It’s hard to imagine a situation in which Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted could have ever been fresh (it is the continuation of the enormously popular Madagascar and Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa). The fact that it has arrived after those two movies only highlights how creatively bankrupt Hollywood can be. Instead of giving something new and interesting, studios are content to give viewers a rehash, in 3D.
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted reminds me of Shrek the Third which was also made just because the first two films made a gazillion dollars. And like that movie, Madagascar 3 is happy to offer bits that have worked before – like King Julien singing ‘movie it move it’, the penguins with extraordinary know-how and the usual heartfelt lessons on the importance of friendship. There are a few new things like the streets of Monte Carlo and a casino heist, but they feel like needless additions.
Unfortunately, the screenplay co-written by Eric Darnell and Noah Baumbach is rife with idle humor that often falls flat. This time around, our heroes Alex the Lion (Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Rock), Melman the Giraffe (Schwimmer), and Gloria the Hippopotamus (Smith), in an effort to return from Africa to New York crash land in Europe. They’re forced to look for alternate ways to go home and one of them involves joining a circus troupe. The target audience - little kids might giggle and somewhat love Vitaly the Russian daredevil tiger the former star of the troupe, or Gia the feline trapeze artist who has the hots for Alex. When Captain Chantel DuBois, head of the animal control unit (voiced by Frances McDormand) shows up the plot gathers a little bit more momentum, but not enough to keep one thoroughly entertained.
On a positive note, co-directors Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath and Conrad Vernon move the film along at a brisk pace with an ideal running time of 85 minutes.
The CGI animation looks impressive but not so much in dim 3D – Darnell, McGrath and Vernon hardly bother to do anything interesting or inventive with the extra dimension; you get the sneaking suspicion that the only reason it was made in 3D was so that theaters could charge extra amount per ticket.
Ultimately, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted has colourful scenery but feels mostly lazy and humourless.