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The power of three

June 24, 2012

As the furry cast of Madagascar 3 run around the world, a blurry fact becomes obvious: not everyone is Pixar. The animated feature hammers in an important point: if you don’t have a good story, don’t make it. In a summer packed of warring release dates, this sassily-animated feature already feels redundant, similar to Over the Hedge — another lost DreamWorks product with animals doing Mission: Impossible bits.

Here, the cast has a different source of motivation: the Cirque Du Soleil. It is a neon-glowing spectacle of lights and razzmatazz that happens at the end of the film’s second act. When the film reaches that point, the screenplay brings out one of its important plot elements: a ring-jumping tiger’s return of confidence. The tiger named Vitaly (voiced by Bryan Cranston) is part of the circus that the actual stars of the film — the militaristic Penguins — buy in order to mask their identities and travel back to New York.

As Madagascar 3 runs forward, our principal cast (Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer) manage to elude Monaco’s animal control officers in a dizzying chase across the city that results in a lot of public property damage. The animal control chief is Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), who wants the animal’s head as trophies!

DuBois has a set of high cheekbones resting on a pointy manic-looking face. It serves a purpose: it tells us that she is despicable. During the film she hunts the cast from Monaco to the Swiss Alps to Rome, London and New York.

Madagascar 3 also features two romantic side stories. One with Alex and a lively jaguar named Gia (Jessica Chastain) and another with Sasha Baron Cohen’s lemur and a female grizzly.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is rated PG-13 and is currently playing in cinemas across Pakistan. — Mohammad Kamran Jawaid