Posts Tagged ‘Madagascar’

You’ll Warm to This: Ice Age 4

June 27, 2012

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An Active3D Review: Ice Age 4 3-D: Continental Drift
Rating: **** (out of 5)

The guys at Fox Animation are really giving Dreamworks’ animators a good run for their money, with a franchise to run neck-and-neck with the Madagascar movies. The Pixar team should also be looking over their shoulders, even though the Ice Age series fails to deliver the emotional meat of most Pixar movies (and here I exclude Pixar’s Cars films, which I believe come in well below that studio’s standards).

Prepare yourself for dramatic continental drift, avalanches, and rising and falling land masses, as the continents as we know them today are formed before our very eyes. (How the process is triggered, I shan’t reveal.) Through all of this geographical upheaval, a group of animals struggles to keep together and stay alive. Cue heaps of comic action, thrown in with some inter-‘personal’ dynamics (i.e. a daddy mammoth who’s having difficulty accepting the fact that his daughter has grown into a young lady, plus the unrequited love of a furry little burrowing creature).

Then we have the crowd favourite, Scrat, who is, as always, in the pathetic pursuit of the ultimate acorn high. Into this crazily uneven mix, the creators of this wild adventure have also tossed a bizarre helping of Greek mythology, which is bound to thrill the academics… and possibly puzzle those who haven’t stopped over at Greek mythology 101. Those amongst us whose cultural references are somewhat more lowbrow, can look forward to an amusing little homage to that overrated, kilt-infested Mel Gibson epic, Braveheart.

The prehistoric escapades are rounded off with a tragicomic moral fable that left me quite stunned – impressive and surprisingly dramatic; though I’m not quite sure how it sits with the accompanying insanity. (But I’m not giving anything away!)

Special mention needs to be given to Wanda Sykes for her lively and endearing vocal performance of a granny sloth who becomes the prima buffo of the piece. She finds herself in the company of other fine actors, such as Peter Dinklage, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah, and John Leguizamo.

Ice Age 4’s overall entertainment value and likeable ensemble cast largely override its somewhat patchy conceptualisation. Really; it’s a fun ride.

AND HERE’S A BONUS: the film is preceded by a hilarious and heart-warming 3-D Simpsons cartoon, which stars a largely overlooked character; Maggie, the youngest member of that celebrated TV family. This pre-feature surprise is worth the price of admission alone!

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MAD!…agascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

June 15, 2012

An Active3D Review

 



Rating: ****½ stars (out of 5)

Forget about logic and a serious narrative thread, and join the now-familiar displaced New York zoo-dwellers as they follow their friends and ex-zoomates, those irrepressible penguins, to Monte Carlo. How a lion, hippo, zebra and giraffe get from an island near the southern tip of Africa to the French Riviera, is anyone’s guess – but that sets the tone for the movie that follows: just go with it.

From the Euro-glamour of Monte Carlo to the breathtaking excitement of the Big Top, the film offers grand adventure and gleeful, colourful comedy. The relentless barrage of verbal jokes – of the laugh-out-loud variety – is largely targeted at grown-up audiences, whilst the physical comedy romps shamelessly across age barriers. And the 3-D is such that we get yanked into the non-stop action. If I had any quibble, it would be that the pace is unflaggingly frenetic, so I found myself running out of stamina before the film did… but hey; rather exit exhausted than bored!

My advice: scoop up friends and family members of all ages, and head for the closest 3-D cinema that’s screening this latest Dreamworks escapade.

And here’s a bit of box office trivia that will have fans of family entertainment applauding: Madagascar 3 opened at Number One in the USA; $10million ahead of its direct competitor, Prometheus!