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Film Review: Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted


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The animal stars of Madagascar have come a long way since Alex the lion first tried to escape to the wild in the story’s debut to the big screen in 2005. Yet, in many ways the loveable castaways have not changed at all: they are still dreaming of returning to the zoo and their hearts are still very much in New York.

Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman are left stranded in Africa by their troublesome winged companions, who reveal - having departed in a plane - that they have no intention of returning. They decide to take hold of their destiny by apparently paddling (the first instance where the audience must suspend their disbelief) to Monte Carlo with the intention of seeking out the penguins and chimps at the infamous casino.

Following their abrupt entrance onto the scene, the audience is introduced to the third film’s nemesis, De Bois. A crazed animal hunter from France who has become worryingly similar to her captives, she pursues the group around Rome, London and New York in the hope of gaining Alex’s head for her shrine.

Along the way, Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman, with their various small accomplices, are able to assist a failing circus act, with whom they find danger, romance and excitement. On returning to the home they’ve idealised, the foursome realise that captivity is not as attractive post-freedom.

Audience members who loved the first two films will not be disappointed by Dreamworks’ latest offering. The blend of characters continues to succeed: the loveable zoo escapees mix well with new cast members, including an over-emotional sea lion and a group of miniature bull dogs, apparently of South London origin.

The strength of the Madagascar films has always been humour and in this way, the third addition to the series continues to deliver. The penguins are the stars of the show with their intelligent comebacks and ability to outwit the enemy, but the audience is entertained in their absence too. There is an adult level to the humour in some parts, with references to the French’s minimal working hours and a humorous rendition of Edith Piaf’s ‘Je ne regrette rien’ in a hospital ward.

Just like its predecessors, Madagascar 3 is a must-see for anyone desiring some light-hearted entertainment. The circus scenes definitely require the audience to again suspend their disbelief as weighty animals are propelled through the air as part of a trapeze act, held by luminous colours which vaguely resemble ropes. However, an audience who is able to accept Alex’s comment "animals can’t drive cars, only humans and penguins can!" should have no problem with this. 3D viewing enhances the drama of the final exciting leg of the journey home as the animation appears to have been thought through carefully with this in mind.

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted may struggle to win any Oscars but it will not fail to impress the public with its persistent comedy and warm-hearted feel. Uniting young and more mature audiences, the film offers a charming exploration of friendship, love and belonging and concludes with a valuable message: it ultimately suggests that happiness does not reside in a place that we call home but rather that home resides in a place where we find happiness.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is released in the UK on 19th October.

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