The little ladies and I recently went to the premiere of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, which opens today in the Netherlands. The latest adventures of Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria takes them from Africa, where we last saw them last, to Europe on a hunt for the crafty penguins and chimps who are hoping to break the bank in the Monte Carlo casino. 

The local animal control officer Capitaine Chantal DuBois, voiced by Frances McDormand, sets out on a relentless pursuit of the animals in an attempt to not only contain them, but to capture her first lion as well. The animals manage to escape the Edith Piaf-esque, DuBois, by taking cover with a washed-up circus troupe. Some of the best moments in the film happen when the animals are performing at the circus. The psychedelic show, set to Katy Perry’s “Firework“, with the animals in multi-colored afro wigs and neon body paint, put the 3D to full use and literally had the children in the theater on the edge of their seats. 

Watching the animated feature, I must admit that I thought some of things that happened were silly and unrealistic? But, hey, isn’t that what a cartoon should be? Once I got past that, and let myself enjoy the silliness, I realized there was a method to the madness, and important messages subtly woven into the storyline.

1. The importance of reinvention.
When what used to work doesn’t anymore, then maybe it is time to try something new. To adapt. Evolve. Stagnation happens when you stop taking risks, as we see with the circus animals.  A little tweak – in this case, four zoo animals bringing a different perspective to the circus – might be all that’s needed to bring big success. 

2. Home isn’t a
The animals learn the truth of
adage “home is where the heart is” and realize that the zoo
isn’t  necessarily home, but home is with each other.  

a. You can never go home. The animals viewed life at the zoo
with rose-colored glasses and had romanticized many aspects of their life there.  Their version of home has been completely
romanticized, as it has been for many of us, and only exists in their and our

3. Life is a journey.
Don’t I know it. The animals have spent the last three movies thinking it was about getting back to the zoo, but they, and we realize that it is about the journey and the things and people animals they encounter, and what they learn from and teach to others on the way. 

In what ways have you reinvented yourself, or tweaked things, lately? Have you ever tried to go home and what did you find once you got there? What lessons have you learned on your journey?

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Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary tickets to Madagascar 3. All opinions are my own.