Published Jun 07, 2012As inspired by Emerson's famous quote, along with every other road movie ever made, "Life is a journey, not a destination," the third Madagascar instalment continues this thematic vein with frenetic, hyper-realized aplomb, with the same group of animals ― zebra Marty (Chris Rock), hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett-Smith), lion Alex (Ben Stiller) and giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) ― trekking through the sub-titular Europe.
As an odyssey of self-actualization, this 3D instalment adds little to the existing lexicon, dumping the gang in the midst of a ragtag circus (sort of like the third straight-to-DVD Open Season movie, but with funnier gags and better animation) while fleeing from the vigorously villainess animal captress Capitaine Chantel Dubois (Frances McDormand). But as an odyssey of propulsion and pure escapist entertainment confection, it energizes more than anyone could imagine for a series so long in the tooth.
Pastel fireworks and gaudy, overdone colours leap from frame to frame, jettisoning the high wire acts and lubricated brass-ring penetration into exasperatingly camp territory, shocking the senses in a Speed Racer capacity while ushering in vibrant, queer gaudiness to the breeder world.
It's so chaotic in execution that even the stale, almost lazy script, moving forward only to step aside for frequent madcap digressions and the occasional bon mot (presumably care of Noah Baumbach's script revisions later in the game), can't hold back its over-the-top aim.
Indeed, the eventual implication that flashy American excess can revitalize even the dourest and antiquated sideshow diversion is both counterintuitive and weirdly apropos, which almost makes the crude spectacle of it all that much easier to appreciate.
No one here cares that they're hocking derivative nonsense and would figuratively shove pop rocks and cotton candy down throats to shut anyone up that pointed it out. (Paramount)