Stuck in Africa, Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria endeavour to return to their beloved New York City zoo, via Europe, in the third DreamWorks Animation Madagascar flick. Now playing nationwide. Also playing in 2D.
You wouldn’t expect the third instalment of an animated franchise to have much in the way of legs, particularly when telling as simple a tale as what’s on offer here. But by combining an insubstantial storyline (animals try to return home to New York and end up in a circus en route) with the familiarity of its characters, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted avoids many of the pitfalls commonly encountered in family fare.
There’s no plodding opening to set the scene, no patient introduction to its ensemble, and no over-reliance on redemptive arcs or other predictable narrative devices that can be understood by both the youngest and oldest theatregoers and everyone in between.
That’s not to say this is some conceptual art-piece free of all structure, just that Madagascar 3 is essentially just a chase/quest film that picks up where its predecessor left off and moves at a healthy clip from there. At this point you’d be forgiven for thinking that there must be a lot of padding to be had, but luckily the urge to stuff this full of musical numbers to get it to feature length has been resisted, and instead the effort’s been made to cram the film full of jokes to an extent that I wasn’t expecting.
From the fits of giggles emitted (by the adult) next to me in the film’s more absurd moments to the approving children’s laughs at its slapstick, Madagascar 3 proves a crowd-pleaser, and one that is better than it really has any right to be.