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Movie Review: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

June 8, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – A Paramount Release

http://www.madagascarmovie.com/

Release Date: June 8th, 2012

Rated G

Running time: 93 minutes

Eric Darnell (dir.)

Tom McGrath (dir.)

Conrad Vernon (dir.)

Eric Darnell (screenplay)

Noah Baumbach (screenplay)

Hans Zimmer (music)

Ben Stiller as Alex (voice)

Chris Rock as Marty (voice)

David Schwimmer as Melman (voice)

Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria (voice)

Sacha Baron Cohen as Julien (voice)

Andy Richter as Mort (voice)

Frances McDormand as Captain Chantel DuBois (voice)

Jessica Chastain as Gia (voice)

Bryan Cranston as Vitaly (voice)

Martin Short as Stefano (voice)

©Paramount Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), Alex (Ben Stiller), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Marty (Chris Rock) in Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.

Our reviews below:

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Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Review By John C.

*** (out of 4)

No matter what age you are, prepare to be hit by a blast of fun with Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.  As a fan of the first two films in the series, this threequel co-written by Noah Baumbach is an exhilarating big screen sugar rush that bursts with infectious amounts of manic energy.  When the film becomes about what it truly means to be home, a big heart is revealed beneath the humour.

Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) escape from Africa to try and make it back to their zoo in New York.  Instead, they find themselves in Monte Carlo and on the run from evil animal control officer Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand).  The animals stow away on a circus train bound for London, with grumpy tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), simple sea lion Stefano (Martin Short) and sleek jaguar Gia (Jessica Chastain), a performance troupe that will go under if they don’t reinvent their act.

The hilarious lemur King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) is also along for the ride, and the four loveable penguins provide some of the film’s best sight gags.  I genuinely liked the first Madagascar back in 2005, and the 2008 sequel Escape 2 Africa was a fully realized extension of the journey complete with beautiful animation, a lot of heart and a rocking soundtrack.  Filled with high energy action sequences, Europe’s Most Wanted is one of those rare threequels that has a lot of fun revisiting the characters, while at the same time taking them to some surprisingly heartfelt places.

The climactic circus act is a visually dazzling sequence that uses the pop anthem “Firework” as part of a psychedelic light show that would make Katy Perry proud.  With loveable characters and a fast-paced running time, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a lot of fun for both kids and adults.  Good luck trying to stop yourself from singing the “Afro Circus” song as you leave the theatre.

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Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Review by Erin V.  

*** (out of 4)

In 2005, we were introduced to penguins, lemurs, and the ‘zoosters’ – Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith) – in Madagascar, a fun film about escapees from the Central Park Zoo that get stranded on Madagascar.  In 2008, we got a sequel called Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, which expanded on and surpassed the original, and remains the best in the series.

Now comes another sequel – Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.  In this installement the four zoosters and the lemurs leave Africa to try to find the penguins and chimps who left at the end of the last film for Monte Carlo, promising to be back to give them a lift home to New York.  The problem is, Alex feels that they may have forgotten, and that they should go to them instead of waiting.  At the casino though, their attempt at remaining inconspicuous fails and soon they have Captain DuBois (Frances McDormand) from animal control on their tails.  Desperate to escape her clutches, they convince a group of circus animals to reluctantly let them jump on board their train.  While Stafano the Sea Lion (Martin Short) and Gia the Jaguar (Jessica Chastain) don’t seem to mind, Vitaly the Tiger (Bryan Cranston) takes an immediate dislike to Alex and tries to force them to get off at the next stop.  But it’s not long before they realize that the circus might just need their help and there may be a way for them to earn their place and stay.

What I’ve always found works about the Madagascar films is that the characters are each relatable in their own ways, allowing the audience to follow a story they connect to.  Fans of the multiple characters will be pleased to know that everyone gets a good amount of screentime here, including the secondary characters of King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) who finds love, the chimps, and the ever amusing penguins.  It’s worth an additional note that there are scenes here that are clearly made for 3D, and while they would be stunning to be seen in the format (I saw this in 2D), the film is still fine without it.  The scene I’m thinking of the most, is a psychedelic circus act performed to Katy Perry’s Firework, which is reminiscent of a laser light show.

While I said earlier that I still like the second film the best, the first and third are still a ton of fun.  As the only film in theatres right now that can be thoroughly enjoyed by the whole family this one is definitely worth seeing.

