Madagascar 3: Europe’s most wanted
Direction: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath & Conrad Vernon
Voices: Ben Stiller, Frances McDormand
Rating: *** 1/2
The third installment of the computer-animated comedy is arguably the most enjoyable of the series. Following their escapades in America and Africa, the four animal pals now add a third continent to their travels.
The screenplay takes a little time to gather momentum — the early scenes between the savannah-stranded quartet aren’t engaging enough — but once they join a circus troupe in Europe, that’s the cue for the director trio to unleash their riotous imagination.
This time around, the pampered lion (voiced with gusto by Stiller), zebra (Chris Rock), hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and giraffe (David Schwimmer) are desperately trying to make it back home to the zoo in Manhattan.
The narrative is embellished with a slew of new characters, the zaniest of whom is the French animal-control officer (delightfully dubbed by McDormand, who even belts out Edith Piaf’s signature song, No, I have no regrets).
The rest of the diverse menagerie includes a spirited jaguar (Jessica Chastian) and a flamboyant lemur monarch (Sacha Baron Cohen) whose romance with a tricycle-riding bear is a comic treat. The final circus acts are dazzling displays of visual exuberance.
It is heartening to note that Mahesh Ramasubramanian, an artist of Indian origin, is the visual effects supervisor. In addition, local talent is utilised in the various technical departments.
All seen and savoured, Madagascar 3… makes for a richly rewarding 3D experience.