Beyond the usual live-action blockbusters, this summer will also bring us a couple of animated family features that look promising. First comes the next adventure for the zoo animals trying to make their way back home to New York. After that is the latest from Pixar Studios. I’m pretty certain to enjoy one, while I’m not so sure about the other yet.
‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’
I must confess that I actually enjoy the ‘Madagascar’ movies, even as my daughter has grown away from them. (Teenagers! What can you do?) They don’t match the quality of Pixar or the better DreamWorks catalog of animated features, but they’re light entertainment with several good chuckles sprinkled throughout. This next installment sees the lion, zebra, hippo and giraffe make a third attempt to get back to New York, but land in Monte Carlo instead while chased by an unrelenting animal control agent. Again, it’s light amusement with many belly-laughs to enjoy. C’mon, you gotta love the Afro circus bit. That’s hilarious.
Pixar animated films usually leave me with a tingling sensation of excitement, a desire to witness what else the studio can conjure up next. However, the newest release somehow doesn’t create that warm fuzzy feeling I normally get. Without doubt, the feature still looks very imaginative and likely to entertain, yet something about the animation feels familiar and the story second-rate. The plot is much too similar to the excellent ‘Whale Rider’ indie drama, only set in a historical-fantasy context. I still trust that Pixar will deliver another astounding success, and hope the preview simply fails to convey that properly. We’ll just have to wait and see this June.
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