Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

This fun gang make their return

By Mark HadleyFriday 5 Oct 2012MoviesReading Time: 3 minutes

Mark Hadley suggests Madagascar 3 is the most energetic of the franchise

Rating: PG
Distributor: Paramount
Release Date: Current 

It’s a rare achievement but Madagascar 3 is a good laugh that’s probably better than either the original or its sequel. What’s more with Marty, Alex, Melman and Gloria finally in sight of New York, it delivers the best take-home message for kids so far.
 

Our wayward zoo animals opt to swim the Mediterranean in search of the penguins and monkeys who’ve decided their fortunes lie in Monte Carlo. Crashing through the local casinos, they raise the ire of Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), a legendary officer at the French Animal Control Department. Dubois determines to make Alex’s head her crowing achievement on a wall of trophies, but the downtown lion and his friends hide out in a travelling circus to escape her clutches. Now their hopes of getting back to the Big Apple rest on making its run-down show worthy of an international tour.
 

Madagascar 3 is far more energetic than any of its predecessors with the sort of non-stop action that will leave little kids little time to reach for the lolly snakes. The voice acting of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith is still fresh despite seven years since the original release. Background characters like the Penguins and the amorous King Julian (Sacha Baron Cohen) have also developed fully-fledged plotlines of their own, allowing for engaging cutaways from the main story. In fact probably one of the most hilarious moments of the film is when King Julian finally finds the unlikeliest of lovers in an overweight cycle-riding bear:
 

“Has anyone ever told you, you look like a supermodel? A very overweight, hairy supermodel?”

Previous Madagascar films have been built around fairly standard morals. The first installment taught kids that home was wherever your friends were; it didn’t matter if you were marooned on Madagascar so long as you were with the ones you loved. The second reminded them that being different wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even a hippo and a giraffe could make a life together if they loved each other. Madagascar 3 aims at something more significant. Spoiler ahead…
 

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When our four world travelers finally make it back to New York Zoo they discover their enclosures are not as they remember them:
 

Alex: Hmm… My rock looks smaller than I remember it being… 

Marty: Hey look, it’s the mural! Heh, doesn’t quite capture the real thing, does it? 

Gloria: Well, there’s our homes… I forgot about that wall between us, Melman. Was that always there? 
 

For children, change can be a threatening thing. However Alex and the gang realize that when they finally get back things back to the way they were, they’re no longer the way they want them. Marty thinks this is the worst outcome, but Alex isn’t so sure…
 

Marty: I’m sorry I ever left the zoo. Then we’d never have something to be sad about.

Alex: leaving the zoo was the best thing that ever happened to us.
 

Leaving the zoo is in fact what has made our heroes who they are today. It’s easy to believe that God is behind everything when changes deliver immediate benefits, harder when they seem to represent a loss. However our wandering friends realize that what they thought was a disaster actually led to a widened perspective of the world and each other. If we can use films like Madagascar 3 to teach our kids to see that “… all things work for good for those who serve God, according to His purposes,” then it’s more than just an afternoon’s entertainment, it’s a 3D lesson for life.