These are the only words you need to know about “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” the latest sequel for the cartoon franchise. As with movies one and two, the quartet of animals (lion, zebra, hippo and giraffe) are still trying to get home to New York City and the zoo they know as home.
Unfortunately, the foursome is stuck in Monte Carlo with little hope of getting across Europe much less getting to America. Until……….the opportunity to hide among a lesser known circus troupe takes shape. The once spectacular circus has fallen on hard times but it is an ideal place for the animals and their penguin escorts to hide.
The story follows Alex (Ben Stiller), the lion; Marty (Chris Rock), the zebra; Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), the hippo; and Melman (David Schwimmer), the giraffe as they cross Europe to a London show , where they are assured by the circus animals that a special promoter will send them across the ocean to New York. Giving chase is ultra-animalist Chantel Dubois, voiced by Frances Dormand, who wants the lion’s head to complete her collection.
The chase scene which sets up the trip across Europe is an excellent piece of animation and storytelling. It is fun; it is daring and it is extreme. Of course, our heroes elude Dubois and her posse to start the trip to London and to consider what must be done to make the plan work. The result is an incredible ‘Madagascar’ style circus act that dazzles the senses………..this is easily the best part of the movie!
But the rest isn’t shabby either. Besides the main plot, storylines of passion, dreams, pride and unity all connect and then mesh with the plotline. It is very well done and is entertaining because of it. The studio, Dreamworks, is quickly becoming the ‘go-to’ maker of great animation.
Of course, those hilarious flightless birds, the penguins, are perfect. Their dialogue and actions are so funny, you’ll forget everyone else in the scene. And Sacha Baron Cohen is back as King Julian, the lemur who things he owns the world literally. There is a special subplot with him and a circus animal that you just have to see for yourself! Funny! Funny! Funny!
Directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath have taken the script by Darnell and Noah Baumbach and put a great idea on the screen. Among the new circus animals is a female jaguar, voiced by Jessica Chastain, who is the soul of the circus. Chastain does the role justice and is funny in her own right.
“Madagascar 3: EMW” is a 93 minute film that is rated PG for mild action and rude humor. It was number one at the box office for the two weeks it has been out. Its budget is $145 but it has made that back already.
There aren’t too many sure movies out there, but the animals of ‘Madagascar’ are one of them. The ending is satisfying and the music is great as well. As one of the penguins might say, “That is music to my ears.’
A movie about the invention of the vibrator……..that isn’t porn?!!! And a movie about the invention of the vibrator that is good?! Wow!
This is what we have in the new film, “Hysteria,” a comedy with serious ramifications. This movie does what good ones do; it takes its subject seriously, but knows that a light hearted attitude makes the story go easier.
The true story of Dr. Mortimer Granville, inventor of what has become the modern day vibrator, has been used and literary license has been taken. Yet, the basis of the story remains intact. The added love story, which is a subplot, is good whether true or not.
Hugh Dancy portrays Granville with the classic reserved British attitude. The setting is Victorian England in the 1880s (Yes, the vibrator goes back that far!) and the medical profession there is at wit’s end to understand ‘Hysteria,’ a more than common female malady of the upper class. (And as it turns out……all the other classes of females, too!)
Granville wants to make a contribution to medical science during his career. He has a charitable streak, but realizes the only way to make a living is as an actual doctor. So, when an opportunity to work in a practice exclusively treating Hysteria presents itself, Granville doesn’t hesitate. But he quickly discovers that the treatment and diagnosis of the malady is lacking.
The plot is funny as Granville comes to this realization. It takes his good friend and wealthy benefactor, Edmund St. John Smythe, to help the good doctor realize what must be done. Luckily, St. John Smythe is both an ‘electrician’ and a ‘sexual deviant!’ Rupert Everett plays St. John Smythe with a whimsical flair and a determined attitude. His isn’t the biggest part in the film, but his is important enough to be necessary. The actor playing him needs to be good to make the story work; and Everett is more than ‘good’ in the role.
The love story is a bit of a triangle between two sisters (daughters of Granville’s employer, Dr. Robert Dalrymple) and Granville. He is more interested in Emily (Felicity Jones), which pleases the employer as it allows him to marry off his daughter to a doctor. But Granville is intrigued by Charlotte, the operator of a charitable house, which is all the elder Dalrymple hates. The beginning of the film sets up this ‘triangle’ well and it all flows to its inevitable conclusion, but you’ll want to see how it happens anyway………
Maggie Gyllenhaal is wonderful as Charlotte. She is the best actor in the film; although her part isn’t the basis of the story. I love her energy in this role and her passion comes out just as Charlotte’s would. It’s no wonder that Granville was ‘intrigued’ by the elder daughter. Jonathan Pryce plays Dr. Dalrymple with the correct stodginess while Sheridan Smith plays Molly, a prostitute turned housekeeper in the Dalrymple household. She is great in this small role; just the right amount of comic relief with serious realism.
Howard Grensler wrote the original story and husband-wife screenwriters, Stephen and Jonah Lisa Dyer, put together a good screenplay. Director Tanya Wexler has an eye for the comic in the serious situation. She also has a great sense of setting and costume as the screen is full of Victorian England in every detail; right down to the accents.
This 100 minute film is rated R for obvious reasons………..sexual content! Catch some of Rupert Everett’s scenes with the newly invented telephone and the film’s subject: Funny! And stay for the credits; the producers have fun with them.
Questions of class, medical necessity and women’s sexual fulfillment are also included in this ‘comedy’ about the vibrator. All are done seamlessly within the story and are appropriate to the action. The ‘pelvic massage’ technique used by British doctors of the time was the only ‘treatment’ for Hysteria, which included anything that the doctors couldn’t understand! Given the thought process at that time, female desires weren’t even considered as possible. You’ll be glad to know that the medical community took “hysteria” out of the DSM in 1952; and women weren’t ‘hysterical’ anymore…………..!
The film opened in November in Russia, but didn’t start in America until June 8. It is currently showing at the Dallas and Plano Angelika Film Centers. I saw it with an audience of 40 people…..only seven men though! I recommend you men seeing it with women, you will learn so much more………….
All I have left to say about this movie is, “Oh, Look, Ducks…………!”