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Review: ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ is Furry Jesus

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

Madagascar 3 I was in a bad mood all day when I went to see this movie. A real bad mood.

I was looking forward to seeing it, however, because I decided it would cheer me up. I wasn't expecting it to be great and cheer me up; I expected it to be bad, and then I would get to take out all my frustrations on it in my review.

Essentially, if this movie was not the second coming of Furry Jesus, I was going to rip it a new orifice which I would then proceed to assuage my rage.

Can I even write that?

Anyway, you read the headline; this movie cheered me right up in the way I did not expect it to. By not sucking. Also, by not only not sucking, but by really not sucking a lot.

Story

I saw the first Madagascar movie. I did not, mea culpa, see the second. (Bad furry movie reviewer! Bad!) Apparently nothing happened in that second movie; the returning cast contained no one I was unfamiliar with.

You have Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), a trio of lemurs, a quartet of penguins and a duo of chimpanzees. All are looking for a way back to New York City, where they used to live in the zoo – except for the lemurs, who apparently just came along for the ride.

The penguins and chimpanzees have made it to Monte Carlo, where they made a lot of money by disguising the latter as the King of Versailles and betting it all on black at the casino. Unfortunately, Alex fears they plan to abandon him and his friends, so they try to rejoin the penguins, with disastrous results. A bizarre French animal control officer (Frances McDormand) is dispatched to track them down, dead or … well, dead.

While trying to escape, they find a traveling circus, and convince its animals – including tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), jaguar Gia (Jessica Chastain) and sea lion Stefano (Martin Short) – that they are also circus animals. Eventually, they learn that if the circus can impress an American talent scout in a London showing, they can go to America! So, obviously, the penguins buy the circus with their gambling winnings.

By the way, the island of Madagascar does not actually appear in this movie.

The Greatest Show on Earth

The first half of the movie had me licking my chops, preparing my best barbed one-liners. It was very messy, like a series of vaguely connected shorts – as if the filmmakers had decided to make a series of Chuck Jones tributes and missed the mark by a mile.

But stick it out, because the second half of the movie is worth it. It all begins when Stefano takes Alex aside after a disastrous performance at Rome and explains why the circus is in such bad shape. From that point on, instead of veering off into bizarre tangents at unexpected moments, the movie sticks with this story until it’s over.

Alex, a natural showman, takes over the circus, convincing the animals that things have to change. He points out Cirque du Soleil as a bizarre inspiration; they dropped their animal acts, and gained a following. Alex argues that they go the opposite direction; all animals, all the time.

And it shall be called … Fur Power.

The movie starts rolling during a practice session; there are some quite touching character moments, as both zoo and circus animals find their talents. At last, the London performance takes place, and the movie plays it amazingly, beautifully, wonderfully straight.

Our heroes can finally return to New York! But… is it still what they want? And what about that crazy French woman?

Final thoughts

At the end of the day, the only reason I went to this movie was because, well, I review movies on Flayrah. Given my own druthers, I would rather have skipped this one. Great, I thought as I looked at the local showtimes, I am going to have to miss Prometheus on my one free night because I feel obligated to the furry fandom, God knows why.

Which is silly, even hypocritical, for me to think, because I am the guy always saying, “If you’re a furry fan, you should want to watch this movie” at the end of my reviews. So, sorry about that, and thanks – I almost missed a good movie.

I decided to make a night of it and pull a double feature; Prometheus ended up sucking. Funny how that worked out.

Note: As usual, I watched the 2D version of this one, so no comment on the 3D.

Comments

Your rating: None

You did not miss much by missing Madagascar 2. It was definitely inferior (in my opinion) to the first Madagascar movie (too much of the Crazy Old Lady). I have not seen Madagascar 3 yet, but on the basis of The Art of Madagascar 3, I expect to like this movie best of all (no Crazy Old Lady).

http://www.awn.com/articles/books/book-review-art-madagascar-3

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

I am vaguely familiar with a Crazy Old Lady in the first movie (it's been a while since I saw it); if it is the same character I remember, I have no idea what she's doing in a movie set in Africa. Also, however, if it is the same character, there is, indeed, no Crazy Old Lady.

Though Crazy French Lady may make up for it; she's the weak point of the movie, though she serves adequately as a hateable villain.

