Review - Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (2012), PG, 93 minutes - I must admit, after seeing the first Madagascar film a few years ago, I really didn't think that it would turn into a franchise with multiple entries.  It was a fun, kid targeting film, but that being said, there really wasn't anything about it that made me think 'hey, I wonder what happens next?'  Well, obviously tons of people loved it because it has spawned two sequels.  I never bothered with 2008's Madagascar 2: Escape to Afica (and neither had my fiancee) but when we were looking for a light hearted movie last weekend we decided to give Madagascar 3 a shot.

Europe's Most Wanted picks up with the main Madagascar characters Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) now in Africa.  The penguins have abandoned them in order to seek out the riches of Europe.  Alex is the most homesick of the bunch and comes up with a plan to track the penguins to Europe to enlist their help in getting back to New York City (because the penguins are the only ones who know how to build and fly a plane of course).  Once in Europe, the news of the New York City Zoo's most recognizable member (Alex) having gone missing reaches the ears of French Animal Control Captain Chantel Dubois (Frances McDormand).  She's more than your typical animal control officer, with secret agent-like skills and a penchant for mounting the heads of her prey on her walls.  While trying to elude Captain Dubois, our merry band of zoo animals crosses paths with a traveling circus that has seen better days.  The circus memebers, led by Vitaly the tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the cheetah (Jessica Chastain), and Julien the seal (Sacha Baron Cohen) join forces with Alex and his gang in order to reinvigorate the circus and hopefully land a touring contract with a big American promoter that would get the entire group to New York.

Madagascar 3 is an enjoyable animated feature.  Being a kids film, there are certainly parts at which you have to suspend disbelief (I mean beyond the talking animals), but that's just the nature of films of this genre. The best thing about it is that it is pretty self contained - you don't have to see the previous two to follow what's going on. I think kids will probably enjoy it more than adults, but there's enough here to keep our generation entertained as well. I wouldn't tell anyone to run right out and see it, but if you are looking for something a little less serious or for a family day at the movies, Madagascar 3 will fit the bill.

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