The third adventure of Alex and friends feels like a rushed gathering of obligation over purpose. The premise doesn't justify the film's existence less another children-friendly lesson towards friendship and liberty life. Despite so, the mesmerising final act's art direction and choreography design of the circus performance entertains with neon visual attraction jogged along at a questionable frenzy pace.
Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, and Melman the Giraffe are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple and of course, King Julien, Maurice and the Penguins are all along for the comedic adventure. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent - Madagascar style.
Madagascar 3 wastes no time and sets the animal characters right into action. The team of directors Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, and Conrad Vernon, sends them straight to Monte Carlo in hunt of their money-grubbing penguin and chimpanzee friends in aim of reviving their hope to return back to the New York City Central Park Zoo.
Along with the usual misfit characters, with the likes of King Julien (who sadly feels like a sideline character purely for hilarity), they trigger the attention of anti-animal Captain Chantel Dubois in relentless pursuit of the animals. The first new addition of the French antagonist beholds potential but unfortunately written strictly with a thin personality that feels too serious. One of the pursuits sees Dubois smashing right through building walls, leaving the audience with preposterous sense of incredulity.
With further added dimensions to her personality, Dubois might have otherwise impressed (and even earn a possible sequel's involvement).
Other new character additions are noted in the Zaragoza Circus members with the likes of Vitaly - a Russian Tiger who jumps through tiny rings of fire, Sonya - a tricycle riding Grizzly Bear, and the most memorable of them all, Stefano - an Italian sealion who serves as the film's pivotal character.
Collating as much blatant laughing gags as possible through large physical comedy and rapid editing, Madagascar 3 feels nothing more than a 90 minute episode of cartoon comedy. If you are expecting a Toy Story kind of story with dear messages for the audience to bring home with heartwarmth, then this will likely disappoint.
What one should look out for and indulge in is the finale circus performance that features great choreography and eye-popping visual art design to excite and entertain excessively. Given that your expectations are nothing more than receiving good fun, the circus performance act itself more than addresses it with great satisfaction. The dazzling neon colours dancing amidst deep black lighting does complement the festive dance-remixed pop tracks. Somehow, the colours remind me of Katy Perry's brand of colour use.
Despite not wielding a captivating story at its core, Madagascar 3's adventure in Europe does provide a good excuse to unwind and laugh oneself to silliness. What's more, adding on to King Julien's "I Like to Move It", there's another iconic track by Martin the Zebra "Circus Afro", in the below embedded player as a final treat before ending this article.