Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted [Blu-Ray]
Directed by Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath & Conrad Vernon
When the third Madagascar film opens, Alex (Ben Stiller) has a flash-forward moment of mid-life crisis malaise, seeing himself and his three pals — Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer) — as senior citizens, still in Africa, doing the same thing. His resultant panic involves recapturing his youth, which, in going back to the first film, involves being a captive at the New York Zoo. During the final moments of the film, the gang of mismatched animated animals realizes the importance of freedom and the unknown, even though the entire text of the story in between these bookends has absolutely nothing to do with this thematic trajectory or message. Instead, Europe's Most Wanted finds the group joining a travelling Gypsy circus led by similarly over-the-hill tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston) and a love interest for Alex, Gia (Jessica Chastain). Some fuzzy mumbling about recapturing the glory days attempts to tie things together amidst a spectacle of non-stop, hyper-saturated visuals and neon colours. And to ensure the story is always moving, villainous French animal control agent Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand) pops up sporadically, chasing the animals while demonstrating bizarre superpowers and singing songs to cure people of injuries. An overall preoccupation with nostalgia is heightened by a soundtrack comprised almost entirely of pop tunes from decades past (Reel 2 Real's "I Like to Move it," as sung by a Pakistani man, and "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls), save for Katy Perry's "Firework," which works to inspire false hope and delusion in an entire generation of impressionable tots. Of course, none of the themes have much to do with the target youth audience, since this instalment of the increasingly strained Madagascar franchise is stuck purely within the ideology of its middle-aged, white, heterosexual writers and directors, who seem to be whining about getting older, when not patronizing the kiddies with cheesy one-liners and awkward jokes about the evil French-Canadians that created Cirque du Soleil. Included with the Blu-Ray are a variety of supplements on the animation and voice actors, which do little to service the film, much like the interactive "Get them to the Train" game that doesn't work. There's also a rainbow Afro wig included that smells like varnish.
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