Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
- Director:Eric Darnell
- Cast:Sacha Baron Cohen, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Ben Stiller
- Release Date:September 13, 2012
- Running time:93 minutes
- Film Worth:$15.00
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Genuinely funny and gleefully entertaining, its creators aren’t afraid to throw everything they’ve got at the screen to see what sticks – and a lot of it does.
The great thing about DreamWorks Animation’s Madagascar franchise is that it always packs in jokes for those members of the audience who may be old enough to drive. The third installment maintains this tradition: it’s very often laugh-out loud funny, and in very clever ways, piling movie references onto visual gags and well above-average dialogue for this sort of film. There are constant nods to James Bond, the Bourne franchise, the Mission: Impossible movies, and, essentially, any other light thriller that has used Europe as its backdrop (there’s even a reference to the original Italian Job).
Refreshingly eschewing any pretense at setting up the characters (realistically acknowledging that the kids in the audience have seen Madagascar and Madagascar 2 twenty thousand times on DVD), the action kicks in immediately and never lets up, as our whacky stable of animal misfits, led by Ben Stiller’s lion, Chris Rock’s (very funny) zebra and David Schwimmer’s giraffe travel first to Monte Carlo, and then to Rome, London, and finally New York, joining – and invigorating – a circus along the way.
The locations are lovingly and realistically depicted, from the detailed interiors of the Hotel de Paris and the Casino de Monte Carlo (heavy gambling surprisingly featuring in a family film) to the Colosseum in Rome and New York’s Central Park Zoo. Using 3D for the first time in the series, the trio of directors make a party of it, hurling planes, circus props and famous national monuments at us in a blatant and successful attempt to entertain through sheer spectacle. DreamWorks Animation has traditionally relied on epic scope, zany antics and fun for fun’s sake (whereas Pixar tends to focus on more intimate, and emotionally engaging, stories) and Madagascar 3 continues that ethos: it’s ludicrously silly, and that’s a big part of its appeal.