THE lovable cartoon animals — Alex the lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) — are back, this time in 3-D.
In the first Madagascar (Mad 1) film, these animals escaped from a zoo in New York, and in their attempt to return home, gave us a barrel of laughs — and a song, I Like To Move It, Move It by King Julius the lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen).
The second film saw them happy in Africa, with Alex reunited with his parents.
But home — New York — calls them in Mad 3, all by Dreamworks. Everybody you fell in love with in films 2 and 3 — Maurice (Cedric The Entertainer), the commando penguins — are coming along for the adventure.
The penguins — Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private — have the best lines in Mad 3. Out of many lines, the scene where Private has set himself up to be bombed to death gets his commander to say: “I like your commitment, soldier.”
Of course, Marty the zebra and King Julius have some good lines too. Why these few? You need to ask director-writer Darnell and writer Noah Baumbach about that.
By the way, these penguins are as delightful as they were in the first movie. These days, they are kept busy with their own TV series on Nickelodeon, called Penguins Of Madagascar!
In Mad 3, the penguins leave their four friends in Madagascar, Africa, after fixing an old plane. The latter then decide to get back at them, and swim — from Africa to Monte Carlo. This feat can only be done on film, and in one’s imagination.
They end up with a travelling circus and return to New York via Rome and London. Along the way, they bring the animals to the renowned Cirque de Soleil. A cruel joke on this world-class, people circus.
I didn’t like the flat-looking animation work done on the humans including the animal police officer Chantel duBois (Frances McDormand), but the witty dialogue with its references to popular culture are spot on.
The antics of the animals and Mme Chantel is seriously mad, while the music, which includes Katy Perry’s Fireworks, is dazzling. Be warned: These animals can mangle a lot of songs. Check out Marty’s circus song, Afro Circus, among others.
To me, King Julius has the best love story in this animation, to date. The way he woos a circus bear reminds me of the Loony Toons/ Merrie Melodies cartoon lover — Pepe Le Pew, the skunk.
Mad 3 is all about good entertainment for the whole family.
MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE’S MOST WANTED
Directed by Eric Darnell, Tom Mcgrath and Conrad Vernon
Voiced by Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen
Rated PG U