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Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Review by Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Picking up where Escape 2 Africa left off, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted finds the zoosters homesick for New York after building a clay model of the Big Apple.  So the four, along with their lemur friends decide to meet the penguins in Monte Carlo as they, with the help of the chimps dressed as the King of Versailles, clean up at the casino.  Problem is, they are seen and the crazy animal control officer/taxidermist Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand) is missing a lion head.  So the animals run off and find the perfect hiding spot on a circus train.

There they meet many new exotic animals, including a bitter washed up Amur tiger named Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), a pretty jaguar named Gia (Jessica Chastain), an italian sea lion named Stefano (Martin Short), a nonverbal lady bear and a couple of tough guy dogs.  The circus is failing, but once the “King of Versailles” buys it, the world’s only animal run and owned circus works had with the zoosters to put on the best show ever.  In the meantime, Alex (Ben Stiller) finds someone to love and so does King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen).  Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer) grow in their love and Marty (Chris Rock) embraces his inner circus.  Meanwhile, DuBois is still on Alex’s trail.  Can the zoo animals get back home safely?

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is delightfully silly, a lot of fun and has a great deal of heart.  The zoo and circus animals are all endearing, and their interactions range from funny to touching and heartwarming.  The bright colours and cheerful visuals match the circus theme perfectly.  While I don’t agree with the use of exotic animals in real circuses, the circus in this film is a cartoon one with no humans in it.  The animals are there by their own free will.  Think of it as Cirque du Soliel in reverse, just one of the many Canadian jokes in the film.

Everything in Madagascar 3; Europe’s Most Wanted has a classic cartoon feel.  The animals are quite anthropomorphic, yet they wear little or no clothing and don’t speak to humans.  Captain DuBois is goofy enough that she will not scare young children.  All ages, from very young children to adults, will enjoy Madagascar 3.  This one is definitely worth the price of admission.

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Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Review by Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Never trust a plane built by monkeys.  When the penguins don’t return from their flight to Monte Carlo, Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) gets worried.  Afraid of being left behind forever in Africa, Alex along with Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) swim their way to the port of Monte Carlo to catch up with the penguins and hopefully continue home to New York.

Naturally, things don’t go as planned and the four animal friends end up on a madcap adventure that involves eluding an insane animal control office, Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), hopping aboard a European circus train car trying to convince the circus animals Vitaly the angry tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the sleek Italian jaguar (Jessica Chastain) and Stefan, the not too bright seal (Martin Short) that they too are circus performers.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is hyper, colourful and over the top circus fun at its best.  Marty the zebra’s “afro circus, polka dot circus” number will be stuck in the heads of children and grown ups for a long time.  This is an animated, psychedelic Cirque du Soleil done by animals that is completely entertaining.  If you liked all the characters in the first two Madagascar movies, you’ll like them here.

This is funny stuff that shows some heart when the former zoo animals finally figure out what it means to be home.  Madagascar fans of all ages will enjoy this bright, colourful and very energetic trip to the circus.

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Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Review by Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is the third film featuring the exiles from the Central Park Zoo. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and the lemurs (Sasha Baron Cohen et al) make their way to Monaco to join the penguins and monkeys who left them at the end of Part 2. A riotous escape from the casino attracts the attention of the local dogcatchers, led by the obsessed Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), but they manage to flee aboard a circus train. The circus performers include Vitaly the Siberian tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the jaguar (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the sea lion (Martin Short). With DuBois on their tail, our heroes discover the magic of the circus and how it may finally lead them home.

Though not as good as the first two films, Madagascar 3 is a lot of fun for all ages. I found some of the stereotypes and accents (French for DuBois, Russian for Vitaly and Italian for Gia and Stefano) a bit heavy-handed. However, once the circus acts get going, the beautiful colours and flashy, almost psychedelic effects (which I assume would be more fun in 3D) are impressive. Though it lacks some of the drive of the will.i.am collaboration in Part 2, the Hans Zimmer score nicely mixes his original motifs with some well-placed tunes from the likes of Edith Piaf, Andrea Bocelli and Katy Perry.

In summary, even though Madagascar 3 isn’t brilliant, if you liked the first two films, you will probably not be disappointed.

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Consensus: With appealing characters and brightly coloured animation, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a good continuation of the entertaining series that has a heart beneath the humour and provides plenty of fun for audiences of all ages.  *** (Out of 4)

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