So here we are, writing up Madagascar 3, the movie that isn’t Prometheus. I get why it won. It was the safe kids movie while Prometheus was the edgy sci-fi thriller. Prometheus would have needed everything to go perfectly and the word of mouth turned against them. On Saturday morning they were projected to win and that projection missed the actual number by $18 million. I was disappointed (although that was tempered by the barrage of confused and angry Facebook posts) but I was willing to give Madagascar 3 a real chance. I wasn’t entirely disappointed.
While this wasn’t the movie I was psyched for that isn’t to say there are no redeeming things to take from a movie like Madagascar 3. The brief bits in New York are stunningly accurate geographically. I went to temple along Central Park East and you can see that building in the background of many of the zoo scenes. They also nailed the clock outside of the petting zoo. Sure they made it not a petting zoo but it’s so much more detail than I imagined this movie would bother with. In general I believed that this lion was a New Yorker and that takes some definite skill in movie making. I can’t deny that.
I was very fortunate to find an expert in the Madagascar franchise as my companion this week. Jen Kreuger from PrePopCulture had seen the first two movies and, while she couldn’t remember very clearly what happened in which movie, she was great at filling in the really shockingly complicated setting. I’m not kidding. Penguins are master criminals, giraffes have sex with hippos, and no one freaks out too much when a loading barge full of zoo animals stages a daring rescue in a zoo. I also feel like fans of the series might be disappointed as there are several characters that get almost nothing to do. Maybe that’s not a factor for a kids movie but if I liked that little squirrel-thing with the big eyes I would be super-pissed that he barely has lines.
This might be sour grapes but I’m glad I didn’t end up seeing Prometheus. It’s gotten a very mixed response from sic-fi friends of mine and I’m a little relieved I don’t have to spend my day breaking it down and overanalyzing it. In a few months when it comes out on DVD I can watch it without the burden of the hype machine or the outsized presence of it being “the prequel to Alien.” and free from having to pick a side in a nerd-rage battle. I think it’ll be, in all, a better experience. At least that’s the lie I’m telling myself, I hope you’ll help me with that.