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Western Animation / Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

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Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is a 2012 computer-animated comedy produced by DreamWorks Animation, and is a sequel to 2005's Madagascar and 2008's Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

The animals are still trying to find a way back to New York, and end up journeying to Europe, where they find help in a traveling circus. While dodging a fanatical animal control officer, they help make the circus a spectacular success as a means to an end (said end being getting to America).

Although it doesn't have a proper sequel (due to a planned fourth film being removed from the studio's schedule), the spinoff film Penguins of Madagascar takes place a short time after this film.


Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted provides examples of:

  • And the Rest: The New York City mayor welcomes back Alex... and the three other animals who happen to be with him.
  • Artistic License Geography: Monaco is not part of France, so DuBois shouldn't have any jurisdiction there as a French Gendarme. Justified in that she doesn't care.
  • Ass Shove: One of the kids in the audience starts pelting an elephant with spitballs, and said elephant loses his balance. No prize for guessing where the kid ends up.
  • Badass Boast:
    Vitaly: I once was a brave tiger... and if I go down in flames, (laughing) so be it!
  • Becoming the Mask/Going Native: The Zoosters masquerade as circus animals to hitch a ride on a circus train which is headed to New York where the zoo is. However, they grow attached to the circus and make new friends with the circus animals along the journey. And they eventually choose to stay with the circus in the end.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Vitaly's performance; jumping through a hoop that may be only a few centimetres wide, and on fire; it's literally described as being physically impossible. In the climax, this is taken Up to Eleven when he jumps through a keyhole, carrying Marty and manages to take off his afro wig and put it on Marty while jumping through it.
    Marty: I'm impressed!
  • Book Ends: Following in line with Shrek Forever After, the third movie ends with Chantel Du Bois and her lackeys getting shipped in a crate to Madagascar much like the gang in the first movie.
  • Call-Back: The Central Park Zoo clock features a lion attacking a zebra, referring to the main plot of the first film.
  • Captain Obvious: There's an Italian one in charge of incarcerating DuBois (not for long though).
  • Character Development: The Penguins cement their transition into their The Penguins of Madagascar personalities in this movie. We see that Kowalski has created a 'nuke'-ular powered SUV, and Rico is specifically shown providing the dogs with rocket skates and using powerful explosives - one brief moment even shows him affectionately cuddling a stick of TNT.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: At one point as the group flees the casino, Kowalski winds up carrying Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman. All at once.
  • Chase Scene: With the Zoosters (and Julien, Maurice, and Mort) fleeing from Capitaine DuBois in Monte Carlo (and eventually joined by the penguins and monkeys). And it is absolutely madcap and insane.
  • Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys: Totally averted with regards to Captain DuBois and her equally determined and indestructible sidekicks. However, they do get a jab in at the French labour laws only requiring employees to work "two weeks a year".
  • Chekhov's Skill:
    • Alex's ability to cut things with his claw (like the glass, or DuBois's harness loop) comes in handy later when he needs to teach Vitaly how to safely resume his act.
    • Everything the characters come up with for their circus act in the third film.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Alex's parents do not appear and are not even mentioned in the third film. In Zuba's case this may be due to Actor Existence Failure on the part of Bernie Mac and not wishing to recast out of respect, but it's odd they aren't even mentioned in dialogue.
    • Moto Moto also disappears, but he was a minor character to begin with.
  • Circus Episode: The zoo gang join a circus to hide from an insane animal control officer.
  • Clown Car: As the monkeys make a deal with the ringmaster to buy the circus, you can see a large number of clowns piling into a Clown Car, with the Ringmaster getting in as well.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The penguins, thinking someone should tear down the Coliseum to build a bigger and better arena.
  • Cool Car: The car the Penguins hijacked, which features three sets of Omega-3 oil slicks and a nuclear reactor.
  • Cool Airship: The 'Afro Circus' used in the finale.
  • Cool Train: The circus train, a colorful Art Deco steam engine.
  • Creepy Children Singing: Parodied in the third film. The lemurs discover Sonya the bear's trailer, and when it shows the sharp weapons, you hear what appears to be this trope. But then it turns out it was just Mort singing.
  • Dark Reprise: "Alex, the lion!" of the first film in Europe's Most Wanted, complete with subdued colors, night sky, and the characters being less lively, which is also noticeable in comparison to Alex's memory of it at the start of the movie, when viewing the mud model of New York.
  • Defictionalization: In-universe, Trapeze Americano. Something completely made up out of wholecloth, with each of the Zoosters trying to outdo the others to impress the circus animals, ends up coming completely true in a Grand Finale ending for Alex to take out the Big Bad. And it is awesome.
