If you love relentless action, neon colors, hilarious music numbers (‘I Like to Move It’) and lots of fur flying around, then Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is an ideal stress reliever for you. (And the best part about such movies is you can always take a much needed nap when the child/children beside you are beside themselves with giggles.)
Directors Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, and Conrad Vernon have really done a good job with pacing; you nearly don’t have time to take a breath from the incessant jokes. The movie is just right for the summer when the boredom of office doom begins to dissolve with the promise of picnics in the park, fireworks by night, cocktails by the pool and lots of blockbusters at the theatre.
In this installment of the Madagascar franchise the four NYC buddies from the Central Park Zoo end up in Monte Carlo, Paris and Rome, chasing their deceitful penguin friend-foes, who are the most hilarious thing here. Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are also as funny as ever, with Marty winning me over in every frame he is in.
The slapstick scene in the casino is to die for, and there is a new dimension to the franchise with the introduction of poisonous gendarme Captain Chantal DuBois (Frances McDormand). In a chase that will make you hiccup with laughter she defies physics in ways that mimic some of the biggest (and stupidest) blockbusters, crashing through concrete walls as if they are raspberry jelly. Animals have to seek refuge on a circus train with a grumpy tiger Vitale (Bryan Cranston), enchanted seal Stefano (Martin Short) and foxy Jaguar named Gia (Jessica Chastain). A fiery romance is ignited between King Junien XIII (Sacha Baron Cohen) and a huge female bear in a tiny pink tutu but the merits of this plot development were questionable for me (even though I am sure Mr. Cohen enjoyed the part immensely).
This is Rio three times faster and funnier, but the action does get a little tedious, and the directors try to dilute it with some slower moments of characters having to face their fears, or decide whether the cages of their beloved NYC zoo are their home or their prison. Don’t expect major character development or profound philosophical digressions; this if for fun only.
Verdict: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is a rollercoaster of laughs where your jaw gets tired and your head is a little dizzy from the bright spectacle, supersonic speeds and spastic characters you love so much. Perfect for a summer pre-lunch matinee.