In a completely unrelated note, seriously, Jessica "Oscar nominee for The Help, plus Tree of Life and Take Shelter" Chastain as Gia the jaguar. That was awesome.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Yeah, the "Bad Kitty" lady is definitely better off as a minor joke in the first movie than a somewhat significant character in the second.

Your rating: None

I've gone to see all of the Madagascar movies opening night on all of them. I agree that by far this was the best.

As for the opening cast of this one...I found it odd that they left Africa without saying goodbye to anyone. Not even Alex's newfound family.

I was having reservations about this movie as well (like I always do for the third movie in a series of this kind) and was originally going to wait for your review before watching it, but opening night someone offered to pay for me, and I'd have watched a Justin Bieber concert if it were free.

One thing that made me laugh painfully loud in an otherwise-quiet theater was when the Animal Control lady sacrificed Yoshi to get to the other side of the cliffjumped off of her scooter to land on the roof of the building.

But, man, I was worried this movie was gonna suck for nothing. It's like a replay of my thoughts on Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (thought the third movie in a "furry" series was going to suck, had someone offer to buy me a ticket, thought it was the best one in the series, both plotwise and aesthetically).

Your rating: None

You must LOVE Spongebob as well :)

Your rating: None

The premise was cleverer than the execution oftentimes, but it was certainly watchable.

Your rating: None

It's just that... if this makes a lot of money, more animated flicks like this will get made.

As if there aren't any better ideas that deserve to be animated.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Yes. As I said in my review of The Art of Madagascar 3, "DreamWorks clearly does not want to say that this is the final feature in the franchise. Further sequels are vaguely hinted at but nothing is promised." Madagascar 3 is already making a LOT of money.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Sometimes you are correct.

This is one of those times.

Your rating: None

$73,785,626 so far, according to Box Office Mojo, and it has been out for less than a week. I hope to see it tomorrow.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Actually, there was an air of finality to this movie; I think DreamWorks is putting more effort into the DreamWorks brand recently, rather than individual franchises as brands. I think at this point, a "Penguins of Madagascar" theatrical feature will happen; as for the rest of the cast, however, well, I mentioned shorts in my review for a reason. I think that may be the franchise: a series of shorts, POSSIBLY EVEN THEATRICAL.

Uh, that wasn't caps for emphasis. Phone typing.

Your rating: None

As far as comparing "Madagascar 3" and, say, Mister Twister's favorite, "Leafie," well, ther is room for both, and the fact we have both types in animation today is a sign of a healthy industry, I think.

I think I put it best in my "Puss in Boots" review last year; we should be grateful not only that we have both, but that we have excellent examples of both.

Your rating: None

Well, I did see Madagascar 3 today. Curiously enough, I agree with almost all of the comments that I've seen. Is it the best of the three? I enjoyed it the most, and it is better than Madagascar 2 in every respect. The computer graphics are excellent, the 3-D effect is the best that I've ever seen, and the characters are very charismatic, especially the four Zoosters. The story -- sucks. It is all over the place. It feels like DreamWorks kept piling gags and spectacular scenes upon each other until they had 93 minutes of footage, and then said, "We've got enough to fill a feature. Let's stop!"

The plot is full of contradictions. To point out a minor spoiler, the villainess, Capt. Dubois the Animal Control Officer, who only wants to kill Alex and mount his head on her wall (and did you notice that the movie never makes up its mind whether she is the French Animal Control Officer or the Monte Carlo Animal Control Officer -- not that Monte Carlo is a nation; it should be Monaco -- or are they implying that Monte Carlo is part of France?), tracks the Zoosters from Monte Carlo to Rome, where she almost catches them until she is arrested for both operating recklessly in disregard of public safety, and operating outside of her jurisdiction. Fine. Then the circus moves on to London, Dubois breaks herself and her men out of the Rome jail, and she is after them again. Even after the Zoosters return to the New York City Zoo and are locked back in their cages, this just means that they cannot escape from Dubois and her men any more. What happened to the French officers (in French-style uniforms with fleur-de-lys) operating with deadly force outside their jurisdiction when they no longer have any excuse?

And the penguins call her "the Crazy Lady". Is she supposed to stand in for the Crazy Old Lady in the first two movies?

I did admire the ending. It can be interpreted equally as a grand climax for all three movies, and as a setup for a fourth movie. DreamWorks has covered itself both ways.

