A sharp script and especially colourful imagery make this animated romp a lot more fun than expected, entertaining grown-ups just as much as the kids. It may be the usual frantic action comedy, but there's an edge to the humour and a continual stream of knowing gags and witty references that keep us laughing. As a result, the busy plot is surprisingly involving, and the action scenes are genuinely thrilling.
It opens in outer space with the Boov, a race of blobby creatures that are only good at one thing: running away from their sworn enemy the Gorg. Their leader Captain Smek (Steve Martin) has selected Earth as their next hiding place, so they swoop in and corral mankind into Happy Humantowns in the Australian Outback while the Boov occupy the cities, hilariously trying to make sense of everything they find there. But a Boov named Oh (Jim Parsons) sticks out from the hive-like community. Friendlier and more curious than he should be, he inadvertently alerts the Gorg to their location. So he goes on the run, meeting up with the human teen girl Tip (Rihanna), who has managed to hide out with her chubby cat Pig and now wants to find her mother (Jennifer Lopez). Pursued by Smek and top cop Kyle (Matt Jones), Oh and Tip must dart around the globe to solve both of their predicaments.
Based on Adam Rex's novel The True Meaning of Smekday, the story is packed with lively twists and turns, and the filmmakers bring it to life with energy, humour and some real emotion. The animators pull out all the stops as they play with outrageous colours and eye-catching action, while the Boov's ability to selectively control gravity adds plenty of scope for additional mayhem. For example, Oh and Tip travel the globe in a car that Oh soups up Back to the Future-style so they can fly to Boov central command in Paris and then on to Australia. These kinds of knowing film references flit across the screen all the way through their adventure.
Continue reading: Home Review
Instead of developing the characters or situations for comedy gold, the filmmakers instead just crank up the chaos. So while some scenes are both funny and visually impressive, this second sequel is simply too inane to make us hope there will be a part 4. Very young kids may be distracted by the hectic pacing and hyperactive characters, but everyone else will quickly be bored by the nonstop mayhem, simply because there's nothing interesting going on.
Anxious lion Alex (Stiller), chatty zebra Marty (Rock), nerdy giraffe Melman (Schwimmer) and silly hippo Gloria (Smith) are living a Lion King-style existence in Africa, although their only hope for escape has just flown away. Namely, the brainy penguins and their monkey assistants. So our heroes follow them to Monaco, where they all end up on the run from the notorious animal control agent Dubois (McDormand). They run straight into a failing circus, which they set out to bring back to its glory days so they can catch the eye of an American promoter and go home to New York. To do this means working with the current circus acts: sultry cheetah Gia (Chastain), dorky sea lion Stefano (Short) and tetchy tiger Vitaly (Cranston).
The circus premise lets the filmmakers have a lot of visual fun with the characters, most notably in a riotously colourful Cirque du Soleil-on-acid performance in London. But the plot makes no sense at all (if they can get to Monaco, surely they could get to New York, right?), and there are so many new characters that the central quartet feels almost sidelined. Especially since they've also wedged in an under-developed romance for the lemur king (Baron Cohen). Yes, it's all over the place, and being busy is not the same thing as being clever or funny.
Continue reading: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Review
After being stranded on the tiny, titular African island, our four heroes -- egomaniacal lion Alex (Ben Stiller), hypochondriac giraffe Melmen (David Schwimmer), smart alecky zebra Marty (Chris Rock), and lovelorn hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) -- are finally headed home. On a junk airplane refurbished by those pesky penguins, self-proclaimed King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen), along with his right-hand advisor Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) will take the quartet back to New York. Of course, things don't go as planned, and everyone ends up in the middle of a wildlife preserve in Africa. There, Alex meets up with his dad (Bernie Mac), mom (Sherrie Shepherd), and conniving Uncle Makunga (Alec Baldwin). When the fun-loving feline fails at the tribe's right of passage, however, it's clear these big city critters need to get back to Manhattan, and fast.
Continue reading: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Review
The horse in question we come to know as Spirit, leader of the cimarron herd and a victim of his own curiosity. An unnecessary trip down to a cowboy campground earns Spirit a pair of lassos around his neck for his troubles, and the rough riders turn the reluctant buck over to the Army for labor.
Continue reading: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Review
Of course, there are worst ways to spend your Memorial Day weekend than to share in the adventures of four wild animals at the Central Park Zoo. The zoo's star, Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller), is a headlining lion who loves being the limelight. His best friend, Marty (Chris Rock), a zebra, yearns to go beyond the zoo's walls and return to the wild. At the duo's side is boisterous, level-headed hippo, Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and hypochondriac giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer).
Continue reading: Madagascar Review
Based ever-so-loosely on Sinbad's literary escapades, the film shows our courageous thief (voiced by Brad Pitt) in pursuit of the mystical Book of Peace. When mischievous goddess Eris (voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer) steals the book from Proteus (voiced by Joseph Fiennes), she frames Sinbad for her crime. Now the self-centered rogue and his stowaway love interest, Marina (voiced by Catherine Zeta-Jones), must reclaim the book from the Realm of Chaos to prove Sinbad's innocence and spare Proteus' life at the hands of an executioner.
Continue reading: Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas Review
The horse in question we come to know as Spirit, leader of the Cimmaron herd and a victim of his own curiosity. An unnecessary trip down to a cowboy campground earns Spirit a pair of lassos around his neck for his troubles, and the rough riders turn the reluctant buck over to the Army for labor.
Continue reading: Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron Review
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