Easily the best film of the franchise and an absolute blast for both kids and adults alike.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted follows Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer) are stranded yet again thanks to those pesky penguins. Alex determined to get home conquers up a plan as the group’s leader, which involves them traveling through Europe on their journey. Everything is going according to plan until the animals are discovered at a local casino. Now wanted by Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), Alex convinces the gang to join a traveling circus as a cover to get them back to their home in New York.
When I first heard about a third Madagascar film, I had the instant “do we really need another one?” reaction that most people seemed to have. The franchise is a fun one, but I really felt that a third film would be overkill and unnecessary. I am happy to report; however, that this assumption was dead wrong. This sequel far exceeded my expectations and even if DreamWorks is trying to cash in on the franchise (of course they are) at least the story was inspired and full of life. In fact, I would argue that Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is the best entry in the film’s franchise to date.
You are probably wondering to yourself by now how the heck DreamWorks managed to pull this film off as well as they did. Well, I honestly have to say that while the story is so simple, it works for this film. What I think makes this film really engaging is the gang’s entire journey throughout Europe. It’s the attention to detail and the areas visited that really make this film standout. I am talking about landmarks, accents, and music such as the wonderful adaptation of the French song Non Je Ne Regrette Rien sung by Frances McDormand.
The new characters that were members of the traveling circus that Alex and the gang joined were a great addition to the film. These characters were all unique and held their own very nicely. The standouts of the new gang included a simple minded seal named Stefano voiced by Martin Short, a down on his luck tiger named Vitaly voiced Bryan Cranston, and a kind hearted female cheetah named Gia voiced by Jessica Chastain. These characters all added something to the story giving it that extra push as well as some extra substance that the film needed.
Besides the story and the new characters, this film was an absolute pleasure to watch visually. During the circus scenes, I swear this film looked like a work of art. It’s rare to really have a computer animated film stand out in this day and age, but that circus scene was absolutely stunning to watch. The animation was very colorful and vivid. Along with the visual look and style of the film, the 3D in this film worked well and was tastefully done adding to the overall enjoyment of the film rather than using it as a cheap gimmick
Lastly before closing this review up, I do have to address the few minor complaints that I had with Madagascar 3. My major issue with the film was that the movie’s villain Captain Chantel DuBois got very annoying really quickly. There was just too much of the character and the character wasn’t even that enjoyable in the first place. It was the over the top antics of the character that really made me loathe almost every moment she was on screen. I realize that the film needed some sort of conflict i.e a villain but I could have done with a lot less of her. The only other thing that urked me a little and this is really nitpicking at the film is that a lot of the other secondary characters just seemed to be there for convenience when the film needed to fade away from the main ones. I personally always enjoyed all the little minor characters within these films, but this one seemed to use them as a crutch rather than stronger elements of the film.
In conclusion, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is without a doubt my favorite film in the Madagascar franchise thus far. It’s funny, visually pleasing, entertaining, and it may even teach the little ones a thing or two about Europe along the way. This movie was an absolutely blast to watch and despite its minor flaws it will probably be one of the best animated films of 2012.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a solid 8 out of 10.