Even though the Madagascar film franchise has been one of the highest grossing movies of all time, people still wonder what happened to Tim Burton's brilliant idea of a fun and entertaining animated adventure. The original Madagascar was an enormous commercial success worldwide, but the third film in the series, titled Madagascar: Escape to King Kinkhorn's Farm, was quickly panned by critics and audiences alike (even those who loved the film thought it was a bad idea). With a new sequel on the way, here are some of the things we already know about the new Madagascar.
Youngster Alex Cross is sent to King Kinkhorn's Farm by his parents, Dr. Cross (Philippe Sellan) and Mrs. Cross (Sophie Waynick), who suspect him of being a mutant. When he refuses to go on the trip, they send him to the lab, where he's put in a microscopic glass jar. There, he's forced to share his own body with a green, talking lion named Layla (Simone Healthman). Because Alex is so used to his micro-life inside the jar, he struggles when he realizes that he's going to be separated from his friends.
Alex's quest to find out more about his past begins when he sneaks into the lab and sneaks onto the grounds, where he runs into an attentive scientist named Jill Valentine (Anne Hathaway). Though she welcomes him on behalf of the government, he is suspicious of her motives. As the two begin to bicker, the other scientists begin to look for a way to open the jar, which leads them to mutating a frog. The scientist's theory is that if the amphibian can be made to mate with an adult human, he could produce a child with a human soul - the same theory that the Madagascar Monster was born from.
Alex, Jill, and Layla find themselves in a jungle surrounded by strange animals - including an evil snake - who seem to be out to get them. Their only escape route is an air-conditioned tunnel where they can climb up and across to safety. But the arrival of an unexpected guest - an impostor posing as a mermaid - sparks a series of events that will change everyone's lives. This is a highly entertaining film that provides the viewers with some laughs and suspense - just what you'd expect from a Madagascar movie.
Michael Bay has directed three Madagascar movies (The Island, Madagascar 3 and finally M Madagascar). His distinctive style of filmmaking has led to several loyal fans among film critics. In all of these films, he uses a similar style of producing - lots of explosions, car crashes, and chain-reaction car combat. Some of the set-pieces are even reminiscent of the original cartoon, with lions charging across the screen, only to be knocked down by an avalanche of fireballs. Though the fighting sequences in this latest version have more of a 'people on the edge of annihilation' feel to them, the story and main characters still have the same effect.
Of course, like any other blockbuster movie, you're going to come away looking for more of the same in Madagascar. That's what makes this movie more enjoyable. You get a whole spectrum of emotions - some funny, some sad, others angry. Watching the progress of the plot, and seeing how everything comes together, is a very rewarding experience. The real strength of the film, however, is its incorporation of humor into the overall storyline.
With the exception of a brief introduction in which Dr. Zana describes her research in depth, the rest of the movie is dedicated to humor. The humor is well-placed and manages to remain on the humorous side without becoming over the top. Michael Bay also does a good job of keeping the character of Alex, played by Ellen DeGeneres, as a likeable figure. (The audience might not totally agree with what she's doing, but she's always presented as a loving mother who wants nothing more than for her son to have a successful life.)
Overall, Madagascar is a fun and entertaining film, that leaves you craving for more of the same. Though the ending isn't completely unique, it is worth watching the trailers for to see if you can get more of the comedy from the film. If you like comedy, and like the Madagascar movies, you'll definitely want to see this one. The reviews are positive, and the picture quality looks great. What more could you ask for?