Book Review: The Art of Madagascar 3
The circus, always pursued by Dubois and her comedy-relief minions, goes to Rome, ending its tour in London before leaving for America. The art book shows the stylized, beautiful “sets” the DreamWorks artists have created for those cities and the circus train’s passage through the Alps, plus some for cities like Athens, Moscow, and Paris that were dropped from the movie. During the long journey, the Zoosters reinvent themselves as circus animals – Alex, of course, is a ringmaster; Marty, who has always dreamed of flying, works up a “shot out of a cannon” act; Melman tries to become a high-wire walker – and reinvigorate the Circus Zaragosa animals to take pride in themselves and become a stellar circus once again. Alex and the others return triumphantly to New York, where they find that nothing has changed – but they have. Will they be content to remain in the Zoo? DreamWorks clearly does not want to say that this is the final feature in the franchise. Further sequels are vaguely hinted at but nothing is promised.
In keeping with its status as a full-color art book (and publicity), there are minimal black-&-white storyboards and no photos of voice actors, even the stars – or anything that might spoil the mood of adulation at how great Madagascar 3 is. The Art of Madagascar 3 immerses the reader in the story and cast of the film. For those who are interested in how a modern CGI animated feature is made, the book is informative; there is plenty of “old-fashioned” 2D production art before the animators begin the CGI process. But this book is mainly for the fans of the movie. It successfully makes Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman feel like the reader’s old friends who have returned for one more – and hopefully not the last – visit.
Fred Patten has been a fan of animation since the first theatrical rerelease of Pinocchio (1945). He co-founded the first American fan club for Japanese anime in 1977, and was awarded the Comic-Con International's Inkpot Award in 1980 for introducing anime to American fandom. He began writing about anime for Animation World Magazine since its #5, August 1996. A major stroke in 2005 sidelined him for several years, but now he is back. He can be reached at email@example.com.