Madagascar 3 is 93 minutes well spent.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

As of today, just two weeks after its release, Madagascar 3’s box office is $137,373,722 according to Box Office Mojo, putting it ahead of the total box office of Rango ($123,477,607) and closing in on the totals of Puss in Boots and Rio. Will it catch up to Kung Fu Panda 2 and the first two Madagascar movies?

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logical_fallacy/Appeal_to_popularity

Your rating: None

Is there a wiki article on appeal to Wikipedia?

Your rating: None

You can make one.

Your rating: None

There's Appeal to Authority :3

Heaven is not a place, it's being with people who love you.

Your rating: None

Brave sounds interesting.

Heaven is not a place, it's being with people who love you.

Your rating: None

Also, Mister Twister, we're not trying to prove the movie is good; we already know its good.

Now we're celebrating the good movie's success; Madagascar 3 admittedly playing against a weaker field this year ( a musical, a hacky sci fi movie and Adam Sandler were its primary b.o. competition, and against those, it deserved to win).

Brave will probably blow it out of the water this weekend (review soon!), but even then, yep, it's the better movie.

I mean, read my review; it's like my very own letter to Celestia. Perhaps the moral of my story is one you should consider.

Your rating: None

I don't think I can appreciate this kind of movie.

Sym-Biotic Titan is still cancelled. And Penguins of Madagascar is still on air.

Your rating: None

Good baloney is good baloney, and will never be mistaken for caviar, but you can develop a taste for either, and it helps to know the difference between the good baloney and the bad baloney just as much as it helps to know the difference between good caviar and bad caviar, to steal a metaphor from Stephen King.

If you don't like baloney, what are you doing watching kid's cartoons anyway?

Edit: And just to drive the point home, I Googled Sym-Biotic Titan (because you do have decent tastes), and found out its creator is the director of the Mad Monster Party? remake with Adam Sandler currently at the top of Flayrah.

So, yeah.

Your rating: None

Ew, balogna.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

I actually don't like balogna either.

Your rating: None

He needs money to eat.

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

He could afford balogna.

Your rating: None

Just two days later, and now Madagascar 3 has reached $157,574,000, passing up the totals of both Rio ($143,619,809) and Puss in Boots ($149,260,504). Now Kung Fu Panda 2 ($165,249,063) is in sight. Too early to tell about Brave, but it’s looking good -- $66,739,000 after only two days.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

The New York Times has an article confirming Brave’s and Madagascar 3’s weekend box offices and totals (which, since it’s only 3:00 p.m. PST on Sunday, seems a bit premature). Other information is that Brave cost about $185 million to produce. Does anyone doubt that it will earn at least that much?

Brave and Madagascar 3, two anthropomorphic features, lead at the box office this weekend. We rule!

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/pixars-brave-leads-weekend-box-offi...

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

I was kind of expecting a let-down - I mean, after all, how many movies can produce two sequels that are watchable? Still, the movie proved to be just as good as the other ones. I especially liked King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen's character) in this one, I think SBC should do way more voice acting because his voice is so distinct and animated in a way that really brings a character to life. Also, loved his goofy take on Nelly's "Hot In Herre" I didn't want to but I actually laughed out loud when I saw that in theaters

Your rating: None

Three weeks, and Madagascar 3 is at $171,772,000 and still going strong, leaving Kung Fu Panda 2 ($165,249,063) and the lowest-end Pixar feature, A Bug’s Life ($162,798,565) in the dust and almost certain to pass Madagascar 2 ($180,010,950), Cars 2 ($191,452,396), Toy Story ($191,796,233), and the first Madagascar ($193,595,521). But Brave is coming up fast ($108,002,000) after only one week. And now Ted was released yesterday ($20,200,000).

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Week four: Madagascar 3 stands at $190,645,000. Bye-bye, Madagascar 2 ($180,010,950). Look out, Cars 2 ($191,452,396) and Toy Story ($191,796,233) and Madagascar ($193,595,521); Madagascar 3 is right behind you!

Uh-oh! Here comes Brave roaring up ($160,595,000), after only two weeks. Madagascar 3 was only at $137,373,722 at its second week. And Ted ($98,147,000) after just a week and a day!

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Week five. Madagascar 3 has topped the $200,000,000 mark.

