Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012)

(In French, On TV, January 2016) Keeping expectations low is one of the best ways to approach the Madagascar series. Given that the second film wasn’t particularly remarkable, most should be properly primed not to ask too much from Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. Yet viewed with this background in mind, the movie becomes almost curiously enjoyable: it helps that it leaves the jungles of Africa for the urban and mountainous vistas of Europe, joining a circus for a welcome change of pace. I’ll note, out of homegrown pride, that I really did not expect a Cirque du Soleil joke in the middle of the film (“until those French Canadians came along, drunk off of their maple syrup and cheap pharmaceuticals…”) and that it was one of a few quick laughs that the movie earned. The penguins, once again, are a welcome addition to the film. King Julian, less so. Madagascar 3 also has the decency of wrapping up the trilogy in a way that could satisfyingly end there if they wished, which isn’t bad at all. Seeing this third instalment in French sadly takes away the comfort of some familiar voices—as usual, I most miss Chris Rock’s distinctive intonations. Otherwise, this is a fairly by-the-numbers animated movie, best appreciated by fans of the series so far, but more energetic than could have been expected.

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