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Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
  • Composed by Hans Zimmer
  • Interscope Records / 2012 / 38:39 (score 17:36)

DreamWorks Animation’s popular Madagascar series continues with Europe’s Most Wanted, its third theatrically-released instalment.  Even by this studio’s standards I thought the pop culture jabs and snarks of the first film were pretty scurrilous stuff, so haven’t revisited the franchise since then, but evidently it’s very popular with the kids.  Hans Zimmer’s received solo musical billing for all of the films and again his name is the only one on the front of this album, but of the seventeen and a half minutes of score, much is quotes of other people’s music (for “comedy” value) and the rest seems to have actually been written by his underlings Lorne Balfe, Tom Holkenborg and Stephen Hilton, all credited with “additional music”.  The balance of the brief album is made up of songs, ranging from the completely objectionable quartet of movie versions of modern pop tunes by actor Danny Jacobs through to a nice new song by Peter Asher, “Love Always Comes as a Surprise” and the perfect pop of Katy Perry’s “Firework”.

There are five score cues.  “New York City Surprise” sounds like an instrumental Elton John song, but with incredibly cheap arrangements and recording.  “Game On” goes through a medley of music either by or in the style of others (including John Williams’s Jaws and nods to John Barry and Henry Mancini) before leading into the pretty enjoyable main theme.  “Light the Hoop on Fire!” is a nice 90s-style Media Ventures piece with the deep male choir recalling Crimson Tide etc.  “Fur Power!” is a set of variations on Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1.  Far and away the best track is the action finale, “Rescue Stefano”, finally offering something really worth listening to.  It begins with a lovely string theme before passing into the tunefully heroic action.  It’s terrific and definitely worth getting that one track; a real shame the rest of the score doesn’t live up to it.  Quite who the rest of the album’s meant to appeal to I’m not sure – its curious mix of awful versions of decent songs, decent original recordings of songs and score which spends much of its time referencing other music just doesn’t work.  **

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  1. Jonathan Rochat on Sunday 17 June, 2012 at 02:46

    I found this score fresh and good (I only speak about the five tracks). Good new themes, a bit of development of the old ones, more orchestrations… It is infinity better than the precedent Madagascar’s scores or “Rango”. A strong *** 1/2 for me