As a parent of a 5-year-old son I’ve watched a lot of animated films over the last few years. Some, such as Animals United or Open Season, get one or two viewings before being forgotten for good. A select few, however, get watched over and over again. Some of these include Cars, Rango, and the Madagascar films. And while I know the kid loves them, I personally find Madagascar and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa both very entertaining films that are just as much for adults as they are for kids. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted continues this trend and is the best of the bunch when it comes to fun.
Picking up where Madagascar 2 ended, Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still stranded in Africa and need to find the Penguins in order to get back to New York City. They track them down in Monte Carlo, make a big scene at a casino trying to get to them, and are now being hunted by the evil animal control officer, Captain DuBois. On the run they end up taking refuge on a circus train. One thing leads to another and they’re soon performing in the circus themselves with hopes they’ll be sent on tour to perform in America.
No question, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted features beautiful animation that’s on par with the best Pixar film. It’s bright and colourful and very slick. The 3-D, especially during the circus scenes, was incorporated well and helped make the film truly pop. It might not be the Best Animated Film of the year, but it is a visually superb romp.
Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, and David Schwimmer all return to voice the main characters and all do just as good a job as ever, especially Rock who has definitely made Marty the zebra the star of the show among the young demographic (the Afro Circus bit he does is still in my head). Joining the cast of regulars is Frances McDormand as Captain DuBois, Jessica Chastain as the cheetah Gia, Bryan Cranston as the Russian tiger Vitaly, and Martin Short as circus seal Stefano. The additional voices and characters are all quite funny and the young ones in the audience absolutely ate them up.
There are a lot of silly moments in Madagascar 3 that might annoy some adults and make them write the film off as childish junk. I found more adult-themed jokes this time out and laughed a lot more than I did during the previous films. In the end though, it was what my son thought that mattered and he loved every moment of it and can’t wait to see it again.
Cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer
Directed by: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon
Top image: A scene from Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. Courtesy Paramount Pictures.