Film: Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

WHEN THE Commodore gets a film on opening weekend, you know it’s for one of the following reasons- number one, it’s a student friendly film, readymade for the hoards of fan boys/girls that roam the Aberystwyth streets wearing their pop culture t-shirts and hoodies (I fondly recall Avengers mania last year and Harry Potter before then). Or secondly, It’s a family friendly film perfect for the second largest selection of cinema goers: children, and, of course, their parents, ready to pay for copious amounts of sweets and ice cream. And fortunately (or not) Madagascar 3 appeals to both of these groups.

Instead of being acceptably hungover from the Friday night before, seven bright-eyed, third year students set out for the opening screening of a film which had been an impending part of their lives since Marty and the gang’s first outing seven years ago. Joining a queue made up of dozens of squealing children and their reluctant adult supervisors; I say supervisors, at the head of the queue stood a large birthday party with a child to adult ratio that wouldn’t have met safety regulations. And seeing this, the students were suddenly hit by the thought that attending the opening Saturday matinee of a cartoon may not been the best idea.

Comfortably seated, children giggling on all sides, and agitated glances between said group of students having been made, the film began. Children may have talked all the way through and parents may have snapped at them to be quiet, but it was worth it.

In my mind, a successful children’s film also appeals to adults (whether students are closer to children or adults is a completely different matter). There’s something altogether satisfying about getting a joke in this sort of film that the children don’t, whether it be a Russian tiger and an Italian sea lion living up to extreme social stereotypes or the French Animal Control team rallying to the call of ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rein’. Indeed, more often than not, the laughter of the parents and brave few students could be heard above the giggles.

The film sees our loveable heroes once again trying to return home to New York, via casinos in Monaco, joining the circus, hitting Rome in a style that only “party animals” could and trying to catch the eye of a talent scout in London. The story is creative and the new characters are instantly as loveable as the regular cast. I’ve never been a 3D lover, but the circus scenes and fireworks are some of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. As always, the soundtrack is amazing, getting you singing along and in the mood for a party. And let’s face it, it wouldn’t be a Madagascar film without King Julien asking us to “Move it, move it”, although “Music Afro” may give it a run for its money in the quoteability stakes.

I’d give Madagascar 3 a strong 4 out of 5 stars for entertainment value alone. If you want serious film making I would consider seeing something else, but if you want to see a bear riding a Bugatti motorbike around Rome or a giraffe on a trapeze- which, let’s face it, who doesn’t?- then this is definitely the film for you.