Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

June 14, 2012

‘Madagascar 3’ moves to best beat of series

Movie Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — The more I succumb to my own addictive movie buff nature, the more I seem to be able to suck in those around me, even if they at first seem to have no interest in what I will view. This has certainly been the case with my poor wife on too many “that look” occasions and at first with this series of zoo animals traversing the globe.

Though I’ve now seen the entire trilogy in theaters, it took a DVD rental to encourage her introduction and with the latest, it may be the best result of my meddling. The first two chapters certainly screamed tailor made for  distracting the youngest audiences, but in a year of impressive storytelling, it’s as if everything that needed to click did for the third. “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” takes what could have been a very tired journey and adds a spark that actually moves it ahead of the pack.

The story picks up where “Escape 2 Africa” left off with Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schwimmer) all starting to get pretty bummed about not being at their zoo home in New York. While waiting for the penguins led by Skipper (Tom McGrath) to return to pick them up after heading off to seek more riches in Monte Carlo, they get impatient and decide to catch up with their former associates who have developed a skill for gambling at a casino.

Unfortunately they screw up in classic slap stick fashion and attract the attention of a blood thirsty animal control agent named Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand). This begins one of the best choreographed chase scenes in animated history (this from a guy who knows his Scooby Doo), which is made near perfect when they secretly join a circus led by quirky animals like Stefano the Sea Lion (Martin Short) and Vitaly the Tiger (Bryan Cranston). It’s also perhaps the most emotionally complete movie of the series and would be at least worth an award nomination or two.

In the end, it’s a movie everyone will be able to find something they enjoy and safe enough even for the youngest audience. Perhaps the only thing missing this time around was that familiar old lady telling Alex he’s a bad kitty, but with this being so fresh, I’d not be surprised if they milk it in this new direction.

I really don’t think I’ve even laughed as much as I did at this chapter compared to the other two with gags also reminiscent of the “Pink Panther” or “Naked Gun” franchises. It’s also the first I really would consider adding to a collection, perhaps as a three movie package. Thus the final verdict for “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” is four out of five lemurs.

Movie viewing experience courtesy of the Royal Twin Theater of Pauls Valley.