By this point, audiences know what they’re getting into with the Madagascar franchise; you either like the manic sugar-coated energy of the series or you don’t. I must admit that the filmmakers have been slowly converting me: I wasn’t overly-impressed with the first movie, but each successive film has actually improved on the one that came before it. This entry conveniently bypasses most of the second film’s story (Alex’s family? What?), getting our heroes out of Africa and into Europe with the type of economic storytelling that could only happen in an animated film. Once there, Madagascar 3 successfully unleashes humor (alternating between cleverly witty and randomly bizarre) at a breakneck pace. A tremendous vocal cast and flashy animation (including a brilliantly zany chase scene in Monte Carlo) cover up the lightweight storytelling and the screenplay’s disregard for narrative logic. If you enjoyed the other Madagascar movies, this one is even better; if you didn’t, it’s unlikely that the third time will be the charm.
CONTENT OVERVIEW: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is rated PG. It is filled with lighthearted slapstick violence and peril. There is brief mention of a nude circus and a Russian character exclaims “That’s Bolshevik! (substituting for “BS”). MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: Sometimes loyalty means sticking together. If we lie to and deceive others, healing and unity can come only through sincere repentance.