It’s something that hardly ever happens with big Hollywood studio films — a sequel that’s actually better than the original movie. Happily, that’s the case with “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,” the absolutely charming and very funny third outing for those displaced New York zoo animals, including the egocentric Alex the lion, the edgy zebra Marty, the nervous-nelly giraffe Melman and his incongruous love interest, the happy hippo Gloria .
In this animated 3-D romp — where the 3-D is nicely executed, by the way — our pack of wacky animals find themselves deserted on the plains of Africa by the wily and usually devious penguins, who have flown the coop, aided by their monkey allies.
Through a series of fun — and quickly dispatched — storylines, Alex and company find themselves whirling through Monaco and Rome while spewing out well-crafted dialogue that will entertain the kids but will have adults roaring as well. Like all really good animated movies, the story works for children and their parents (or whoever accompanies them to the multiplex) — a win-win all around.