Hey! King Julien the Lemur is wearing pink feathers! What happened to his coconut frond crown?
My boys were quick to spot the difference in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted a weekend ago.
That and a few other details which adults couldn't be bothered with. Like how a few of the characters seem to have shrunk in size and height, and how one of the Penguins is shorter than the leader when in other Madagascar series, he was taller.
Young minds can easily pick out changes between movie series especially if they've been following the storylines and characters throughout.
In the first Madagascar, Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) escape from the Central Park Zoo, then find themselves in Africa. With intentions to return to the Big Apple they try to survive in the wilds of Africa in a civilised way, if you will. They try their hardest not to give in to their natural 'wild' instincts because they're "from the city".
I can't remember watching the second one, though.
Part 3's Europe's Most Wanted has the original group again wanting to track the techno friendly Penguins to France so they can all go home.
Once they hit Europe, they find themselves being hunted by a doggedly obsessive Animal Control Officer Captain DuBois (Frances McDormand). The chase leads the group to the train yards where the group joins a troupe of Circus animals in order to get out of the country.
This new mix of animal friends now include a tough Russian knife throwing Tiger named Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), a trapeeze artist cheetah called Gia (Jessica Chastain) as well as a juggling goofy sea lion named Stephano (Martin Short).
The movie maintains the addictive Afro Circus song by Chris Rock "I like to Move it, Move It! which by now, has made an impact in the lives of many children, and of course a Katy Perry song, 'Firework' featured repeatedly during the main circus acts.
All I can say after watching this latest Madagascar is that a major movie-making transformation has taken place.
Apart from the main characters, the addition of new ones spotting very eye catching feline prints as in the Tiger and Cheetah, and the character interactions and costumes, our young audiences will have matured minds somewhat.
Flirty glances and body language between Gia the cheetah and Alex the Lion, King Julien obsessively rubbing up against a giant hairy bear because he is so in love with it? And then saying "Mmmm, hairy back. I like that in a woman."
And then you have the Animal Control Officer character, Captain DuBois as a busty, controlling woman with lusty red lipstick, a huge behind, and a seductive French-like accent. She has a habit of crawling on her hands and knees and sniffing the grounds for animal scents. In one scene where she's doing this, one of her inferior male comrades gets a rough nudge from another fellow officer because he was seemingly checking out her behind.
She even displays her licking skills for a few seconds, in a nearby drain while on her knees. Towards the end of the movie, where she is overpowered by Alex the Lion, she falls to the ground and all we see is her behind (covered of course!) with a tranquiliser sticking out of one butt cheek.
In the circus act scenes, my husband pointed out that Gloria the Hippo's costume looked like a G-string! Goodness!
Watch the movie and see how the blue, frilly piece looks on a hippo, of all animals!
What relevance are these scenes to the movie, we wonder, and why should children even see this?
Unsuspecting sexual innuendos can be pretty uncomfortable when your three-year-old and seven year-old are sitting in front of the screen wide-eyed in anticipation as the movie unfolds.
Throughout the history of film-making, many television shows and movies aimed at a younger audience frequently use innuendos as a way of attracting older viewers without offending their network's censorship.
Maybe that's why Madagascar 3, Europe's Most Wanted is rated PG, and not G.
The first part of the movie was weird. Alex is stuck in his dream and scared to death of how his friends Marty and Gloria the Hippo have aged.
The three talk against an eerie background of smoky grey, blacks and white wispy clouds. The only colour in that scene are a few red and blue balloons in the distance. Alex looks in a huge mirror and sees his reflection, and he too has become old. He screams in horror only to be brought back to reality by Marty through the mirror. The movie takes off from here after he relays his weird dream to Marty.
Again, we see no relevance of that dark and sinister scene which the movie makers thought appropriate to slot in as a kick start to the show.
The movie also features a strange mix of scenes like bleeding eyes - when the sultry Captain DuBoir performs some sort of ressurection ritual for her injured comrades in a hospital room.
She breaks into a hypnotising opera-style song, and they start to break free from their heavily plastered injured legs, arms and faces, and get up from their death beds! As her song comes to an end, she has tears of blood and so does the last soldier to get up.
We can only wonder, what was the significance of that scene?
Emotions run wild when Captain DuBois unrelentlessly stalks the animals, busts through walls like a robot, jumps from skyscraper buildings and swings mid air from a monkey chain hanging from the team's copter, to get at them. With demon-like strength, she is unstoppable.
Then King Julien puts into words the very emotion many viewers would be feeling at this stage, by saying: "Hey, this lady is really starting to freak me out."
Unlike Pixar films that has a little something for everybody, Madagascar 3 does have a few scattered quips here and there to give the older folks a chuckle, like when Captain Dubois gets pelted by banana bullets in wild machine-gun fashion by a monkey, (which she dodges effortlessly by the way!) All the while, the machine-gun wielding monkey cops all the banana bullet extras flying backwards at him, continuously splattering all over his face as he fires away!
Also worth noting is the film's flamboyancy, the explosion of fruity colors and pastel fireworks, pitched to a degree of psychedelic phosphorescence which is just too much.
And all this fiasco to the loud, vibrating sounds of Katy Perry's hit 'Firework'.