* * * (Joyce)
(Third time's a winner)
Those wonderful animals from New York's Central Park Zoo are back again with more traveling adventures, police chases and a stint with the circus.
While we are not big fans of 3D, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted uses the technique to enhance the fun. First, it is brighter and more colorful than most 3D films (like Prometheus). More important, there are dozens of scenes where objects and creatures fly out into the audience, to the delight of the kids who giggled through most of the movie.
Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) are all back again, along with those devious penguins and wild monkeys.
We found our heroes abandoned by the penguins in Africa. They swim to Monte Carlo, where the penguins are squandering all their money, and are pursued by Captain DuBois (Frances McDormand), leading to many wild and crazy chases. The animals hop a circus train to Rome, where they convince a dying circus troupe, led by a doubting tiger (voice of Bryan Cranston) that they are NYC circus animals.
The circus scenes are delightful, with lots of color and action and a few surprises. There are a number of new animal characters introduced, including a cheetah that steals the heart of Alex and a seal that will steal your heart. The funniest romantic couple turns out to be an enormous circus bear and a lemur.
There are lessons for the kids about believing in yourself and subtle little asides to keep the adults interested. I loved the characters and the situations they were put in and highly recommend that you go along with your kids to see this one. Joyce wasn't as carried away. She thought it was cute.
Rated PG, with some comic violence and (hoorah) no bathroom humor.