Of the first Madagascar movie, I had the sense that Zimmer's heart wasn't in it for the long haul. With the exception of the Zooster's theme, the rest of the album was garbage. Now two movies later we have the final movie in the series and for the first time since the series began, Zimmer actually gave a pretty nice cohesion and narrative to the movie even if the bulk of it isn't on album. The movie opens on the cue from the previous movie 'Party, Party, Party' which is a nice touch to connect the movies since the group was still in Africa. Which leads us to the cue New York City Surprise which gives us the Zooster's theme with a kind of upswing trumpets, though the cue is cut in half as it doesn't reprise itself until a little farther into the movie.
I should note that in this movie Zimmer uses three themes, one of which is absent from the album. Oh course you have the Zooster's theme which I stated before, and we have the villains theme which is given to us with pounding piano and and sultry violin with a French flair and it makes itself known in the opening of the cue Game On. Now it gets several variations in the film, some very compelling, ultimately we get its last performance in Rescue Steffano. The other theme is a minor one for King Julien and his romantic interest for the circus bear Sonya, and it is in the form of a variation of the Andrea Bocelli song Con Te Partiro (which also plays during the movie). Towards the end of the movie Zimmer gives a light orchestral version which is very satisfying though both Bocelli's song and Zimmer's variations are omitted from the album.
Of the songs on album, most are just garbage but there is one song that deserves attention and that is Francis McDormands performance of the song Non Je Ne Regrette Rien. She gives such a beautiful performance in the song, though just be aware of the sounds of gun fire in the opening seconds of the song (such an odd sound effect to keep from the movie).
Overall my score for this is primarily for all the music that Zimmer put into this movie. I have waited a long time for Zimmer to produce a score of almost orchestral music that didn't drive me insane and I found it inside this movie. Not his best work but it is certainly an improvement from some of his latest movie endeavors and it helps restore my faith in him as a composer. But the presentation of his score on album leaves a lot to be desired.
Read other recent reviews by Chris R.: The Croods
, Wreck-It Ralph
, Cloud Atlas