Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Movie Poster Image

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Entertaining "threequel" has some mild violence, innuendo.
Popular with kids
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Kids might pick up on some circus terminology, as well as well as familiarize themselves with the movie's locales in France, Monaco, and Rome. They'll also discover that Russians like borscht (although technically it's a Ukrainian dish) and that people go to Monte Carlo to gamble.

Positive messages

Several lessons about loyalty, friendship, what it means to be free, and not allowing past mistakes to get in the way of being bold and trying again.

Positive role models

All of the animals (except for perhaps those pesky penguins) are positive role models, even with their (usually comic) flaws. They're incredibly dedicated to each other and overcome countless challenges to stay together.

Violence & scariness

Mostly physical comedy and sight gags with the animals -- particularly King Julien and Sonya. The brawling dogs threaten people. The nefarious Captain Du Bois (who's bent on killing Alex as a trophy) isn't afraid of using her trusted dart gun or single-handedly putting three officers in the hospital. Several characters are hit with the dart tranquilizers, and eventually Captain Du Bois gets her comeuppance.

Sexy stuff

King Julien falls in love with a bear whom he calls his "big hairy beast" and compliments on her fur. They're shown snuggling together, and there are a couple of innuendo-laden jokes that will go over kids' head. Gloria and Melman are together and hug a couple of times, and Alex and Gia flirt and eventually embrace.


Nothing inappropriate, but in one scene Vitaly says that's "BULLshevik" in a way that obviously mirrors how you'd say "bulls--t." 



In the movie, a Ducati motorcycle receives a good bit of screen time. Off-screen, there are countless product/licensing tie-ins, from toys to video games to social media efforts.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, like its two predecessors, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is appropriate for virtually the whole family. There's little questionable material here, although some parents may notice a couple of innuendos, some threats and dart-gun attacks, and one almost-curse word ("Bolshevik" is made to sound like "bull---t"). On the plus side, kids might learn a thing or two about the circus and European destinations like Paris, Rome, and Monte Carlo. As always, Madagascar 3 boils down to the central relationship between the four main zoo animals, and, like the others, the third movie makes sure kids know how important it is to have unconditional friends.

What's the story?

As MADAGASCAR 3: EUROPE'S MOST WANTED opens, the four missing Central Park Zoo stars -- Alex the lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett-Smith), and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) -- are still stranded in Africa and homesick for the Big Apple. After the clever penguins build a plane and head off for Monte Carlo, the quartet summons the energy to swim to Monaco. But before they can grab the penguins, the friends wreak havoc on a casino and are pursued by determined animal-control cop Captain DuBois (Frances McDormand), who will stop at nothing to hunt and kill her one remaining animal trophy -- the lion. The only escape for Alex and his pals is to pretend to be circus performers and join a traveling circus led by grouchy Russian tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston) and sweet jaguar Gia (Jessica Chastain).

Is it any good?


Usually third (and fourth and fifth) follow-ups to a popular animated franchise are less exciting than their original films, but Madgascar 3 is a colorful, funny, globe-trotting tale. Yes, it might have a thin plot, but it makes up for that with fabulously flamboyant visuals and memorable new characters -- not to mention an over-the-top villain in Captain DuBois. McDormand is hilarious as the cleverly written animal catcher. In one of the movie's highlights, she belts out an Edith Piaf-esque torch song that leaves everyone around her with smudged mascara (even the men). With a sad backstory of loss and insecurity, Cranston's Russian tiger is one of the more complicated characters in the series, while Martin Short's sea lion is a source of continuous comic relief.

As for the central characters, Gloria and Melman have little to do but discover their love of circus performing, and Marty has his moment with that ubiquitous catchprase ("circus afro, circus afro, polka dot, polka dot, polka dot afro!"). The silly subplot with King Julien falling in love with tricycle-riding bear Sonya (who doesn't speak, only grunts) will delight kids more than adults, but the real romance is between Alex and Gia, who help each other discover that home is where the heart is, not necessarily where you used to live.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how the two sets of animals help each other. What do the circus animals teach the Central Park Zoo pals about freedom? How do Alex and his friends make the circus better?

  • How does this installment of the franchise compare to the other two? Which one is your favorite?

  • How have the animals' adventures changed them? Why is the Central Park Zoo no longer the right home for the friends?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 8, 2012
DVD/Streaming release date:October 16, 2012
Cast:Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer
Director:Eric Darnell
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Wild animals
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild action and rude humor

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Parent Written byLinVA June 8, 2012

Lots of action but lots of cartoon violence

Lots of fun, generally, for kids and parents. Full of action, but the downside to that is a lot of cartoon violence. The animal control officer clearly wants to kill the lion, not just to sedate it, and that would be scary for a younger child. And why do the penguins have to start in a casino? My kids don't even know what that is, since gambling is illegal for someone their age. Overall, it's worth going, as an action-packed, fairly funny, summer blockbuster.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Adult Written byTrami Nguyen June 9, 2012

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

I like this movie, because they save the circus!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written bynew man June 8, 2012

should be fine

i want to see this movie and cant wait too but i really just want to remind parents that its rated pg not g and its rated pg for a reason probably please keep this in mind before taking ur kids to see it this weekend but it should be fine
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much sex