Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

         
 

08 June 2012| 1 Comment     by Sean Chavel

 

The most outrageous discovery is that number “3” is the best in the series. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted will have kids sitting up for its fast-paced screwball zaniness. Ben Stiller, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock and Sacha Baron Cohen once again put out their identifiable voices. But the steal of the show is a female police captain voiced by Frances McDormand. It’s more about how her character is drawn (part bloodhound, part Cruella DeVil with a touch of Edith Piaf as an inspiration). This third entry – the best in the series – zips along in a colorful, rollicking but fluid way that outdoes anything we saw in last winter’s “The Adventures of Tin Tin.” The circus act scenes are colorful and vertiginous in a way that recalls “Dumbo” (1941). It also opens with a dreamy black & white sequence that is a nod to Salvador Dali. Gee, there is enough sophistication throughout to charm adult sensibilities. This aint’ just for kids. Really, this is the surprise delight of the summer.

The 3D actually has enhanced in-your-face hologram effects that actually work. You can live without 3D, but if you’re kids are hankering for the upgrade perhaps you won’t feel gypped this time. The depth of field effects are splendidly showed off during any airborne blast sequences, such as the “Monkey Powered Super Plane” that fails to make it past the Atlantic. Loose debris actually flies at you from the screen.

After a failed flightplan, the New York bred animals drop onto another train of has-been European circus animals (Bryan Cranston and Jessica Chastain are voice newbies to the franchise). Stiller’s Alex the Lion develops an instant crush on Chastain’s silky-voiced jaguar. Just like with humans, an American animal trying to get it on with a European is a klutzy demonstration of endless faux pas.

Plot simplicity serves this film entry well. In order for Alex and his gang to get back to America they need to raise money through circus tent-pole acts, but because the troupe is sagging they must whip into shape – of course the French police intervene haplessly. We get montages with the ultra-sophisticated “Fireworks” song by Katy Perry. I’m kidding, that’s used for the circus climax. Actually “Fireworks” is used well, but I love any eclectic soundtrack that actually slips in some Edith Piaf here and there.

I enjoyed this film a lot as an adult. I was merely hoping for kids’ entertainment that was tolerable. Instead it’s a film that I think would have stuck with me if I had grown up with it. I have no problem passing this entry of “Magadascar” down to my future kids. And I certainly have no problem strongly recommending it in current times to kids of all ages.

94 Minutes. Rated PG.

FAMILY MOVIE / GOOFY / WEEKEND DINNER AND FAMILY MOVIE

Film Cousins: “Dumbo” (1941); “Madagascar” (2005); “Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa” (2008); “Zookeeper” (2011).

Official website: click here.

 

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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  1.  
    hashbrowny

    hashbrowny says,

     

    This movie was the surprise of the year for me. I thought it was better than the other two Madagascars. It was so witty and the animation was amazing. Even the 3D worked in this one. I loved watching the audience and seeing that parents and their kids were equally enjoying themselves. Great family movie! I’d even dare to say that Madagascar 3 was on par with the Kung-Fu Panda series!

     

    on June 12, 2012

     

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