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“They always bring me in one last time and I do like a pass where I’m almost cursing, or even I do curse sometimes,” Mr. Rock said. “How far can I go in a kids’ movie? How close can I get to saying [expletive] in this scene?”

But for all the journeying abroad in the vibrantly colored “Madagascar 3,” one of its most intriguing visuals in the film comes back in New York.

Whereas the series previously featured the old World Trade Center in a flashback of Alex’s arrival in the city (a choice Mr. Darnell and Mr. McGrath said they were sometimes criticized for), the new film contains a background image of the new One World Trade Center. The thought to include the building occurred to the directors earlier this year while they were in New York doing audio recording and saw the rising skyscraper while walking down the street.

The new WTC might still have weeks to go before construction is completed, but in animated form, it’s already done.