Title: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Directors: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon
This spaz-tastic 3D animation is stuffed with so much vibrant energy it could probably wake up a coma patient in the next room. Or at the very least, someone with a terrible hangover (just saying).
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted brings the entire gang back and naturally adds a few new players to its already crowded roster. Knowing that, credit the writers and directors in finding clever and timely ways to work them all into the grand act.
As with the previous two installments, the goal for Alex the Lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (voiced by Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (voiced by David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith) is to get back to their New York City zoo. Right now, they find themselves stuck in an assortment of cities around Europe (Monte Carlo, Paris, & Rome) while the street hustling-minded penguins and the aloof Lemurs, attempt to find a mode of transportation back home. In fiddling with that process, they’ve managed to catch the cruel eyes of a French animal control authority in Captain Chantel DuBois (voiced by Frances McDormand) – who enjoys mounting heads on her wall. In trying to avoid the relentless Captain, the happy crew takes refuge on a train that houses a down-on-its-luck traveling circus.
While they constantly must avoid the “Terminator-like” Captain, who loves her lipstick by the way, the prototypical circus animal performers are somewhat divided on whether or not their new passengers are trustworthy and/or worth the trouble. But they attempt to come together and reinvigorate the show; in the hopes of enticing an American promoter to bring the circus over to New York City. Ergo, everyone wins. And no one’s head ends up on a mantle.
This sharply dressed 3D flick is a bottle rocket. Having so many characters this time around, there’s a near frantic pace of quick hitting jabs from all angles. It keeps the story lively, especially since all of them come equipped with their own unique accents and personas. And when the filmmakers want to showcase a little heart, the screenplay screeches to a halt (mainly in the middle portion) to allow everyone to catch their breath. Yet this flick’s agenda is nothing more than a pure adrenaline rush for all audiences in the visual department. In the laugh department, the older crowd will snicker enough while the younger crew will be signaled to laugh strictly off the physical presence of the characters on-screen. And the latter point is brought up because the punch-lines are delivered just as fast as the screenplay; so there will be a time or six when the little guys may not comprehend every detail. But they’re still going to be entertained.
Despite being about 90 minutes in length, this is orchestrated similar to a Saturday morning cartoon. Blink and you probably missed something. Good news is, no matter what your age, you will be able easily grasp, and be interested, where this is heading. And it never gets too deep.
Overall, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is its own animated animal (pun intended). It feels different from the rest of the animated herds out there these days and puts on quite a show. Frankly, even if you’re not in the mood, the contagious energy of the voice cast and the physical elements have the ability to will you into the jubilant atmosphere.
Acting (voice): B+