  • The Determinator: Capitaine DuBois. Between chasing animals miles out of her jurisdiction and nation and ramming through office walls and windows like they are paper while chasing the gang, you'll understand what one critic meant saying "she makes Cruella De Vil look like a quitter." Her determination is so strong that she can instantly heal her partners through the sheer inspirational force of her singing.
  • Distinction Without a Difference/Its Pronounced Tro PAY: Inverted with Kowalski's special invention for the getaway car... Gloria certainly knows how to pronounce the word, but Skipper knows what it really is...
    Skipper: We need more power! Time to fire up Kowalski's nucular reactor.
    Gloria: That's a nuclear reactor?!
    Skipper: Nuke-ular.
  • Dream Intro: The film starts with Alex having a dream about the penguins going away to Monte Carlo, but they don't plan to come back, leaving Gloria, Marty and Melman to become old in Africa and the scenery turns black-and-white. When he notices his old self, the latter shakes him which makes him wake up.
  • Eagleland: The American promoter.
  • Epic Fail: Circus Zaragoza's performance in Rome, which made things even worse for our heroes considering that the penguins had just blown most of their money purchasing that circus.
  • Establishing Character Moment: The audience gets to know DuBois when she gives a speech to her subordinates about all the animals she's killed, complete with a heavy French accent, over-the-top gun twirling and shooting a dart at the spot on her gallery where a lion head is supposed to be mounted.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: The rainbow Marty flies through after being shot from the cannon, which may also have served as an inspiration for the neon circus act in London.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: With the last of the money from buying the circus, Skipper buys himself false teeth. Then he has them capped in gold. Now he can eat apples!
    Skipper: (mouth full of teeth) Then I discovered I don't really like apples...
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The first time Gia appears at the door of the boxcar (when Alex says they're circus), a musical snippet of their love theme, "Love Always Comes As a Surprise", plays, and just before this when Alex is trying to convince Vitaly to let them on, a snatch of his theme song "Light the Hoop on Fire" which is heard in its entirety during his Backstory scene, plays.
    • When DuBois samples Alex's hair while tracking him, she notes, "Glossy mane. Too much conditioner." Said conditioner becomes a plot point late in the film.
    • Gia moans she's tired of sitting, staying and rolling over. Guess what Alex has DuBois do in the climax?
  • Funny Afro: Need we bring up "Afro Circus"?
  • Funny Background Event:
    • You can see Bluehair's poodle and the duckling that got gobbled by the crocodile, King Julien's gecko, Steve and a few other Dreamworks/Madagascar critters. on Dubois' trophy wall.
    • One of Dubois's men (the same one that appears to be wearing mascara during her rendition of Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien checking out her butt while she sniffs the animal musk. Proceed to him getting slapped by the guy next to him.
    • During the scene when Alex is giving his Rousing Speech to Vitaly, a Chalk Outline of the lion can be seen on the wall, with knives sticking out of it from target practice.
    • "Hyperdrive!"
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: Played with in Vitaly's case. At first it seems he is falling prone to the Malaproper aspect of the Funny Foreigner, since he makes the inadvertent puns "Wipe that Smirnoff your face and Popov!" with an absolutely straight face and no indication he knows he got the words wrong. This is subverted later though with his Getting Crap Past the Radar (literally!)/Unusual Euphemism moment, since he most certainly knew what word he should have said instead of "bolshevik"...
  • Furry Reminder: In the scene where Vitaly the tiger and Alex the lion are arguing about the former's leaving, Alex tries to tear away some of Vitaly's things; a ball of yarn flies free and they both spontaneously start to roll it and bat at it like regular cats.
  • Grand Finale: This film concludes the Zoosters' journey back home to Central Park Zoo. But their time spent with the circus makes them realize they truly belong there.
  • Groin Attack: The old lady Nana did not appear in the movie, so Alex was safe from such an attack from her this time around. But when he, Marty, Melman and Gloria ride by train with the circus, Vitaly throws his knives at them, and he comes very close to hitting the lion in the groin after all.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Aside from the one in charge being a Captain Obvious, the cop who holds DuBois in prison thinks he's smart by checking on the Concealing Poster and looking for a Ceiling Cling, but in the end he falls prey to Fakeout Escape and Decoy Hiding Place.
  • Hartman Hips: Capitaine Dubois has quite a large and plump bottom half.
  • He's Back: Vitaly lost his passion after being burned in his ring-jumping act. With help from Alex, he regains his confidence and becomes a star again.
  • Historical In-Joke:
    Alex: (in the Colosseum) You know, my ancestors used to perform here.
    Marty: You don't say?
    Alex: Yup, they had a captive audience for every show.
    Marty: Really?
    Alex: They say they really killed.
  • Human Cannonball: Marty and Stefano choose the cannon act for their part in the circus.
