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Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted: Movie Review

Craig von Buseck, D.Min.


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OK, so let's begin by saying that the "Afro-Circus" song by Marty the Zebra in the rainbow-colored wig (voiced by comedian Chris Rock) is a highlight of the third installment of the Madagascar movie franchise. The kids laughed uproariously in the theater where I saw a preview of the film – and I'm confident you'll smile at the crazy segment, even if you've seen the trailer or the clip on YouTube.

The "Afro-Circus" song represents the tone of the entire film – it's fun, colorful and fast-paced. But, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted offers more than just fun. It's a movie with heart and some valuable lessons for kids and parents alike.

The movie opens with Alex (Ben Stiller) and his Brooklyn Zoo castaway buddies, Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), still searching for a way to leave Africa and return to New York. They follow Skipper (voiced by co-director Tom McGrath) and his band of crazy penguins as they hotwire a plane and fly to the casinos of Monte Carlo looking for a ride home.

This zany band of zoo animals catches the attention of villainous French animal-control officer Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand), who wants to hang Alex's head on her wall. On the run from DuBois, the animals pose as performers to hitch a ride on a circus train, where they team up with Vitaly the Tiger (Bryan Cranston), Gia the Jaguar (Jessica Chastain) and Stefano the Sea Lion (Martin Short).

After the circus is booed out of town for their lackluster performance, the blubbery Italian sea lion, Stefano, hopes Alex's ideas can bring the show back to life. The only problem – Alex and the team are not circus performers. But they are yearning to get home, so they find a way to motivate the real stars of the show, while learning a thing or two about circus life themselves.

With the inspiration of Marty's "Afro-Circus" shtick, the film transforms into a cartoon three-ring visual and musical extravaganza, with eye-popping effects and gymnastics one can only see in a digital movie.

It is fun and high-flying, just like the circus should be. But it's all built on deception, and eventually, all lies unravel. So when their circus friends realize they have been deceived, the show seems to be over.

It's an important lesson for young and old alike. But repentance, forgiveness, and the value of friendship are other virtues to be learned as the circus comes together to fight the evil Captain Dubois.

In addition to the laughs and the moral lessons, Madagascar 3 serves up a delightful digital tour of some of Europe's most beautiful cities and majestic mountains. As a fun time at the movies for the whole family, Madagascar 3 will leave you feeling good and humming "Afro-Circus" for days to come.

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About The Author

von Buseck

Dr. Craig von Buseck is a published author, popular speaker, and Digital Content Manager for the Parenting section of Craig is also a contributing writer for, MTL Magazine, Charisma Magazine, and The Write Conversation blog. He holds a Doctor of Ministry and an MA in Religious Journalism from Regent University. Craig’s recent book, 'I Am Cyrus: Harry S. Truman and the Rebirth of Israel' won the prestigious Selah Award for Christian nonfiction and was nominated for The Truman Award by The Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. Craig’s other books include 'Victor