Beastly barrage at cliche central
ESCRIBING Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted as the ‘‘best’’ of the abysmal animated Madagascar trilogy is like indicating a slight preference for being locked in a sweatbox instead of waterboarded – either way, you feel enormous gratitude when it’s over.
Despite a strong showing at the US box-office, what might be tolerable in a seven-minute short is one of the big-screen’s biggest headache-inducers since Transformers: Dark of the Moon.
Madagascar 3 is an exhausting, eyeball-gouging assault of non-stop action, with an all-star voice cast shouting witless lines and a wide variety of objects lobbed at audiences in the crudest of 3D.
Ben Stiller – who returns as the lead voice of a neurotic cowardly lion – recruited his Greenberg director, Noah Baumbach, to collaborate on the minimalist script, apparently composed on a paper napkin. But don’t go expecting another Fantastic Mr. Fox, which Baumbach co-wrote with Wes Anderson.
Madagascar 3 is cliche central as the displaced Central Park Zoo animals – voiced by Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer – follow their monkey and penguin companions to Monte Carlo to break the bank and finance their trip home. This amounts to a featurelong chase by a French animal-control officer (Frances McDormand) that leads all the way back to the US.
First, though, the animals try to elude her by buying a travelling circus, allowing DreamWorks Animation to employ Bryan Cranston, Jessica Chastain and Martin Short to voice a tiger, jaguar and sea lion.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted concludes with an interminable Central Park performance that looks like a plug for distributor Paramount’s upcoming Cirque du Soleil movie.
A scene from