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Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted(2012)
Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo join a traveling circus in an effort to get back home to New York.
For more about Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted and the Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Blu-ray release, see Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on October 10, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer
Directors: Tom McGrath, Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon
» See full cast & crew
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Blu-ray Review
The circus is in town.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, October 10, 2012
There's something fundamentally fun about the Madagascar series; cute and cuddly talking animals are a staple of children's entertainment and few animated movie series does them better (Ice Age and Kung Fu Panda amongst them). Madagascar finds that happy animated medium in which structural flaws, somewhat unimaginative characters, and less-than-invigorating plots melt away when then colorful and cuddly animals appear on-screen and commence with their playfully ridiculous antics and embark on their various adventures. Still, the Madagascar series isn't even DreamWorks' best -- it lacks the superb characters of Shrek, the raw adventure of How to Train Your Dragon, the novelty of Megamind, and the gut-busting humor and action combination of Kung Fu Panda. In fact, it's arguably DreamWorks' least-memorable animated series, but that doesn't make it any less a charmer, no less delightful, and certainly no less profitable. And now at three movies, it's more than a franchise, it's a staple of animation. Audiences expect new adventures with Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria to roll into theaters every few years. It's a hot commodity and perhaps never has it been better than it is under the big top of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, a zany, fast-paced, and tender when necessary new picture that introduces a host of new characters and a brightly colored wig that's destined to become the defining symbol of New York's most famous foursome of digital animals.
Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty (voiced by Chris Rock), Melman (voiced by David Schwimmer), and Gloria (voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith) are still in Africa, and they still long to return to New York City. In fact, Alex is suffering from recurring nightmares about growing old in Africa rather than back in the comforts of his old home. The foursome agrees to travel to Monte Carlo, home of high stakes gambling and great wealth, to retrieve their penguin friends and return to New York as a group. The plan to surreptitiously rescue their friends goes horribly awry, and the gang is forced to flee from a zealous animal control officer, Captain Chantel DuBois (voiced by Frances McDormand). They continue to evade the law but find themselves in one sticky situation after another. Finally, they stumble upon a traveling circus, which includes a performing tiger low on self-confidence by the name of Vitality (voiced by Bryan Cranston). Alex and the gang falsify their credentials and pass themselves off as fellow circus performers to find reprieve and escape with the act and, just maybe, a ticket back to America. Will their falsehoods come back to haunt them, leading to a breakup with their new friends or, worse, an inescapable run-in with Captain DuBois?
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted builds its narrative and moves through its adventures with an overt zaniness that only a movie with this caliber of characters and voice actors could pull off. The movie is patently absurd but a whole lot of fun nonetheless. It follows animated movie routine -- there's a big idea, huge expectations, a dramatic fall-off, and a high-flying recovery just in time for the end -- but does so with zeal. The movie charms with its heart, energetic characters, and sense of grand adventure, even when some of the humor falls flat, not necessarily because it's unfunny but because it's not original funny. The movie doesn't introduce much that hasn't been seen before, in terms of its structure, humor, animation, and new characters. There are no great character moments aside from Marty's "Afro Circus" routine, and even the new assortment of characters don't find much novelty, including a circus tiger who offers more than a passing resemblance to Kung Fu Panda's Tigress. But the movie rightly doesn't strive for cinema novelty. Its sole purpose is to entertain, and entertain it does and in fairly big fashion at that. It'll dazzle the youngest of audiences, please those who grew up on the first and second Madagascar films, and even tickle the fancy of adults who will appreciate some of the finer plot touches that might go over the head of viewers caught up in the colors and fast motion.