Ratatouille ($206,445,654)
*Madagascar 3 ($201,275,000)*
Monsters vs. Aliens ($198,351,526)
Happy Feet ($198,000,317)
Madagascar ($193,595,521)
Toy Story ($191,796,233)
Cars 2 ($191,452,396)
*Brave ($188,158,000)*
Madagascar 2 ($180,010,950)
Ice Age ($176,387,405)
Kung Fu Panda 2 ($165,249,063)
Puss in Boots ($149,260,504)
*Ted ($143,746,000)*
Rio ($143,619,809)
Rango ($123,477,607)

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Week six. Madagascar 3, Brave, and Ted, 2012’s top anthropomorphic features (not counting Ice Age: Continental Drift, which has only been out for a week), have already out-grossed all of last year’s leaders – Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Rio, and Rango – and they are still going. Brave is just about to catch up to Madagascar 3.

WALL-E ($223,808,164)
Beauty and the Beast ($218,967,620)
How to Train Your Dragon ($217,581,231)
Aladdin ($217,350,219)
Kung Fu Panda ($215,434,591)
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ($213,863,500)
Ratatouille ($206,445,654)
*Madagascar 3 ($206,275,255)*
*Brave ($202,749,186)*
Tangled ($200,821,936)
Monsters vs. Aliens ($198,351,526)
Happy Feet ($198,000,317)
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ($196,573,705)
Ice Age: The Meltdown ($195,330,621)
Madagascar ($193,595,521)
Toy Story ($191,796,233)
Cars 2 ($191,452,396)
Madagascar 2 ($180,010,950)
Ice Age ($176,387,405)
*Ted ($170,419,815)*
Kung Fu Panda 2 ($165,249,063)
Puss in Boots ($149,260,504)
Rio ($143,619,809)
Rango ($123,477,607)
*Ice Age: Continental Drift ($68,423,306)*

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Week seven. Brave has passed Madagascar 3. Last year’s anthropomorphic leaders look sickly in comparison to this year’s.

WALL-E ($223,808,164)
Beauty and the Beast ($218,967,620)
How to Train Your Dragon ($217,581,231)
Aladdin ($217,350,219)
Kung Fu Panda ($215,434,591)
*Brave ($214,261,000)*
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ($214,030,500)
*Madagascar 3 ($208,670,400)*
Ratatouille ($206,445,654)
Tangled ($200,821,936)
Monsters vs. Aliens ($198,351,526)
Happy Feet ($198,000,317)
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ($196,573,705)
Ice Age: The Meltdown ($195,330,621)
Madagascar ($193,595,521)
Toy Story ($191,796,233)
Cars 2 ($191,452,396)
*Ted ($188,461,000)*
Madagascar 2 ($180,010,950)
Ice Age ($176,387,405)
Kung Fu Panda 2 ($165,249,063)
Puss in Boots ($149,260,504)
Rio ($143,619,809)
Rango ($123,477,607)
*Ice Age: Continental Drift ($105,547,000)*

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

Week eight. Madagascar 3 is still in release, but its growth has slowed so much that it is unlikely to climb much higher. Brave is currently the 15th highest American theatrical grossing animated feature in history. (This does not include foreign theatrical grosses, merchandising, home-video sales, etc.). Madagascar 3 is #21, and unless it surpasses The Lorax, unlikely to rise above 21st place.

Toy Story 2 ($245,852,179)
Cars ($244,082,982)
Shrek Forever After ($238,736,787)
WALL-E ($223,808,164)
*Brave ($220,434,040)*
Beauty and the Beast ($218,967,620)
How to Train Your Dragon ($217,581,231)
Aladdin ($217,350,219)
Kung Fu Panda ($215,434,591)
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax ($214,030,500)
*Madagascar 3 ($210,264,830)*
Ratatouille ($206,445,654)
Tangled ($200,821,936)
Monsters vs. Aliens ($198,351,526)
Happy Feet ($198,000,317)
*Ted ($197,935,235)*
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ($196,573,705)
Ice Age: The Meltdown ($195,330,621)
Madagascar ($193,595,521)
Toy Story ($191,796,233)
Cars 2 ($191,452,396)
Madagascar 2 ($180,010,950)
Ice Age ($176,387,405)
Kung Fu Panda 2 ($165,249,063)
Puss in Boots ($149,260,504)
Rio ($143,619,809)
Rango ($123,477,607)
*Ice Age: Continental Drift ($123,462,859)*

Fred Patten

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About the author

crossaffliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy

Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.