Yesterday, I took three of the kids to see the new Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted. I was skeptical, as I always am about sequels, but it was actually quite fun.
The story was fresh, exciting and tied up things nicely. The humor was smart, if a little advanced at points. When the Siberian tiger Vitaly (voiced by Bryan Cranston, the dad on “Malcolm in the Middle”) says “Bolshevik” instead of a swear word – all three kids turned to me and said, “What did he say?” because they’ve never even heard that word.
I did have a serious issue with the total creep-out villainess of the movie, Captain Chantel DuBois, voiced by the versatile Frances McDormand. She has to be in the top 3 most disturbing children’s movie villains of all time, very close to Cruella DeVille or anything from Spiderwick.
She’s a strange mix of French police officer and a spider. Her too-large eyes and blood red lips that curl up in an evil sneer make her positively awful.
The crew – Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer) and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) are all back along with King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his crew, the penguins and the monkeys. They’re still trying to get back home to the zoo in New York and after a brush with the law in France, end up getting chased by DuBois across Europe. They choose the perfect cover – a run-down traveling animal circus which they, of course, band together to help revitalize.
All the animals learn about what’s really important in their lives after they conclude their adventures and (spoiler) foil the retched Captain DuBois. Good fun and I have to say the 3-D version was TOTALLY worth it. They did a great job maximizing the visual effects on this one. Go see it. I’d give it 3 ½ stars out of 4.
Here are the review of my 11-year-old and 9-year-old too (this is a not-so-sneaky way to get them to write a little over the summer):
“This was a great movie. The gang, Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria get abandoned in Africa by the penguins. So, they swim to Monte Carlo to pick them up (Editor’s note: if they can swim, from Africa to Monte Carlo, why don’t they just swim home? Sorry, over-thinking…). They try to go un-noticed but aren’t so successful with that.
They get caught by the “fuzz,” a really freaky French woman named DuBois (Doo-Bwa). DuBois is an animal killer. But all she wants is to kill and have as a prize, a lion.
To stay away from the freaky French woman, the gang joins the circus. They go around Europe, performing new and improved acts, all the while avoiding capture by DuBois. I would rate this colorful, adventurous movie #1 in the trilogy. The first movies in second place and the second one in third. (Hope you got that – So, 3, 1, 2).” – Jackson, aged 11 ½
“I really liked Madagascar 3 because it teaches you to keep a watch on others. My favorite character was Gia, (Editor’s note: a sleek leopard from the circus, voiced by Jessica Chastain, from “The Help” and “The Debt”) because she never lost hope for Alex, Gloria, Melman and Marty.
My favorite part was when the circus animals saved Alex and his friends from DuBois. The funny part was when King Julien found a circus bear as his girlfriend. So anyway, if you ever want to see it, in my opinion, it’s awesome and you’ll love it.” – Brooke, aged almost 10.
Photo courtesy: Dreamworks
Marijo Tinlin is the Editor in Chief of Family First, one of the oldest family-oriented websites on the internet. She is also the author of a book about patriotism and teaching our children to love this country called “How to Raise an American Patriot, Making it Okay for Our Kids to Be Proud to Be American.” It features 13 interviews with patriotic Americans including Ed Meese, Erick Erickson and Jackie Gingrich Cushman. It’s available at www.raisinganamericanpatriot.com.