Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

After being shipped from New York to Madagascar and then leaving Madagascar only to end up stranded in Africa, our four favorite zoo animals are back and causing a ruckus once again, but this time in Europe.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted starts off where Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa left off, with Alex the lion(Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra(Chris Rock), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) are stranded in Africa longing to get back to their beloved zoo in New York City. They realize the only way they will be able to return home is by relying on their super competent penguin buddies who have made their way to Monte Carlo with their chimp powered plane and the loot of jewels and money they squandered upon in Africa during the second movie.

So the quartet of four legged lovable characters along with a few familiar lemurs, King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen), the self proclaimed King of Madagascar and his assistants Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) and Mort (Andy Richter), decide to make their way to Monte Carlo, find the penguins, the chimpanzees, and head to New York.

Once the gang arrives in Monte Carlo it doesn’t take long for them to incite panic. Enter Captain Chantal Dubois (Francis McDormand), an impassive, somewhat indestructible animal control officer, who wants nothing more than to add a lion to her already impressive collection of animal heads mounted on her office wall. Due to her relentless pursuit and unconventional hunting techniques the animals are forced to take refuge aboard a circus train where they are welcomed by a simple-minded sea lion named Stefano (Martin Short). Stefano introduces the group to the rest of the animal circus performers and they each demonstrate their amazing tricks. The train is on its way to London and the circus crew hopes their show will garner the attention of a big time U.S. circus promoter looking to bring a show to New York. This was Alex and company’s ticket home! But would they be up to the challenge of putting on the greatest show anyone has ever seen AND evade Dubois who is hot on their tails every step of the way?

The simple storyline of animals wanting to get home has been the common thread in all three Madagascar movies. Dreamworks Animation rarely reaches the emotional expertise of Pixar, but they always manage to create movies that are still very much engaging, humorous and visually stunning. Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, who directed the first two movies, come together once again and steer clear from the choppy, thrown together sequence of events that have plagued some sequels and trilogies. I truly believe that keeping with the same directoral chemistry plays a big part in this movie’s well-paced and entertaining storyline.

This movie is definitely geared toward the kindergarten and preschool aged audience with much of the action in the movie involving the circus performance and its Cirque du Soleil-type entertainment. Let’s add the 3D component and voila! An amazing, kaleidoscope of lights and pyrotechnics along with wonderful performances of acrobats, seal shot from cannon, high wire dancing giraffe and hippo, and flying penguins. It’s like a box of animal crackers come to life!

4 out of 5 stars