How is it that DreamWorks Animation can pump out gems like ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and ‘How to Train Your Dragon’, yet utterly fail over and over again with the ‘Madagascar’ franchise? Don’t believe those ads that claim that, “The third time’s a charm.” This false advertising couldn’t be farther from the truth. With ‘Europe’s Most Wanted’, the third ‘Madagascar’ is dumb, effortless and a new franchise low.
Despite the title, not a single frame of the movie is set in Madagascar. Instead, we pick up with our zoo animals stuck in Africa. The penguins, who have gone off to Monte Carlo to earn enough money (via gambling) to buy a private jet, are the only hope for their return to the New York City zoo. The non-penguin characters have grown restless waiting, and head to Monte Carlo as well. With the penguins having taken the airplane/helicopter, how do the other animals get there? They swim. No joke. We see them arrive in the port with nothing but snorkels.
While trying to escape a casino with the penguins, Animal Control is contacted. It’s at this point that we meet our villain, an evil Animal Control lady who wants to catch the lion and mount his head of her wall. Even though our central animal characters escape Monte Carlo and make their way to mainland Europe, she and her henchmen follow the loosed zoo animals all over the European continent.
In their travels across Europe, the zoo animals join a circus and find a new style of living that’s much more comfortable and easy than anything they’ve ever known. What’s the moral of the story? Join a circus.
I wasn’t keeping tally (which I like to do during movies that I predict will be awful), but I probably laughed less than five times throughout ‘Europe’s Most Wanted’. At this point, it feels like DreamWorks isn’t even trying to make this franchise entertaining. In fact, this movie’s so bad that I’d rank it with ‘Hoodwinked‘.