Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
The first two Madagascar films were occasionally chuckle inducing but ultimately forgettable. It’s surprising then that Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is the best of the series, taking the finest aspects of the previous films and turning everything up to full throttle. The action is bigger and the humor more absurd thanks to a fast-paced script from Eric Darnell and Noah Baumbach.
The story is slightly more complicated this time out with Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) trying to once again escape from a remote location in Africa. Through magical cartoon logic, the gang finds themselves in Monte Carlo where the penguins and monkeys cause a ruckus, and suddenly they are on the run from a sadistic animal control specialist throughout Europe. In one of the more spectacular action sequences in the film, there’s a ridiculous high-speed pursuit between the animals driving an enhanced SUV and the animal control agents on scooters. It’s the perfect blend of ludicrous and thrilling to keep the audience entertained even though none of it makes a lick of sense.
The escape leads to everyone joining a traveling circus with a whole host of new characters. Together they all must save the fledging circus and get back to New York in one piece, culminating in some great side stories and a big, colorful circus sequence that will have the kids singing and dancing in their seats. The biggest laughs still come from the side characters, and as such they have substantially increased screen time and presence in the story. There’s a particularly hilarious interspecies relationship involving King Julian that delivers consistently throughout the entire film.
Madagascar 3 succeeds where the previous films failed. It’s consistent, beautifully animated and, most importantly, actually funny. The jokes come in rapid-fire succession, and it’s almost never boring. Despite not caring about the main characters, I still had fun and the kids will, too.