  • I Choose to Stay: Alex and the gang finally make it back to Central Park Zoo in New York City, but realize that they have grown to prefer being free after all, and so decide to become a part of the circus permanently.
  • Impact Silhouette: Gloria leaves one in the casino's steel lockdown door after her Negated Moment of Awesome.
  • Irony:
    • The very thing Vitaly made fun of, Alex's glossy fur and mane, ends up being what helps him survive the fiery hoop unscathed, via the non-flammable hair conditioner, and then gives him back the glossy fur he used to have.
    • DuBois ends up being Alex — roaring at Central Park Zoo.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Though the animals that do so are small enough that an actual cake is used, and Mort ate a fair portion of it from the inside.
  • Killer Rabbit: The toy dogs. One of them is voiced by Vinnie Jones!
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Done to DuBois when she's shot with her own tranq dart, made to pose on Alex's rock just the way he used to do, made to lie down and roll over, and eventually shipped off to Madagascar.
  • Leitmotif: DuBois has one whenever she makes an appearance.
  • Lipstick and Load Montage: Used as Captain Chantalle Du Bois is called out to capture Alex. We see her loading up briefly, and then she finishes by applying her lipstick and popping her lips.
  • Love Theme: "Love Always Comes As A Surprise" for the relationship between Alex and Gia.
  • Meaningful Echo: Complete with accent.
    Alex: And if we go down in flames? So be it!
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: When the circus resolves to save their zoo animal friends.
  • Monumental Damage: This happens to some of the ruins in Rome during Sonya and Julien's Falling-in-Love Montage.
  • Mood Whiplash: Amidst all the colorful wackiness of the third movie there's a quiet drama scene with Alex the lion and Vitaly the tiger. In the middle of it, for no apparent reason, the two cats have a brief slap fight over a ball of yarn.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Vitaly.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Skipper says that after they double their money on their last roulette they'll return to Africa and pick up the "hippies" to bring them back to New York. Then the Zoosters crash the casino, literally.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: If the series continues beyond the third film, it will have to take on a different focus since Alex and the gang finally make it back to Central Park Zoo in New York City and realize that they prefer being free after all.
  • Not What It Looks Like: When Alex leans on the pulley, ends up dragged up by the rope, and dropped into Gia's arms...just in time for the tarp to drop and reveal them to everyone else, complete with a Dramatic Drop by one of the elephants.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Russian, not Latin, but this accompanies Vitaly's more threatening moments.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Martin Short's Italian accent as Stefano drops when he strains his voice, like when crying for help.
  • Out of the Inferno: DuBois's appearance at the casino is this, thanks to a car the penguins' SUV ran over.
  • Parasol Parachute: DuBois does this during the finale.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party:
    • The completely awesome rescue of the Zoosters by the circus animals during the finale makes use of everyone's abilities and acts — from Stefano's cannon act shooting the line across the park, to Gloria and Melman's dancing, to Gia's trapeze act pulling Alex out of the line of fire, to Vitaly's hoop jump getting Marty out of his cage through the keyhole, to Julien and Sonya's bike act, all of it made possible by the penguins and the monkeys rebuilding a flying machine to carry the circus into battle. Even Mort gets to tranq DuBois. Alex's Defictionalization of Trapeze Americano also makes use of multiple characters: Marty, Gia, the dogs' rocket boots, even Dubois as she accidentally frees the 'aquatic' cobras!
    • As a Visual Gag this also occurs in a lesser form during the infiltration of the casino, where the four vents on the roof are each shaped like one of the Zoosters.
  • Product Placement: All over the place, but the third movie in particular has this gem:
    Italian prison guard: (stuck in his own cell as DuBois uses his PC) Is that the sound of my HP printer printing?
  • Reveal Shot: Melman, wondering how he and the others are going to escape from the cops when the circus boxcar is right behind him.
  • Rousing Speech: To rally the circus animals, courtesy of Alex.
  • Rule of Cool: Vitaly's ring jumping act. It is explicitly noted to be in total defiance of the laws of physics, but not only is he capable of slipping through impossibly small holes, he can carry Marty with him. Through a keyhole. Note that the wire fencing around the door has much wider gaps than the tiny keyhole!
  • Saving the Orphanage: A major part of the plot of the third movie, with both the future of the circus animals and the Zoosters getting back to New York depending on turning Circus Zaragoza into a success so they can win the contract from the American buyer. And despite the cliche, it's carried off beautifully.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Inverted. DuBois isn't in it for the money. She just wants Alex's head on her wall.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Skipper mentions he wants to invoke this in regards to the laws of physics, specifically that he wants to be so rich he can fly a solid gold airplane. Fortunately, this never actually happens.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When the penguins prepare to push the chimp army too far, they bail on them.
