Dreamworks Animation doesn't get the accolades it's chief competitor Pixar gets, Dreamworks Animation's only Oscar was for the first "Shrek" in 2001. The probably should have garnered two - many felt that "How to Train Your Dragon" got robbed in 2010.


However, there is one thing they do that Pixar doesn't - they crank out animated films forty going north. In 2010 they whipped out "How to Train Your Dragon", "Shrek Forever After" and "Megamind" along with several shorts. In 2011 they produced "Kung Fu Panda 2" and "Puss in Boots" along with eight shorts and videos. Pixar produces about one feature length animated film per year and maybe a couple of shorts.


Another thing that Dreamworks Animated does is cash in on a hot property - sequels and and sons of sequels. Ergo "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted". The Madagascar franchise makes lots of money for Mr Spielberg's company.

The first "Madagascar" earned $193 million domestically and over $530 million worldwide. "Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa" earned $180 million domestically but over $600 million on the global stage. Both production budgets were less than $150 million. As I've said many times, Hollywood isn't in the business of making movies, they are in the business of making money. So once again a billion dollar franchise is tapped.


As is usually the case, many people felt that "Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa" wasn't up to par with the first. It felt too Lion King-ish; lost some laughs.


So director Eric Darnell brought in Noah Baumbach to help with the writing. Baumbach is known for "Fantastic Mr. Fox", "Margot at the Wedding", "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" and "The Squid and the Whale". An interesting call yes... but a well played gamble.


"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" may have achieved that rare tag of best of the series. Yes, better than the first and easily better than the second. It is non-stop laughs from start to finish.

After Alex (Ben Stiller) has another of his recurring nightmares that the penguins were not coming back to get he and his pals Marty (Chris Rock), Melman (David Schwimmer), Gloria (Jada Smith), and the rest - the decision is made that they should go to Monte Carlo and catch up to the penguins.


Soon they are approaching Monte Carlo ala Navy Seal style, with the hotel where the Penguins are staying in sight.


They devise a plan - which includes chewing out the penguins for leaving them in Africa - which starts out fine but quickly falls apart with the animals scaring the human customers out of the casino. Of course this was just as King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) was about to score a huge gambling payout!


Bedlam breaks out and the number one animal control agent is called in to action. Captain Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand) is right on the case, not to catpure the animals for safety, so she can add Alex's head to her vast trophy case.

Seemingly trapped by the dogged efforts of Captain DuBois, Alex and his friends (now includingt he pnguins and lemurs) make their escape by boarding a circus train heading to Rome.


On board the train are a reluctant group lead by Vitaly (Bryan Cranston) a proud tiger that jumps through impossibly small holes; he was the top act of the small circus. Now it's up to Alex and his friends to try to fit in with the circus animals or suffer the fate of Captain Dubois)


This is a laughfest extraordinaire with Marty being the funniest, but the rest of the cast not far behind. From the subtle gag to the obvious slapstick variety, Eric Darnell has

created one of the funniest animated films in years with vivid colors not diminished by the 3D. It's not important that it's a's just plain fun!


"Madagascar 3: Europes Most Wanted" puts the whim in whimsical and is fun for every age...seriously. This is the best of the three and one that will have you laughing hours after you have left the theater.   -- GEOFF BURTON