"Madagascar 3 Europe's Most Wanted"
Directed by- Eric Darnell
Running Time- 85 mins
This is the best installment of the Madagascar series. Those who have kids probably watch the Nickelodeon series “Penguin's of Madagascar” which premiered a year after the first movie. They are already used to the kind of fast-paced action and relentless hilarity “Madagascar 3” has in spades, only the movie amp-ed it up a few notches. If you've never seen the television series, hold onto your hat, cause this movie takes off like a rocket and doesn't stop till it ends.
All the main characters return- Alex the lion, voiced by Ben Stiller, Marty the zebra, voiced by Chris Rock, Melman the giraffe, voiced by David Schwimmer, Gloria the hippo, voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith, King Julian the lemur, voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen, along with all the penguins and monkeys from the other films as well.
This time the gang decides it is time to return to New York and the zoo they left behind so many years ago. Unfortunately the penguins took off with a makeshift airplane to Monte Carlo so Alex, Marty, Melman, Gloria, King Julian and his subjects Maurice and Mort, make their way by ocean from Africa to attempt to find the penguins and force them to fly them back to New York. The hair-brained scheme fails and the authorities arrive in an attempt to capture the on-the-loose wild animals. The authorities are the French's Animal Control led by a terminator-like female agent named Captain Chanel DuBois, voiced by Frances McDormand. The chase scene where we first see Captain DuBois is one of the wildest sequences in recent memory.
The gang narrowly escapes only to have their plane crash land not long after. As Animal Control closes in again, they meet circus animals and lie their way onto their circus train by pretending to be fellow circus performers. They manage to stay on the train when the penguins-with the help of the monkeys disguised as the King of Versailles- use their Monte Carlo winnings to buy the circus from its unsuspecting owners. Now part of the circus, the gang meets a host of new characters. Stefano the sea lion voiced by Martin Short, Gia the jaguar, voiced by Jessica Chestain and Vitaly the tiger, voiced by Bryan Cranston, add another layer onto the dynamic of the eclectic group.
After seeing the circus perform the first time, Alex and the gang realize the only way the show will make it all the way to New York is if they help improve all the acts which they do and the London promoter who watches the show agrees to have the circus perform in New York. The scenes are funny and the acts they come up with are a thrill to watch too. But just as they hear the good news, DuBois shows up again revealing that Alex is an escaped zoo animal and not a circus animal. Even though the penguins manage to foil DuBois' plans to capture the animals, the circus knows the truth and they feel betrayed and lied to.
When the circus arrives in New York, Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria leave the group to return home to the zoo. When they arrive, the zoo is closed and it looks different in a way that makes them realize it was a mistake to return and it is in the wild where they have all their adventures and really get to experience life. Of course upon learning this, DuBois finally manages to tranquilize the animals and when they wake up they are inside their caged habitats at the zoo.
The circus meantime realizes they need Alex and his friends back and they pull off a crazy mission to rescue them from the zoo before DuBois can execute her plan to kill Alex. It is a firework-filled finale that is the perfect end to this roller-coaster ride of a movie.
I laughed hard at this movie, at both the zany one-liners from all the cooky characters as well as the fast-paced slapstick action. Sure to be a hit with the whole family and it is the best animated film of the year so far.
Review Grade- A