  • Self-Deprecation: In the second advert for the third film against the mash-up between I Like To Move It and Afro Circus.
    "Status report."
    "Some good news: this song is almost over."
    "Well, that's music to my ears."
  • A Simple Plan: The four Zoosters will slip into the casino through the air ducts; Julien, Maurice, and Mort will shut off the power; and then Alex will be lowered down through the skylight he and Marty got open so he can snatch the King of Versailles and they can make their escape. Naturally it all goes wrong: Alex and Marty get into an argument over who should lead and why which ends with Gloria accidentally smashing through the skylight so they all drop in full view of the people, and Julien, who had been constantly demanding to know if it was time to shut off the power is suddenly too "busy" stuffing pencils in his mouth, nose, and ears to bother with it until it's almost too late. The whole thing ends with the penguins bringing in their SUV, the casino being wrecked, and DuBois being called in to capture them.
  • Snap Back: Escape 2 Africa ends with Alex finding a sense of belonging in Africa and happily telling the Penguins they can take as long as they like. This film opens with Alex as desperate to return to New York as he ever was. Can possibly be justified by the fact that the penguins have apparently been gone a really long time.
  • Spent Shells Shower: Parodied with the banana machine guns, which shoots the banana and ejects the peel.
  • Stepping-Stone Sword: Vitaly throws his knives to be this for Stefano when he's trying to escape DuBois.
  • Team Hand-Stack: The Zoosters do this at the beginning.
    Alex: To home.
    Marty: Home!
    Melman: Home.
    Gloria: Home.
  • That Man Is Dead: Despite his overall aggressiveness, Vitaly gives the second kind of response (regretful) to Alex when the lion asks where "the other Vitaly" went, which is what lets him end up proving he isn't gone after all.
  • Theme Music Power-Up:
    • The French animal control people recover from their hospitalization miraculously once Chantel starts singing.
    • Vitaly's theme, complete with Soaring Russian Chanting, plays during the London show after Alex inspires him to stand by his friends and resume his act better than ever.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: When Marty is shot out of a cannon, the Born Free theme reappears.
  • Third-Act Misunderstanding: It's only after their successful London show that the truth of the Zoosters not being circus animals is revealed (courtesy of a flyer DuBois brings with her)...by which point, of course, the Zoosters had not only established close bonds with the circus animals and vice versa for two of them, but had realized they enjoyed being in the circus and didn't really belong in the zoo any more or want to go back to it. It's actually rather heartbreaking.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Alex, when facing off with DuBois.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: When the circus arrives in New York City, the completed One World Trade Center (a.k.a. "Freedom Tower") can be seen in the background, indicating that the events of the film take place at least a year after its film's release in 2012, when the tower was still under construction. (However, the proposed Two World Trade Center won't be built. Interestingly enough, the 2008 second film shows the original Twin Towers during Alex's childhood.)
  • Underestimating Badassery: In a rare total aversion, the Zoosters and the penguins take DuBois seriously, and DuBois views Alex has a Worthy Opponent.
  • Up, Up and Away!: Vitaly assumes this position when leaping through the ring.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The fossa from the first film are just trying to survive and Makunga from the second film is more of a Jerkass than a villain. Captain DuBois on the other hand, is out to murder Alex. As in literal, first-degree, premeditated murder. Even after Alex is re-contained in the zoo (at which point her warrant expires, and Alex becomes zoo property), she makes it very clear that she won't be satisfied while Alex still draws breath.
    DuBois: (to Alex more than to the Mayor) It was never about the money.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Julien and Mort burst from the cake early in the film, Mort says "My tummy is speaking to me". Cue a river of pink oozing from the tiny deranged critter's mouth.
    Julien: Uh, I wouldn't eat that side of the cake if I were you.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Lola, the above-mentioned bobble-head doll, is neither seen nor referred to in the third film. This strikes one as a little odd, considering the trip to Monte Carlo was supposed to be her's and Skipper's honeymoon. The recap of the previous movie even changes the line from "honeymoon" to "gambling spree". Melman did note he didn't expect it to last, however...
    • The legions of African chimps that Mason and Phil recruited to the gang in Escape 2 Africa bail on the gang when Skipper tries to overwork them, and are never seen again.
  • Where It All Began: The climax takes place in the Central Park Zoo. Though this time, all of the heroes are trying to escape it, having decided to remain free.
  • Younger Than They Look:
    Gia: Show me!
    Alex: Pfft, "show me". What are we, five?
    Gia: I am five!
  • Your Makeup Is Running: Captain DuBois at the end of her rendition of "Non, Je ne Regrette Rien", as well as her male subordinates.

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