If it's crap ... We'll tell you
I never expected to have so much fun with a kids film.
Madagascar 3 follows the continuing adventures of Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) as they attempt to make their way back to the Central Park Zoo. The film starts with the crew in Monte Carlo on a mission to retrieve the penguins so they can then get back home. Unfortunately they make a bad first impression in the city and soon find themselves being hunted by Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), a crazed animal control cop that will stop at nothing till she mounts Alex's head on her wall. Desperate, the animals board a circus train to escape and soon find themselves a part of the failing circus. Also involved in the movie is a hilarious subplot that involves King Julien the Lemur's (Sacha Baron Cohen) romance with a circus bear.
The character of DuBois is one of the best things about the film. She is a completely insane, terminator-esque animal control cop stationed in France. When we first meet her character, the camera pans across her very long wall which is covered in mounted animal heads, the only animal missing is a Lion. When she learns a Lion is one of the animals reported making a mess, she decides to go all out in her pursuit. She dives head first through walls, jumps across buildings on her motorbike, crashes through buildings, and no matter what the animals throw at her she just keeps on coming. DuBois is voiced with a crazed glee by Frances McDormand, who makes the frumpy character her own. DuBois is indeed a worthwhile adversary for the animals and even makes for quite a challenge for the incredibly smart penguins. She is one of the more memorable villains in recent animated films, and I easily fell in love with her character.
The rest of the cast does a pretty good job voicing the characters with the natural stand-outs being Ben Stiller as Alex and a zany Chris Rock as Marty. The Penguins (Chris Miller as Kowalski, Christopher Knights as Private, and Tom McGrath as Skipper) manage to steal the show whenever they appear, but what's new? The penguins are so popular that they even managed to nab their very own Nickelodeon TV show. King Julien and crew are back as well, even though they don't gain much screen time (I imagine this is most likely due to Cohen's lively screen career).
The main reason to see Madagascar 3 is because of the incredibly fun 3D to be sampled here.The creators of the film threw their backs into it here and gave it all their all, and it shows. They were clearly having a fun time imagining how to creatively use the 3D here. The 3D in Madagascar 3 is used to bring the action of the film out into the theater. The whole film in 3D is an in-your-face delight. Fireworks explode in your face, Water soaks the audience, characters faces pop out of the screen into the theater, some characters get shot out of the screen into the theater and fly right past your head, cars fly over your head, it's all quite breathtaking. There's also two incredibly surreal and fun circus scenes that pop and whizz in 3D. The 3D here is that of the theme park variety, and it's indeed top-notch. This is one of the better 3D experiences I've had in a while, and it's great to see a film so expertly nail the kind of 3D we normally only see in theme parks. If you're going to see Madagascar 3, you might as well fork over the extra few bucks for 3D because this is the way the film was meant to be seen.
While the story in Madagascar 3 is simple and sweet, the film is also off-the rails pure ADHD fun and this is where it gets its charm from. The 3D helps to add to the complete insanity of the film. Madagascar 3 is a film that is aimed at kids, but that doesn't mean that adults can't enjoy the hell out of it too. With a superb 3D job, fun character work, and a delightfully insane atmosphere Madagascar 3 manages to find a way to tie the story of Madagascar up into a nice bow, and I find it hard to believe anybody would be disappointed in the ending found here (sweet, poetic justice). Madagascar 3 is a treat for all. SEE IT!!!