Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – During an ill-fated attempt to return home to their beloved New York, Alex, Marty, Gloria, Melman and co find themselves on the radar of a ruthless big-game hunter, DuBois, in Monte Carlo and hide among a troupe of circus animals to evade capture. Claiming to be circus animals themselves, they join the troupe who have dreams of performing in New York. With no circus skills to speak of and the troupe needing to be on top of their game, can the new recruits find their place in order to get home; and will the relentless DuBois find them before their reach the safety of the zoo? 

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (2012) – Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Conrad Vernon

Is Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted appropriate for kids?

By Source, Fair use,

Rating: U

Running Length: 93 mins

Starring: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer

Genre: Animated, Comedy


The animals of New York zoo have been through a lot in the franchise that follows Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo, Melman the giraffe, Mafioso penguins and some mischievous monkeys who are all now desperate to return home. Their friendships may have been through tough times but their bond has never broken and joining the circus is just another crazy moment in their journey.

The subject of real-life circus animals is increasingly becoming more and more controversial due to the cruelty and abuse that tends to go hand-in-hand with the ‘training’ that the animals endure behind the scenes. It is therefore an odd choice for a modern kids’ movie, especially as all the animals love what they do and perform acts that in the real world take years of terrible treatment to accomplish (for example the large bear who proudly and skilfully rides a tiny bicycle). However, as kids are likely to be unaware of the negatives of circus animals (and as the human ‘masters’ are quickly dispensed with so that nothing but animals remain), the characters’ enthusiasm, the colourful backdrops and the sheer joy that is brought to the screen will be enough to sell it to even the most sceptical of viewers.

With comedy that hits the spot every time, well-loved characters who continue to be loveable and a brand new adventure for the animals to embark on, ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ is a wonderfully vibrant film that everyone can enjoy.


Alex has a dream that his friends have all become old, suffering from various ailments. They are much larger than he is and loom over him with close-up shots of their faces. Alex sees himself as an old lion in a mirror which lunges out to grab him by the arms and shake him. While nothing overly frightening happens in this short scene, younger children could be scared of this shift in tone.

The penguins have a pillow fight and when one bursts, feathers fly around the room and one says ‘these pillows are filled with baby birds!’ and looks around in horror.

DuBois takes great pleasure in harming animals and boasts that ‘When (I) was 7 I strangled my first parrot, flushed my first goldfish, punched my first snake’, the latter part of the sentence is said while stroking a pen pot made from a dead snake which has had its mouth opened so the pens can be pushed into it and she laughs with glee. She opens a cupboard which is filled with bear traps and she has an empty mount for a lion’s head on her wall which is otherwise covered with dozens more animal heads.

On the chase to capture Alex and co, DuBois moves through smoke from a vehicle that has just exploded. At first, only her silhouette is seen through the red, fiery smoke and the shadows of what look like two horns sit atop her head. She slowly moves towards the camera and when her face is seen, she has a steely look and is unfazed by the devastation around her.

A well-loved, established character falls from the top of a tall building. The others in their company are shocked, gasping audibly and while any distress is short-lived, this could be briefly upsetting.

King Julian is seen walking along a power line which has electricity arcing around it. He is dazed but otherwise fine. DuBois walks along train tracks and, when the train approaches, she waits until the last second before dropping onto her back to let it harmlessly pass over her and while still underneath it, she rolls out, narrowly missing the wheels. Both of these moments which show extreme danger as nothing to be concerned about and somewhat comical could be imitable.

King Julian finds himself in a dark train carriage which has blades swinging from the ceiling and huge scratches on the walls. A child-like singing is heard, much like something from a horror movie and he sees a pair of red eyes glowing in the blackness. He soon realises that this creature is nothing to actually be scared of but for around a minute, the tone shifts to something that could be frightening for kids.

In an attempt to take a trophy from a captured animal, DuBois pulls out a large saw and goes to chop of its head while it is unconscious. When she is approached by another character, she quickly hides the saw behind her back.


With the huge controversy surrounding the plight of real-life circus animals the world over, a kids’ film about a group of exotic animals loving the circus life may not be a message all parents want to put across to their kids. However, without analysing the subject matter too much, ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ is a fantastic tale with lots of great characters, colourful backdrops and genuinely hilarious comedy that all members of the family will enjoy.

Although we feel this movie is suitable for all ages, kids aged below 6 may need some reassurance for some of the scarier parts.

  • Violence: 1/5 (a woman punches a snake in the face and expresses pleasure in harming animals)
  • Emotional Distress: 1/5 (characters who have been lied to are devastated to learn the truth saying ‘you used us’ and one even says ‘I could have died!’)
  • Fear Factor: 2/5 (DuBois is quite a scary villain and her relentless and ruthless pursuit of the animals makes her almost invincible)
  • Sexual Content: 0/5
  • Bad Language: 1/5 (one character yells ‘Bullsh-evik!)
  • Dialogue: 2/5 (DeBois is very threatening in her speech and when one character’s history is covered they are shown to be upset and damaged by the memory)
  • Other Notes: Deals with themes of returning home, friendship, circus life, achieving great things with the support of loved ones, realising you have grown beyond your past, prioritising what’s important, love, motivation by obsession and believing in yourself and your abilities.

Words by Laura Record

Related Posts

Share this review!Share on Facebook4Share on Google+0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Tumblr0Pin on Pinterest0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Digg thisEmail this to someone