Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Review
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Lately it seems as though DreamWorks Animation has been stepping up its game. Each year, their releases seem to get better and better—even earning a well-deserved Oscar nod for Kung Fu Panda 2 in a year when Pixar’s latest failed to make the cut. And they continue their upsurge with Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.

It’s been a long time since the beloved animals from the Central Park Zoo have been home. So, in an attempt to leave Africa (where they landed in the second film in the franchise), they sent the penguins for help in their rundown plane. But now they’ve gotten tired of waiting.

After finding their own way to Europe, though, Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith), Melman (David Schwimmer), and the lemurs end up on the run from Animal Control’s Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), who’s determined to add Alex’s head to her impressive collection. Their only chance of making it back to New York comes in the form of a traveling circus that may be getting a contract to tour the States. After their first show with the circus, though, Alex and the gang realize that they’ll need to get the struggling circus back to its original glory if they’re ever going to make it to New York.

Filled with both eye-popping 3D sequences and over-the-top comedy, Madagascar 3 is a stunning but silly animated adventure. Whether the animals are touring the gorgeous streets of Rome or performing their wild and crazy circus acts, the animation is strikingly detailed and vibrantly colorful. Kids will love the fun and flashiness of it all, while parents will appreciate the artistic genius that went into making it. In fact, it’ll take just one 3D car chase through Monte Carlo to win most of the audience over.

The characters, meanwhile, have almost as much personality as Marty’s multi-colored circus afro. Though Gloria and Melman tend to fade into the background, Alex gives the film its heart, while Marty and Sacha Baron Cohen’s lovesick King Julien give the film its humor. And, this time around, it’s all doled out in the right proportions, blending action, suspense, and drama with a hearty dose of wacky comedy to keep viewers of all ages giggling.

Of course, DreamWorks isn’t Pixar, so don’t expect the same level of sophistication found in, say, Toy Story 3 or Up. Madagascar 3 is goofier and more cartoony—which, depending on your personal taste, could actually be a good thing. Though it has a few touches of drama, you’re in no danger of shedding a tear while you watch this one (unless, of course, Marty’s whole “Circus Afro” song makes you laugh until you cry—as it often does for me). And there’s so much action and silliness that kids will never get bored. So while it may not be the kind of movie that you’d see with your grown-up friends, Madagascar 3 is a fluffy but fun-filled flick that makes a good choice for family movie night.

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