The "Madagascar" series may not be one of DreamWorks' best franchises, but it sure is a series that I still highly enjoy though. Sure, it may not have the preeminence the first two "Shrek" films, the "Kung Fu Panda" trilogy, and the "How to Train Your Dragon" series has, but it still does have lots of zany humor, memorable characters, and in my opinion lots of charm. I'm always delighted by this series strangely enough and out of three films in the trilogy, I think "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" is the best of them. It steps up the zany humor and delivers on some new memorable characters. It's a film that really is a lot of fun.
When we last left our heroes, Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pickett Smith), and Melman (David Schwimmer) were in Africa while the Penguins (Tom McGrath, Chris Miller, Christopher Knights, and John DiMaggio respectively) went off to Monte Carlo. After a while, the four get homesick for New York City and decide to get the Penguins and continue their journey home to the Central Park Zoo. Their retrieval of the penguins goes as well as you'd think it does and ends up getting the attention of Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), the crazy leader of animal control in Monte Carlo who is determined to get a lions head mounted on her wall. After an incident gets the remains of the plane they're traveling on destroyed, the gang then decides to hitch a ride on a circus train that has only animals including a sea lion named Stefano (Martin Short), a leopardess named Gia (Jessica Chastain), and a Siberian tiger named Vitaly (Bryan Cranston) and pretend to be circus performers so they can get their way to America. However, in order to get to America, the circus has to get the deal of an American promoter and the circus itself is not very good. Hoping to fix the circus, Alex and the others decide to help turn the circus around and get to New York while also avoiding the crazy DuBois.
The film is definitely the funniest out of the three movies and also the best written which makes sense since Noah Baumbach co-wrote the movie. He's definitely worked on some fantastic movies including "Fantastic Mr. Fox" as well as the Oscar-nominated "The Squid and the Whale" and his style does seem odd for a third "Madagascar" movie, but it oddly enough works out well. The zany humor is back and better than ever and the stuff involving the circus is actually really investing. I did want to see this circus succeed and that could because the characters are one again memorable and funny. Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria still have their charm to them and seeing the latter twos relationship grow since the last movie was nice to see. I did like how insane King Julien (played again by Sacha Baron Cohen) is in this film as he falls in love with a bicycle riding bear named Sonia, but it's really the new characters that work out well. I did care about them and I can understand how much they love what they do and how the circus means to them. The passion and dreams that both Gia and Stefano have are nice to see, but it's Vitaly who is the most interesting of the bunch. He does seem very cold and heartless from the looks of it, but the film does show why he acts that way and I'll admit that I did get kind of emotional watching it. The character that steals the show though is DuBois. This is one hilarious character and Frances McDormand must've had a ball playing her due to how insane and over the top she is. Now we come to the animation which quite honestly is some of the best DreamWorks has made. There's one particular scene involving the circus that was such a sight to behold as it was filled with so much amazement and dazzle and lots and lots of color. Its scenes like that are why I adore animation. With that said though, the film isn't perfect and does contain problems. For one, the animation was clearly meant for a 3D showing. Seeing the characters sometimes get too close to the screen just looks odd in a normal showing and it's distracting. Another thing is one scene that I won't spoil does drag a bit, but not too much to get me angry.
So, I was pleased with "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted". It had a fun story, colorful animation, and some fun characters that it's certainly enough to give a recommendation. It's not amazing like the other DreamWorks' movies, but considering it's a "Madagascar" film, I didn't expect it to be. I just expected fun and zany film, and considering that's what I got, I'm pretty satisfied.