- Two-Disc Combo Pack
- BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc / DVD-9 Dual-Layer Disc
- Region Free
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
- English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
- French Dolby Digital 5.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- English SDH
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- DVD-ROM Access
Exclusive HD Content
- Animator's Corner (PiP feature)
- Interactive Game
- Trivia Track
Best Sellers and Deals
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (Blu-ray)
DreamWorks / 2012 / 93 Minutes / Rated PG
Street Date: October 16, 2012
- Offer Details
- List Price: $39.99
- Amazon Price: $26.42 (34%)
- 3rd Party Price: $15.76
- Usually ships in 24 hours
Reviewed by M. Enois Duarte
Friday, October 12, 2012
Picking up directly where the last sequel left off — except there's no mention of Alex's parents — 'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted' is another misadventure with our favorite quartet of runaways from the Central Park Zoo (Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith reprise their familiar roles). Fans of the first two films will find this third installment a satisfying chapter, if not a winning conclusion, to the animals' endless quest of making it back home to New York. Others might think it the same old, same old with several good chuckles sprinkled throughout. Personally, this animated voyage out of Africa through the streets of Monte Carlo Quarter and aboard a circus train is probably the best of the bunch. With a great deal more heart at its center and full of the same colorful charisma as the other two, the script by Eric Darnell, who also serves as co-director, and Noah Baumbach, director of the wonderful 'The Squid and the Whale,' delivers with a heartwarming message of "home is where the heart is."
The filmmakers this time around amp up the energy level, transporting viewers from a mud miniature of New York City to the shores of the French Riviera with a simple scene change. How exactly a lion, a zebra, a giraffe and a hippo covered such a vast distance with King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen), Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) and Mort (Andy Richter) in tow is never explained? (If it was that easy, why not attempt it sooner and save everyone two sequels?) Nevertheless, once there, the group crashes the famed casino and stirs a fiasco that requires the services of a relentless, determined animal control officer, Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand). The frenzied, high-speed chase with a fossil-fuel guzzler and a quintet of red mopeds that soon follows, but also seems to last forever, pretty much sets the dictum for the rest of the movie — a rapid, hurried pace with a spectacular finish.
DuBois's unyielding pursuit of the motley gang is part of the reason the story moves with such haste, forcing them, now with the always charming penguins tagging along, to join a failing circus. The other reason is likely due to the shortened attention span of younger viewers, which I'm sad to report also seems to be working with the adults as well. In either case, the DuBois character is a nice touch balancing mildly suspenseful action pieces with good hearty laughs at her expense. After a silly 'Matrix'-like shootout with bananas, her resolute personality makes her an amusingly interesting villain, if somewhat scary at times, with a hidden marvelous talent for belting out Edith Piaf's "Non, Je ne regrette rien." Her just desserts arrive not only with gratifying results, but also while in the middle of a stupendous extravaganza of color and feats relating to an earlier joke.
The one moment where the story finally stops for a short breather is also an opportunity to flesh out a trio of circus animals dealing with their own problems. The main act is a Siberian tiger named Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), who's developed a form of stage fright after a fiery accident left him hairless. Stefano the Italian sea lion (Martin Short) doesn't really have much talent, but his cheerful desire to entertain leads him to discover his real passion of being shot out of a canon, which as it turns out is also Marty's (Rock) passion. Gia the jaguar (Jessica Chastain) doesn't seem to have any issues but is an overly confident and protective feline that soon becomes Alex's love interest. Our heroes' time with the circus is one gag after another, delivered at lightning speed, while the subplot of financial woes and following one's heart slowly comes to light.
Like many of the CG-animated movies from DreamWorks, the 'Madagascar' films don't pose much of a challenge to the excellence of Pixar, although 'Cars 2' and to some degree 'Brave' has me sometimes rethinking that sentiment. Nonetheless, the studio has continuously being churning out plenty of entertaining yarns, and this latest installment to the popular franchise is no different, offering an unexpected yet substantial twist to the gang's journey home. I was already enjoying the splendid visuals and lighthearted humor (Marty's afro-circus gag just cracks me up) before Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are suddenly allowed a different point of view of their former concrete home, followed by the dispiriting effects of their return. It all ends with a feast for the eyes spectacle that brings a smile and a feeling of everything coming full circle, finally discovering the home the quartet has being searching for.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Paramount Home Entertainment brings 'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted' to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with an UltraViolet Digital Copy and a glossy cardboard slipcover. The first disc is a Region Free, BD50 while the other is a DVD-9 copy sitting comfortable on the opposing panel. The 2D package comes with Marty's Rainbow Wig in a separate box, just in time for Halloween. At startup, viewers can enjoy a skippable trailer and a couple promos before switching to a standard main menu with music and full-motion clips.
'Madagascar 3' puts on the greatest show ever with this stunning, reference quality 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode. The 1.78:1 image is simply jaw-dropping from start to finish with razor-sharp lines in Alex's mane, the baroque architecture of the Monte Carlo casino and the rope holding the circus tent tightly together. I was most taken aback by the lifelike texture around the faces of many characters, particularly during close-ups. Individual hairs sway and move with impressive realism, and Captain DuBois's uniform is distinct with visible threading and stitching. The most trivial detail, tiny nuance or particularity in the background is as sharply-defined as any object in the foreground, and minor blemishes like the rust on the airplane or the smallest scratch on the train cars are plainly perceptible.
