Posted by Benjamin Webb on Sep 3, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Review


Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted 3D
Studio:
Dreamworks
Publisher: Paramount Pictures
Format: Cinema
Release Date: September 13, 2012

Overview

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is the latest in the Madagascar film franchise. The CGI film follows a the story of Alex the Lion and his fellow Zoo escapees as they travel around Europe to both avoid capture from the menacing racist stereotype and to secure a path back to New York and their home at the Zoo. As a comedy film, this movie is supposed to deliver on laughs as well as provide a cohesive narrative that makes sense within it’s world.

Does the film deliver on it’s premise? Read on to find out.

Story

Madagascar 3 follows the primary cast of the Madagascar franchise, which seem to feature: A Lion, a Zebra, A Hippo, A Giraffe and a multitude of other characters, such as Penguins and Monkeys, as they try to find their way back to their home Zoo in the city of New York. This adventure of theirs takes them on a journey through Paris and after some initial trouble, join a circus.

The story of the film has a fairly approachable premise and can be enjoyed without seeing the previous films. However, I’d say that if you’ve seen the previous films, you will probably find this film slightly more enjoyable than if you had not seen them. For instance, I haven’t seen a Madagascar film beyond the first one and I had no idea why the stuff happening at the beginning of the film was even happening for. Why were these animals trying to get back to the city, why is there an Oceans 11 reference? Luckily, this is all explained in the film.

What I -really- didn’t like about this film was that it relied far too much on the comedy to drive the story, rather than combining the elements more subtly. Throughout most of the film it felt like I was being forced to laugh, rather than having the film approach me in an amusing manner. “OH HEY HE’S USING A BANANA MACHINEGUN, LAUGH PERSON IN THE AUDIENCE, LAUGH. IT’S FUNNY BECAUSE IT’S A MATRIX REFERENCE WITH BANANAS”. Some people will probably like that, however to me it just felt like it was really forcing laughs for no other reason than to have the team do something funny to make the story go onto the next bit that the team will use comedy to escape from.

To be honest, the movie went on with that formula right up until near the end when suddenly there’s this emotional scene that’s supposed to resonate with the audience. However, what I took from that scene was that it was some kind of forced scene that didn’t fit in with the rest of the film. When you’ve set up an entire film to go a certain way, it’s a bit odd when there’s a scene or two that does not fit that mould. The reason for this, I feel, is that going from something as intense as laughter, to something as differently intense, like sympathy, is much harder to do when you believe that everything is supposed to go one way.

Overall the story has a pretty decent arc that entertained the audience. Was it as laugh out loud as the film plays itself up to be? Not really. However, some people did actually laugh in a few spots, so maybe I’m the odd one out (unlikely).

Visuals

Before I talk about the visuals, I want to point something out about the version of the film that we were shown. In this version, we were shown the 3D edition of the film, so it may just be that the 2D version is much more vibrant than the 3D version.

For those who have yet to witness anything about the Madagascar series, you will quickly realise that this is a CGI film featuring animals that have the voices of humans. Now with CGI, it is possible to make impossible things happen to possible things in a way that would not be possible in reality. Things like an aeroplane helicopter thing that would not fly under any kind of realistic circumstances.

However, I did find that even with the 3D glasses on, the movie was still quite vibrant and pretty. And as anyone who has seen my Quakelive config will tell you, I like bright and pretty. However, this is no more prevalent than towards the end of the movie where the cast has seemingly created some kind of neon-circus that is incredibly glowy and awesome. If I owned a circus, it’d look like that one featured in the film.

Audio

In this film, at least in a cinema, there wasn’t really any point that I could complain about with the films audio quality. Also, some of the songs featured in the film were quite amusing, especially Afro Circus, Polkka Dot. However, this does not mean that there were not some faults.

The first fault I want to talk about are some of the forced jokes. I don’t know why, but it really felt like a lot of the jokes were being told just because someone told the writing staff to be a little more funny. As someone who writes for a living, I can attest to how easy it is to write a bad joke under pressure to be funny. As an accurate example, pay attention to some of the community written Cracked.com articles.

The second and more prevalent of the faults are the overuse of the Emperor/King dudes songs. He -really- needs some new content, I mean, I’m pretty sure he sang all those songs in the first movie. Apart from his terrible songs, the rest of the films insert songs are pretty awesome. I particularly liked where they stuck in Katy Perry’s ‘Firework’.

Overall

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is probably an entertaining comedy for people that are into that kind of thing. I, however, was not amused by the movies reliance on comedy to push the story and will likely not be watching this film again. Fans of the series will definitely think the opposite of me as it’s filled with the kinds of things that they’d like based on the previous films.

6--capsules-out-of-10

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