Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

In Theatres: 
Jun 08, 2012
Running Time: 
1 Hour, 25 Minutes

Cedric The Entertainer and Andy Richter voice King Julien's servants, Maurice and Mort.

 The "Zoosters" are back for their 3rd installment in the Madagascar series, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. For anyone unfamiliar with the story of these four animals, let's back track a bit.

Eager to discover what all is outside the Zoo walls, Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock) decides to escape from his cell and travel to the beautiful scenery of Connecticut. Along with some mischievious penquins, his best friends, Alex the egotistical Lion (Ben Stiller), Gloria the sassy Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the neurotic Giraffe (David Schwimmer), go on a mission to bring him back to the zoo, but find themselves on the tropical island of Madagascar. Following the discovery of friendship being the key to success, the wild bunch, plus the self-absorbed Julien, King of the lemurs (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his servants, take off on a poorly built airplane, headed for New York City. The plane crash lands in Africa where Alex finds his parents, Marty learns he isn't one of a kind, Gloria attempts to find love and Melman finds his calling as the reserve's witch doctor. Now, the Zoosters realize the penquins have taken their only form of transportation to Monte Carlo and set off to retrieve their plane and head back home to New York City. Unfortunately, their presence in Monte Carlo hasn't gone unnoticed. Captain DuBois (Frances McDormand), the psychotic head of Animal Control, chases the refugees throughout Europe to claim his prized posession, the head of a lion to add to her collection. Frantically seeking a safe house, the furry foursome disguise themselves as circus animals to blend in with a traveling circus. How long can they hide before they are found out? How in the world can they get back home? What is a circus afro?

The Madagascar franchise has been one that has increasingly got better as more entries were added. The first film is a decent kid's movie that won't bore parents, but not thrill them about the idea of numerous views. However, Madagascar: Back 2 Africa, proved that the director(s) intend on constantly improving by creating a more plot-driven, funnier, beautiful look at the call of the wild. It also helps that they kept the funnier side characters fairly close to their more central ones. What better way to ensure the hilarity of side characters than introduce some new faces, backed up by some incredible voice work by some big names like Bryan Cranston and Martin Short? Bryan Cranston (Malcom In The Middle, Breaking Bad) voices the grumpy and distant Vitaly, a circus tiger who flew too close to the sun. Stefano, the brave and loyal sea lion, is voiced by the comedy great Martin Short, while the headstrong leopard, Gia, is voiced by The Help's Jessica Chastain. Not only do these characters help increase the comedy in a swift manner, they also compliment each trait of the main characters, proving that they belong in the series and aren't just a plot point. No matter how hard the voice actors may try though, no one will come close to the hilarity that Sacha Baron Cohen brings to King Julien. 

Dreamworks made a smart move by choosing Madagascar as their main source of humor. In most other Dreamworks Animation pictures, you'll see more low brow, almost insulting attempts at humor. Of course, they are no strangers to great animated films (How To Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda), but Madagascar easily competes with Shrek and Monster Vs. Aliens as their funniest franchise. Then again, I am a sucker for a bear in a tutu driving a Ducati throughout Rome. Whether it's Marty's daredevil stunts, Alex's attempts at leading a larger group than he's used to, or Julien's one shot at love, there is truly something for everyone in this entry of Dreamwork's most promising franchise. 

Of course, the humor alone is going to enough to grab the attention of not only the kids in the audience, but the parents who have seen numerous movies that weren't designed for them. The quality of animation is key with films of this stature, due in part to the number of competitors in the same market. Dreamworks isn't responsible for the best graphics (Pixar easily holds those reigns), but they are easily in the top 3 market, with Blue Sky attempting a takeover. The quality has improved greatly between entries 2 and 3 and it sure stands out. Especially in part to the debut of Madagascar's first 3D film. Monte Carlo, Paris and Rome appear directly in front of you and keep you completely immersed in whatever location the zoosters may find themselves in. Some films use 3D as a gimmick, and surely Dreamworks had that in mind, but Madagascar 3 keeps its feet on the ground and knows where the true entertainment lies. If the main debate on Madagascar 3 is whether to see it in 3D or not, the wise decision here is to definitely go with the extra dimension. Although, the movie experience will still be extremely enjoyable if viewed in standard 2D. 

Beautiful graphics, hilarious voicework and some above-average 3D cannonballs Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted as a perfect addition to the Madagascar franchise. So find an excuse to take your niece, nephew or cousin and be sure to bring your own circus afro! 

Ryan Sterritt
Review by Ryan Sterritt
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