The rest of the high-def transfer is a dazzling feast for the eyes, full of vibrant colors that never sway. Primaries are sumptuous with vividly rich saturation, giving the movie an energized, happily-go-lucky feel that's consistent right from the first opening moments. Secondary pastel hues are also brimming with a boldness that further add to the story's lighthearted humor and gives each character a life of their own. Contrast is right on the money and crisp with shiny, bright whites everywhere, making the video leap out of the screen. Black levels are inky and luxuriant with spotless gradations between the lighter and darker portions. The big circus act after a bit of Alex's training, as well as the grand finale at the zoo, are the highlights which best demonstrate the quality of the picture - an extensive mixture of blacks, neon colors, shadow details and ultra-high contrast.
Aside from one barely perceptible and easily forgivable moment of banding (during the finale at the zoo), this final entry in the franchise is simply fantastic.
The previous two movies hit Blu-ray with great soundtracks, but never really presented much of a challenge to one's audio system. This third installment finally changes that with a splendid, demo-worthy Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track that serves as the perfect complement to the jaw-dropping video. The rears are used often for ambient effects, like the soothing sounds of the wilderness, the bustling noise of the city or the excited cheers of spectators. Panning and directionality are flawless, creating a marvelously immersive 360° soundfield. Once again, the circus acts are a terrific highlight as characters fly overhead, fireworks explode in the back of the room or objects whiz by on either side of the listener.
Imaging is immaculate with fluid movement between the channels, generating a broad soundstage with excellently discrete off-screen effects. Dynamics are expansive and far-reaching, defining the highs and mids with perfect crystal clarity. This is most appreciable during the action sequences as an assortment of sounds is employed to keep things entertaining and exciting. The low-end is generally of the mid-bass variety, but it's full-bodied and persuasive with plenty of nice hearty moments. Dialogue is well-prioritized and intelligible amid the chaos and laughter, making this a highly-engaging and fun lossless mix.
Supplemental materials are shared with the day-and-date DVD release.
- Audio Commentary — Directors Eric Darnell, Conrad Vernon and Tom McGrath talking about the film's production, sharing much of the same information that can be better enjoyed in the PiP track. They focus on the story, characters and the overall process of the animation work. It's actually quite detailed and informative, but still, it's much easier and more entertaining to see what they're talking about in the other commentary track.
- Big Top Cast (HD, 14 min) — A discussion with cast & crew about the characters and how voice personalities bring them to life.
- Mad Music Mash-up (HD, 1 min) — Basically, a promo montage with clips from the movie while the theme song plays in the background.
- Deleted Scenes (HD) — With brief filmmaker introductions, three incomplete sequences are collected here and don't add much to the final cut.
- Circus Acts — Only available on the DVD disc and requiring a DVD-ROM, allowing kids to print some fun activities from the movie's website.
- Trailers (HD) — A collection of previews to other CG-animated films from the studio, including a promo for a videogame.
- Sneak Peek (1080i/60, 20 min) — The piece takes viewers behind-the-scenes on the production of the 'How to Train Your Dragon' live show. With interviews of the crew, creature designers and actors, several cool clips of the show are interspersed with a closer look at the animatronics with discussions on how it all came together.
For this Blu-ray edition of 'Madagascar 3,' Paramount puts together a nice set of high-def exclusives, including a DVD, UltraViolet Digital Copy and the colorful Rainbow Wig.
- The Animators' Corner (HD) — A PiP commentary track that plays in the bottom right corner while watching the movie. Directors Tom McGrath, Eric Darnell and Conrad Vernon talk extensively about the production at various stages, working with voice actors, the characters and a whole lot more. Concept art, storyboards, pre-viz videos and BTS footage of the animators at work are also included, allowing viewers a unique glance of how the entire film came together. It's a wonderfully fascinating track, packed with information and making a great excuse to watch the movie again.
- Trivia Track — While watching the movie, fun film facts pop-up at the bottom of the screen.
- Get Them to the Train (HD) — An interactive game where users match the animal to their individual train car. Then, a canon must be aimed to shoot the character inside.
- Ringmasters (HD, 15 min) — Starring the three directors, the piece shows a one-day-in-the-production tour, giving viewers an idea of what's it like working on an animated film.
- Madagascar 3 Roundtable (HD, 4 min) — Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith sit on circus-decorated set and chat about their experience working on all three films.
No easter eggs reported for 'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted' yet. Found an egg? Please use our tips form to let us know, and we'll credit you with the find.
Finally bringing the journey back home full circle, 'Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted' is a hilarious eye-dazzler, bursting with energy and a great deal of heart. Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith reprise their roles and make a few new friends in Martin Short, Bryan Cranston, Jessica Chastain and Frances McDormand. It's a fun new addition to the quartet's misadventures back to New York and arguably the best of the franchise. The Blu-ray arrives with reference quality video and a spectacular audio presentation. Supplements are shared with its DVD counterpart, but a few new exclusives make this high-def edition of the movie highly recommended.
All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about our gear.
Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.