The years-long save-the-world plot, poignant near-future setting, and infinite themes both heady and heartfelt are all undeniably epic and compelling, and while the exposition weighs quite heavy at times (see the repeat of the ghost revelation), it doesn’t stop the film from reaching many incredible cinematic heights both emotional (see the devastating return from Miller’s planet) and action-oriented (see the spinning dock sequence), helped as it is by stunning visuals, music, and performances.
The Madagascar animals join a struggling European circus to get back to New York, but find themselves being pursued by a psychotic animal control officer. (IMDb)
More entertaining than ever: The increased “fish out of water” animals vs. humans antics make for loads of hilarious action set pieces (see the insane truck then plane escape from Monte Carlo), the goofy one-off bits are taken to another level (see DuBois’ rousing French song; Rock’s gut-busting Afro-circus bit), and the new circus setting provides two infectious feel-good musical numbers. The plot, meanwhile, continually takes wonderfully unexpected turns (see the poignant return to the zoo).
7.5/10 (Really Good)
An astronaut becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. (IMDb)
A skimming over of emotions and the consequences of time (particularly with the crew’s decision to go back) are the only standout flaws in this exhilarating thriller featuring a fast-paced back-and-forth between satisfying survival science-ing on Mars (Damon’s Mark adds a wry wit to the proceedings) and tense rescue-planning on Earth (a refreshingly diverse cast shines here). Any lack of suspense in the quickly solved conflicts of the first half is made up for in the nail-biting climax.