Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Entertaining "threequel" has some mild violence, innuendo.
  • PG
  • 2012
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 6+
Based on 27 reviews

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 59 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written by4250Never February 21, 2021

Ridiculously silly !

The movie has various creative directions, it really shows that I think the producers allowed each celebrity comedian to have their own creative input (because... Continue reading
Adult Written byRichManGold December 20, 2020
Written byAnonymous December 16, 2020

Why did they make this?

Madagascar should have never gotten a sequel nor a third movie. This is just awful,not very funny or memorable,the characters are unlikable,and the song choices... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byTransD0c April 10, 2021

I think it's a good movie

I think it's a good movie, sure it doesn't have an inspirational message and has a bunch of innuendos but my 9 year old sibling really enjoys this mov... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Themes & Topics

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