Movie Review

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

MPAA Rating: PG for some mild action and rude humor.

Reviewed by: Laura Busch
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family Teens
Genre:
Animation Family Adventure Comedy Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 33 min.
Year of Release:
2012
USA Release:
June 8, 2012 (wide)
DVD: October 16, 2012
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Relevant Issues
Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Reviews

Madagascar (2005)

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)


animals in the Bible

lions

Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.

Featuring: Ben StillerAlex (voice)
Chris RockMarty (voice)
David SchwimmerMelman (voice)
Jada Pinkett Smith … Gloria (voice)
Sacha Baron CohenKing Julien XIII (voice)
Cedric the Entertainer … Maurice (voice)
Andy Richter … Mort (voice)
Frances McDormandCaptain Chantel DuBois (voice)
more »
Director: Eric Darnell
Tom McGrath
Conrad Vernon
Producer: DreamWorks Animation
Mireille Soria … producer
more »
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Will Alex the Lion and his four-legged friends ever get back home to their beloved New York City? Alex (Ben Stiller) and his zoo pals, Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer), and Gloria (Jada Pinkett-Smith) have been abandoned by the penguins, who have taken their airplane to Monte Carlo to gamble. More homesick than ever for their home at the Central Park Zoo, Alex and the gang make their way to Monte Carlo to find the penguins and head back home, but in true Madagascar fashion their plans are foiled when their plane breaks down once again. With a broken plane and a crazed animal control officer (Frances McDormand), nipping at their heels Alex and his friends join a traveling circus of animals on their tour across Europe. As they make their way across Europe, Alex, Marty, Mellman, and Gloria become friends with the circus animals and help them breathe new life into the dying circus act. As Alex and the gang help their new circus friends rediscover their passion for performing, they might just have a chance to get back home to the Big Apple once and for all if they can just impress the American talent scout at their performance in London.

The third installment of the Madagascar series stays true to the franchise’s over- the-top and often campy cinematic style. This latest installment is by far the most visually stunning with its vibrant symphony of colors, which come together in several beautifully choreographed animated sequences. Like it’s predecessors, Madagascar 3, is replete with pop culture references. Pop culture find its way into every aspect of the film from the film’s soundtrack, which includes songs ranging from Enya to Katy Perry’s now ubiquitous pop hit, Firework to the film’s aesthetic, which is filled with numerous visual references to other iconic film’s, such as “Mission Impossible” and the “Matrix.” Madagascar 3 holds its own as a movie, but in my opinion Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is the stronger and more entertaining of the two sequels. Madagascar 3 feels about 10 minutes too long, yet somehow this film’s deliberately ridiculous brand of humor and colorful aesthetic somehow all seem to work together to bring audiences a funny and entertaining movie.

The Madagascar franchise cannot be compared to the classic Disney and Pixar movies. Madagascar 3 lacks the strong and clear-cut morals that are almost always present in Disney’s animated films. While Madagascar lacks some of the charm and innocence of the Disney fairytales, it is certainly cleaner and more endearing as a film franchise than Dreamworks’ other animated franchise, “Shrek.”

Some of the more negative elements of Madagascar that may be of concern to some parents includes, several mentions of the penguins and apes gambling in Monte Carlo. There is also a moderate amount of comedic animated violence in the style of the old Warner Bros. Anvil cartoon gags. For example several characters slap each other, we see some of the characters get hurt and crash into things, many characters defy the laws of physics and fly through the air, the animal control agent shoots a gun, etc.… As far as sexual content is concerned, several of the characters are in romantic relationships. Gloria and Melman are still together, in love, and are very supportive of each other. King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) falls in love with one of the circus performers, a large bicycle-riding bear. King Julien delightedly remarks about her “very hairy back” and tells her “he likes that in a woman.” There is also a very cheesy slow motion sequence, where King Julien is taken by the bear’s beauty. This sequence is presented in a style that pokes fun at supermodels. Julien and the Bear are married in Vatican City and steal the Pope’s ring, but it is later recovered by the police. There is a brief joke about a circus that performs in the nude. There is a small amount of language. The word stupido is used about 5 or 6 times. In one scene, stupido is written on a mirror in lipstick. We hear “oh my G-d” uttered once and one of the characters exclaims, “that’s Bolshevik” in lieu of the profanity, BS. One of the circus performers tells Alex, “I know you think we’re just a stink poopy circus…” The strong presence of pop culture references may be of concern to some parents as well.

The strong and loyal friendships among Alex and his group is one of several positive elements in the film. The concept of admitting your wrongdoings, trust, and forgiveness are touched upon as well. Conquering one’s fears and facing one’s failures is one of the positive themes that really stands out in the story. We see the characters encouraging one another to face their fears, follow their live’s passion, and we also see them working together harmoniously to put together a fantastic circus act.

