(Spoiler Alert: Post includes a review of “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted”)
When we arrived at the “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” advanced screening on Saturday morning and were seated in a special “press” section without having to wait in (a very, very long) line, and after the women with the V.I.P. guest list referred to me as a journalist, I thought perhaps I should write a review of the movie.
Since the whole family was there, I enlisted Dylan and Riley as my assistant editors.
I reminded Dylan to pay close attention to his favorite parts of the movie in between shoveling fists full of popcorn into his mouth.
No easy task.
Mike was my personal assistant (ha!). He was in charge of managing popcorn refills and other miscellaneous tasks like fetching extra 3D glasses and taking the kids to the bathroom. I couldn’t be bothered with such tedious tasks as I had really important journalistic things to do…like taking pictures of Dylan and me in our 3D glasses.
Plus, he was sitting closest to the aisle.
After the movie ended, I asked the boys for their feedback:
Riley: “That movie was great.” (Really? He wouldn’t wear his 3D glasses for most of the film. Everything was a blurry, dizzy mess. Just another day in the life for this kid.)
Dylan: “That was a really cool movie. That movie was awesome. And it wasn’t scary at all.”
Two thumbs up so far.
Here’s my take: It was fun and funny, BUT a lot of the best bits were in the trailer, which, thanks to Dylan, I saw a billion times before we set foot in the theater. Also, you just can’t beat the incredible story-telling and character transformation that took place in the original “Madagascar” where Alex and Marty’s friendship – and Marty’s life (remember “Excuse me, you’re biting my butt”?) – were at stake. Still, I like how they realized the value of their world adventures and new friends, which made the home they longed for – the New York City Zoo – seem a lot less homey. Finally, it was utterly implausible. How on earth, in the first five minutes of the movie, did they get from the plains of Africa to the shores of Monte Carlo…with snorkeling gear? But, it’s a movie about a talking lion, zebra, giraffe, and hippo, so who am I to judge?
The verdict: Thumbs up from the Runaway Mama. (My personal assistant liked it, too.)
On the drive home, Mike noticed Dylan staring thoughtfully out the car window. He asked him, “What are you thinking about?” Dylan’s response was, “How come there was no fire? All the threes have fire.” Mike and I looked at each other wondering if Dylan was sleep-talking with his eyes open. “What do you mean?” Mike asked. Dylan said, “All the threes have fire. Toy Story 3 had fire, Star Wars 3 had fire, and the Chipmunks had fire, too.”
(Editor clarification: There was, indeed, a fiery and scary garbage dump scene at the end of “Toy Story 3.” And there was a hell of a lot of fire and evil in “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” when Anekin became Darth Veder. And in “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked,” there was an explosive and flaming volcano scene at the end.)
Mike and I looked at each other and thought two things: (1) he’s absolutely right and (2) we have one smart kid on our hands. I mean, I know he’s mine and I think everything he does is genius – well, except for peeing on trees and saying “that’s yuck” instead of “that’s yucky” – but listening to him connect those dots made me happy for the rest of the day. Well, at least until Riley peed on the bathroom floor. Next to the toilet.
I reminded him that there was fire in “Madagascar 3.” The Russian circus tiger, Vitaly, faces his fear at the end of the movie and leaps through a ridiculously small metal hoop lit on fire. It was preposterous! But the point was well made. If you can dream it, you can do it.
“Oh yeah,” Dylan said. “But it wasn’t scary.”
So there you have it. “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” gets three thumbs up. It’s a great, cool, awesome, and fun movie. And there is fire, but it’s not scary.
Can you think of any other movie “threes” with fire?