Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (Film Review)

The crew from Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Although the third installment of the crew from the New York Zoo had three directors, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is an entertaining comedy that delivers enough laughs and sight gags in a cohesive film that will leave families feeling satisfied.

Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippopotamus set out to return home to New York after escaping to Africa. After waiting for the return of the chimpanzees and penguins back to Africa, their plan to get back to New York does anything but stay off course and they find themselves stranded in Monte Carlo, where they are chased by an evil animal control captain named Chantel DuBois. To keep a low profile in Europe, they join a travelling circus that includes Vitaly the tiger, Gia the jaguar, and Stefano the sea lion. On their journey, they help their new friends rediscover their passion for entertaining.

The plot moves at a quick pace, and has more in common with a Looney Tunes short than other DreamWorks films, such as Shrek and How To Train Your Dragon. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted generates significant excitement with a chase scene early in the film and circus-acts that are well choreographed and takes advantage of 3D. The film doesn’t break any new ground in storytelling, but does tell a solid story that is sure to entertain children and keep adults amused.

What sets this film apart from the first two installments of the franchise are the vibrant colors. The color pallet exemplifies the energy of circus life, which is a feast for the eyes.

Although the animation and colors are a sight to behold, there are times when the screen is filled with more sight gags than necessary. At times, it appears some of the sequences don’t flow smoothly into each other due to moments, although seldom, being slightly frenetic. However, the essence of the plot isn’t lost and the abundance of eye candy will be a delight for the younger set.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, a DreamWorks Animation release distributed by Paramount, is rated PG for some mild action and rude humor. Voice talents include Ben Stiller (Alex the lion), Chris Rock (Marty the zebra), Jada Pinkett Smith (Gloria the hippo), David Schwimmer (Melman the giraffe), Sacha Baron Cohen (lemur king Julien), Cedric the Entertainer (Maurice), Frances McDormand (Captain Chantel DuBois), Bryan Cranston (Vitaly the tiger), Martin Short (Stefano the sea lion) and Jessica Chastain (Gia the jaguar).

Co-screenwriter Noah Baumbach brings his comedic sensibility to the film, with shades of complexity and sharp humor that were evident in his prior effort The Fantastic Mr. Fox. Eric Darnell  (Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) also scribes as co-screenwriter. The film was directed by Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon.

Running time is 92 minutes.

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