'Madagascar 3': What the Critics Are Saying
It’s a good weekend to run wild. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is poised to edge out Ridley Scott’s Prometheus for the weekend's top spot with a projected $61 million haul.
But was the threequel from DreamWorks Animation and Paramount as successful with the critics?
The latest installment of the billion dollar-grossing franchise sees escaped New York City zoo animals lion Alex (Ben Stiller), zebra Marty (Chris Rock), giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) and hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) join a European circus to evade the villainous animal-control cop Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand).
With a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score of 76%, the film received plenty of praise for its sprawling voice cast and bright visuals.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Todd McCarthy, however, found the series was offering diminishing returns with the film. “It’s dominated by the characters shouting over one another, repetitively reacting with alarm to anything that happens and overcompensating for largely unfunny material by overacting by about 300 percent,” McCarthy wrote. He also complained the "wit and sophistication" co-screenwriter Noah Baumbach helped bring to Fantastic Mr. Fox was hard to detect here.
USA Today’s Claudia Puig concluded that contrary to the saying, the third time was not the charm for this series. Like McCarthy, she complained about the one-note tone (frenzy) the film struck. She advised that if there is a Madagascar 4, “the filmmakers [should] allow the critters to slow down and enjoy the journey" to their next destination.
New York Times critic Andy Webster didn’t mind the film’s over-the-top antics, writing that while the humor was familiar, the visuals “soar.”
“A Monte Carlo chase is vertiginously madcap; a Cirque du Soleil-style spectacle dazzles with rich pastels,” he wrote. “Kids will be stimulated. And, parents, you’ll enjoy the sights.”
In her Los Angeles Times review, Betsy Sharkey praised the film’s use of 3-D, which she opined took viewers to “dizzying extremes” during circus scenes.
“The animation artistry of "Madagascar 3" is at its best under the big top, all cotton candy fluff and razzle dazzle,” Sharkey wrote. “The character development of this edition is the best of the rest as well.”