Ultimately, it's those bright lights, brilliant colors, and dazzling displays of cutting-edge computer animation that define the movie above all else. Even as Madagascar 3 trudges through a terribly familiar structure, it impresses with complex action scenes (the big chase near the beginning would pass for the climax of most any other animated film), a few creative ideas (a banana-flinging machine gun), and the general tomfoolery and tender moments that are animated film staples and recycled motifs. The movie is very well put together, technically, and even if the animation isn't sometimes quite as complex as the newer films of its kind -- lines are a bit angular and hair/fur doesn't always have that lifelike flow to it -- the film impresses with astonishing attention to detail, creating a robust 3D environment that's been brilliantly conceived, richly detailed, and flawlessly animated. Better, the voice acting is some of the best in the business. Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, and Jada Pinkett Smith fall right back into character and bring their animals to life with in a way that even the finest animation cannot yet achieve. Bryan Cranston lends gravitas to his Vitaly character and shows an emotional range that helps construct the best of the new characters and provide some much-needed depth to the movie and a character roster that's fun but otherwise a little on the shallow side, particularly the "couldn't be more generic if they tried" villainess whom even the talented Frances McDormand cannot save.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Blu-ray, Video Quality
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted features one of those rare transfers where one look pretty much says it all. This is a dazzling display of color and clarity, ranking up there with the absolute finest the Blu-ray format has to offer. Madagascar 3 is absolutely defined by its rich and varied color palette. The transfer delivers every hue with brilliant accuracy and vibrancy, all of them nearly blinding but nevertheless balanced and pleasant to the eye. Every shade leaps off the screen in what may be the single most colorful Blu-ray to date, sourced from an animated film or otherwise. Details are exceptional, too. The image is richly complex and breathtakingly sharp. The 1080p resolution captures the finest little traces of animated texturing evident on a variety of surfaces, from rusty metal to fury bodies. It's a striking comparison when switching over to the included DVD; the benefits of Blu-ray could not be more clear, with the superior and richer colors, drastically increased details, a sharper focus, and an absence of jagged edges and softer lines all proving the case for Blu-ray's supremacy. There is a hint of banding to be seen in a handful of shots, but they're so infrequent and the rest of the transfer so astonishing that it doesn't feel right to knock the transfer down from perfect. This is a reference grade presentation from start to finish.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted arrives on Blu-ray with a high quality Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless soundtrack. This is a big, robust sound presentation that's as sonically well defined as the image is visually precise. The track brings the world of Madagascar to life with startling efficiency and clarity. Sound spreads around the stage with a natural presence and high energy. Whether the most subtle of natural ambience or the boldest, heaviest action sound effects, the track never misses a beat and never fails to energize the picture with a dazzling array of perfectly placed and infinitely clear sound effects. Music enjoys the same attributes, playing with superb spacing and faultless clarity. The surround channels carry a heavy load of music and effects, playing both discrete and directional elements with ease. Bass is hefty, deep, potent, and accurate but never rattly or unkempt. Dialogue is smooth and focused up the middle of the stage. This is a dominating, energetic track that will leave listeners completely satisfied with the entire Madagascar 3 surround sound experience.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted contains a nice collection of extras, highlighted by a detailed picture-in-picture commentary track. This package also includes DVD and UltraViolet versions of the film.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted satisfies at every turn with great animation, vibrant colors, and plenty of quirks. It's packed with complex and fast-paced action that, along with the colors and animation, helps to cover for what is a rather routine plot with standard plot devices and largely unimaginative humor. Still, the bottom line is that the movie works as advertised. It's a dazzling and sometimes dizzying high-flying display of family-friendly entertainment that doesn't wear thin even where it's not very thick. The movie finds a perfect middle ground for an animated series now in its third go-round, offering up a new adventure, a few new faces, and distinguishing itself just enough to keep audiences entertained. It's not the finest animated film of the year and not even one of DreamWorks' best, but Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted should please audiences with modest expectations. DreamWorks' Blu-ray release of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted features fantastic video, great lossless audio, and a very nice array of extra content. Recommended.
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Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Madagascar 3 - October 13, 2012
Blu-ray.com and Paramount Home Entertainment are offering three members an opportunity to win a copy of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, the third entry in the popular Dreamworks Animation franchise. Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria return to Blu-ray on October ...
• Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Blu-ray (Pre-orders Up) - September 11, 2012
Dreamworks Animation and Paramount Home Media Distribution have officially announced and detailed their upcoming combo pack and 3D combo pack editions of the animated adventure-comedy Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. The two releases will be available for purchase ...
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