Movie Review – Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012)

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, 2012.

Directed by Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon.
Featuring the voice talents of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Frances McDormand, Jessica Chastain, Andy Richter, Bryan Cranston, Martin Short and Vinnie Jones.


Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are still fighting to get home to their beloved Big Apple. Their journey takes them through Europe where they find the perfect cover: a traveling circus, which they reinvent – Madagascar style.

The Madagascar series hasn’t been one of the better animated franchises. Sure, the first two movies have made more than enough money, but neither of them were particularly great movies. Now comes the third installment, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, and I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a good time watching this one.

What separates this one from the first two is that the filmmakers decided to just go all out and be completely crazy this time around. As far as the story goes, we follow our favorite animals Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer) as they venture out on another adventure. Feeling homesick from being away from New York for so long, the animals – along with their friends King Julian (Sacha Baron Cohen), those devious penguins and a couple of monkeys – set out to get back to the New York zoo. After outrunning a crazy Animal Control officer (Frances McDormand), complications keep them stranded in France, where they group up with a traveling circus which will make its way to the United States.

Right from the get go this Madagascar is balls to the wall crazy. Starting things off with a semi-heist that leads into an insane car chase is only the start of things to come. There are so many moments here that will make you laugh because of how over-the-top they do everything. Moving at a very brisk pace, the movie never stops to slow down and keeps shoving more spectacle and colorful wonderment constantly in your face for an hour and a half. I’m not a particular fan of the song “Firework” by Katy Perry but there are two scenes involving the circus here that have the song playing and they make it work so well. Both of those scenes are nothing short of dazzling and I couldn’t help but watch them with a smile on my face.

One thing I usually don’t like with sequels to animated movies is when they introduce a handful of new characters who feel unnecessary. That’s not the case with Madagascar 3 as they introduce some new colorful characters who add a lot to the story. Bryan Cranston, Jessica Chastain and Martin Short voice characters who are a part of the traveling circus, each of them have their own back story and they help contribute to some funny and heartfelt moments. The supporting cast from the previous movies are back this time around too and once again it’s the penguins and King Julian who end up stealing the show. Frances McDormand also does a bit of scene stealing herself as Captain Chantel DuBois.

Our main characters mesh quite well together with the new batch of colorful characters. All of the voice actors are great once again, especially Ben Stiller and Chris Rock. Both Jada Pinkett Smith and David Schwimmer have reduced roles this time around to make way for all the new characters. While they were never the central focus of either of the first two movies, it seemed odd to push them aside but the new characters turned out great so it all worked out.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted goes all out and provides nonstop entertainment. While the story could have been better, the voice cast, over-the-top shenanigans and amazing circus sequences make this worth watching.

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★

Jake Peffer

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