) and the other add-ons consequently.
The film is funny, amazingly real and inspirational… yes, you read that right… contrary to popular belief, animation films cater to adult audience as much as the kiddie audience, plus if you end up feeling good about yourself, because you just saw something that’s so true. Deeper bonds are created, the pep talks put you on some cloud up there and friendships and love relationships become further stronger. There are greater lessons to learn – the animals take charge of their lives, no one remains a captive because the animal in them teaches them how to eventually lead a balanced and controlled life in a city where everyone is a part of the rat race. They continue to entertain, on their own terms. A place run by humans is passe, smile, wave and make way for these cute and cuddly characters and laugh your way through the film and long after the film is over.
The team of animators headed by Eric Darnell have created some fantabulous visuals for you to remain awestruck plus Hans Zimmer’s music will keep ringing in your head (ta-ta-tada-ta-ta Afro Music). Needless to say, this one will add to your list of collectibles sooner or later. Watch alone, with your kid or in a large group in 3D or in 2D – the impact will be the same.
Verdict: Traverse with the characters across continents, while learning lessons & humming the fabulous soundtracks.