I attended with my 8 year-old daughter, who giggled consistently through the whole thing before proclaiming it to be her favorite of the trilogy. Dreamworks knows its audience and hit it pretty well for the whole movie, from the music to the jokes to the themes.
They don’t waste much time on character or plot development and launch pretty much straight into the action. Younger kids won’t miss out too much by not having seen the first two, but there is a lot of continuity from those to this one and some of the little inside jokes will make more sense to them if they have.
As a dad I thought it was easily the funniest of the three, and it moves the fastest as well. The film’s main antagonist, animal control officer Madame DuBois, seemed like mostly an afterthought, and serves mostly as a source of physical comedy and gags before the big finale. They have her in an oddly placed musical number at one point, singing a patriotic song to help revive her less capable and laid up colleagues from Monaco Animal Control, but she’s never really scary enough to bother little kids.
The 3D was fairly well done and at least doesn’t detract from the experience. They hit all the required 3D gags at some point during the film but there are actually a handful of scenes where it really does seem to add a bit to the experience, at least for the young ones. My daughter loved the 3D pyrotechnics during one sequence, so if 3D is your thing then you won’t be disappointed. If you’d rather spend that extra cash on a $5 box of Raisinettes instead then you also won’t be missing anything Earth-shattering.
Madagascar 3 doesn’t tread any new ground as far as the lot of PG-rated Dreamworks Animation flicks go, but they execute well enough that kids and parents will all find something to laugh about. Make sure you get your popcorn and hit the head before the movie starts because it goes pretty much straight from lights down to over-the-top action sequences. Your kids will love it and you won’t have to worry about them leaving scared or sad about anything they see.
Madagascar 3 opens this Friday, June 8th.