You gotta move it, move it to see ‘Europe’s Most Wanted’

Kevin Thomas's picture

*** 1/2

Seven years ago, I wrote a film review of “Madagascar.” The Citizen was having a contest where they wanted a kid to send in a review of a new film. I wrote one (Not my best, but hey, I was 10), and sent it in. The paper liked it so much that they wanted to talk to me. So, my mother drove me up to The Citizen and we talked to Michael Boylan for a few minutes. He liked me so much that he gave me a job as a reviewer for kids’ films. I love what I do and, though the first “Madagascar” might not be the best animated film in the world, it will always be special to me.

A few years ago, DreamWorks came out with a sequel, “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” which I did not enjoy as much as the original. Now, a few more years went by, and DreamWorks unveiled this sequel, “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.” Since the company’s last threequel, “Shrek the Third” had been far below expectations; I was especially worried that they would end the franchise that started my career on the worst possible note. Imagine my surprise when I found myself laughing more than the kids in the theater. The writers gave this film more depth, as well as more adult humor, and hopefully ended this franchise the best way ever.

Now that I’ve babbled on for a paragraph, here’s the story: Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), have been trying to escape Africa and return to the Central Park Zoo in New York. Also along for the ride are the self-idolizing King Julian (Sacha Baron Cohen), his right hand lemur Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer), and Mort (Andy Richter), who needs ADD medication. They also have the military-like Penguins, led by Skipper (Tom McGraf), who have just left the island to gamble in Monte Carlo. Realizing the Penguins will not return for them, our friends somehow find scuba masks and swim over to the hotel where the penguins are currently located. Through much comical dialogue, the animals end up making themselves known to a crazy Animal Control agent, Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand doing a hilarious French accent).

After a sidesplitting chase through Europe, the animals convince a group of circus performers to let them on their train so they can lay low. Among them are cheetah Gia (Jessica Chastain) and Russian tiger Vitaly (an unrecognizable Bryan Cranston). The circus owners don’t like stowaways, so the penguins use their gambling funds to buy the whole show. Now they all have to make the circus fun while DuBois is hot on their tails.

This is the best film in the entire franchise. It is infused with grown-up humor and a perfect amount of depth. The circus acts are amazing to behold, and Katy Perry’s “Firework,” one of my favorite songs, makes an appearance. Kids will enjoy this movie for the zany animals and the funny villain; adults will enjoy it for its literally nonstop humor. The writers of this are aware that adults and children process movies differently, so they put in constant adult humor that parents will guffaw over. I personally hope that another sequel is not made, because it would be a giant mistake to try to continue a story that already has the best possible ending.

Rated PG for Some Mild Action and Rude Humor

ctkcec's picture
Joined: 11/06/2005
Congrats Kevin

Congratulations on the milestone of over 100 movie reviews! I remember when you first began writing reviews for The Citizen and I have watched with interest as you have grown and gained depth over the years. I hope you enjoy writing these reviews as much as folks enjoy reading them. Now a question-- Is "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" going to be as bad as it sounds or is it worth the price of admission?

David Epps