Even though Madagascar’s lacks the strong central moral that is consistently present in Disney and Pixar films, there are still positive lessons to be found in this film. Madagascar 3 is certainly one of the cleanest and best choices in theaters right now. Madagascar is probably most appropriate for slightly older children, and I wouldn’t recommend it for very young kids, though younger audiences will certainly enjoy the beautiful animation, bright colors, and gravity defying circus tricks. The showing that I attended was filled with junior high and high school age kids, who thoroughly enjoyed the film. Madagascar is a solid choice for a movie night with older grade school kids and teens, and is a great alternative for teenagers, rather than the usual innuendo laden PG-13 films targeted at junior high and high school kids.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—This actually wasn’t half bad. I think the trailers highlighted most of the stupid parts. I definitely liked it better than the second one, but still not as much as the first. I liked the cool circus parts, and the colorful new characters. But I do hope this is the last installment; it did seem like a conclusion to the story, but with the Hollywood sequel machine you never know. Two things I have to say: 1) King Julian is getting OLD! He was funny in the first one, but now I just want to shoot him. 2) Who came up with the “Circus Afro Song” and thought it was funny?! The first time Marty sings it, it was kinda funny in an “oh my that was stupid” kind of way. But why sing it again? And again?! And blending it with “I Like to Move It”? Why, for the love of Pete?!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Kadie Jo, age 20 (USA)
Positive—The movie was hilarious, the best MADAGASCAR in my opinion. A good heartfelt, family movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Jason, age 33 (USA)
Positive—…a good movie. The story was good. The acting was good. The music was good, as well. I actually enjoyed this film, and I knew I would. I had seen the previews and knew it was going to be funny. Will it be in my DVD collection? No. Probably not. Can I recommend it though? Yes. Thank you Dreamworks. Good job!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
Alexander Malsan, age 22 (USA)
Positive—Well, I laughed! This has been a lowly year for movies, so far. I have only truly enjoyed a few, and most others were a waste of time and money. This one didn’t hurt my feeling that I went to see it. The kids viewing were laughing, the color was nice, plot somewhat engaging, and I hope the animals have finally found happiness. The kids will like it!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Dorell Proshek, age over 50 (USA)
Positive—This movie, was probably the movie that brought me and my mother close. We both stood up and danced to the music. (Yes, we were in the theater, but no one else was in there.) We sang along, we laughed, we cried, that’s why I love this movie, I also love it because it’s so funny!…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Hannah, age 12 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I was happy with the movie until they portrayed the Roman Coliseum as a place for a circus, and Alex the Lion made the comment that the lions had a “captive audience” there. I have visited the Coliseum twice and think of it as holy ground where many Christians martyrs lost their lives. Maybe I’m too sensitive, but let’s not forget what happened at the Coliseum where many Christians gave their lives for our faith.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Patricia Reed, age 59 (USA)
Neutral—I agree with the comment about the Christians and the lions at the Coliseum. This was a joke not primary to the storyline and found it inappropriate. Over the kids’ heads, but that’s point—why put it in there!?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Michael Johnson, age 36 (Canada)
Negative
Negative—There were a couple of good laughs, but, overall, I think they tried to push this too far. They should have quit with 2.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—David, age 70 (USA)
Negative—I brought my 5 year old and 8 year old to this movie. I was very disappointed. My 5 year old was scared for most of the movie, and I found the overall feel of the movie to be dark. There were too many innuendos and profanity that they tried to hide by changing the words slightly. My children are too young to catch all of it, but I was shocked by what they tried to sneak in. They pushed a bit too far in this movie for my liking. My 8 year old enjoyed the movie though. My 5 year old not so much. As a mom, I would have to conclude that junior high and high school is the appropriate age for this movie and not younger.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Angela, age 35 (Canada)
Negative—I was not impressed with Madagascar 3. It was very gloomy, and the lighting wasn’t that great, due to the scenery. Madagascar 2 was a lot funnier and warmer (my son can watch it all day long). I also didn’t like the music, or should I say the lack of music, other then the fireworks song and afro circus. The characters in Madagascar 3 were also kind of scary, such as the tiger and the creepy woman officer. They definitely were not like Motomoto lol. And last, but not least, I barely heard Gloria and absolutely loved her character.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Christina, age 28 (USA)
Comments from young people
Positive—This was a very cute movie. …I was overly impressed. The way they portrayed the antagonist was overly exaggerated and not scary at all. The theme was more about friendship than anything else, and how you should face your fears and never give up.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Better than Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Sarah, age 11 (USA)

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