After the mishap that was Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa, it was clear that Dreamworks were “milking” the success of the first film as much as possible. But despite past examples of third instalments coming up short to the predecessors, (The Matrix Revolutions, Transformers: Dark of the Moon etc.), Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted broke this chain and brought back all the jokes we loved about the first film and more.
With the intention of still returning to their home in New York, Alex the Lion, (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), and the happy couple Melman the Giraffe, (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith), decide to track down the Penguins in Monte Carlo and get them to take them home. But when their plans go horribly wrong, as usual, they soon become, you guessed it “Europe’s Most Wanted” with the malevolent but very amusing chief of Animal Control, Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand) literally hunting them down. So how do they escape? They jump on the band-wagon of classic runaways and join the circus.
In keeping with the 2012 theme of countries coming together, Madagascar 3 introduces a barrage of new characters in the circus, all representing every comedic stereotype of Europe. You have Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), the Russian knife happy tiger who drowns his confidence issues by drinking Borsch. You have Stefano (Martin Short), the Sea-Lion with an Italian accent so strong that it somehow makes “Alex” sound like “Alice”; and you have a group of Yorkshire terriers that I personally enjoyed since they dressed like girls yet were tough British Cockneys. Hell you even had DuBois singing a rendition of “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien”. Way to keep up the French pride, DuBois! We first saw the American and Malagasy wildlife. Then we saw Africa, the home of the animals. All that was left to cover in the Madagascar series was pretty much the rest of the world.
Madagascar 3 was able to live up to its eldest brother by entertaining both the kids with the cuddly animals and bright colourful “Cirque-du- Soleil” style performances, whilst providing quality jokes and storyline for the adults to enjoy that Escape 2 Africa lacked. Besides from afros, polka-dots and circuses, Madagascar 3 provided a kids film with a story lines for adults that were both entertaining and heart-warming and would not bore them for over an hour. For example, Madagascar 3 focused mainly on Alex and continuing his life journey that was being established from the previous adventures, i.e. his addiction to meat and daddy issues. This time, the audience was introduced to a love story between Alex and Gia the Cheetah (Jessica Chastain).
Overall, Madagascar 3 gave audiences and especially fans of the franchise the sequel we were dying for. Although to be honest, the stars of this circus were without a doubt the lovably suave penguins who put the brunt of comedy and “Mad” in Madagascar. (No wonder they got their own TV series).