Beneath the big top of the Afro Circus

 It doesn’t seem like all that long ago that the creators of the Madagascar franchise were abandoning the first film at the box office.  And for what reason?  Globally, the first film took in over half a billion dollars – and the franchise currently nears $1.5 billion in box-office receipts.  It’s clear that somewhere in the last seven years DreamWorks has pulled it together – because the latest installment Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted came complete with a heavy marketing campaign (they put stickers on bananas!) – and for good reason.

From the trailers, the film looks fun, but to be more of the same from “everyone’s favorite castaways” (a lion, hippo, giraffe, zebra and a bunch of crazy chimpanzees, lemurs, and penguins!).  Surprisingly, Madagascar 3delivers a bit more substance and some spectacular imagery (like Alex’s dreams sequence early on in the film) and some truly magical circus moments people will wish could only be translated to life.  How awesome would it be to witness a hovering and dazzling flying circus?

The various (and copious amount of) colors in this film are attractive for children, though there are some scenes and moments of dialogue that are definitely not PG (parents will need to explain a thing or two, if their children are inquisitive).  Nonetheless,Madagascar 3 is a fun movie, complete with all the classic elements a story needs to succeed.  In fact, much of this film’s success can, will, and should be attributed to the creation of Captain Chantel DuBois (voiced by Frances McDormand) – animation’s most bloodthirsty, cooky and fun villain since Cruella DeVille! Captain DuBois has a menacing accent, clear motives, and some of the most fascinating and totally awesome entrances and action sequences – but then again, of course – because she is French!

 There are a few moments throughout Madagascar 3 that play slowly, but for the most part, this is a solid film worth a view.  If you like animals and throwbacks 80s Pop and some classic rock, then you’ll love this film.  The score throughout is bumpin’ and will have you wanting to “move it, move it.”  Check out the link below to jam out to the AfroCircus!  After that, go see this movie and witness Captain Chantel DuBois and the rest of the cooky nature and color of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.

Grade:  A-


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