I’m rhyme-y today. How do you like that?
First of all let me just say that we here at the house of Toni are some kids’ movies super-enthusiasts. I loved Madagascar. I shed tears of joy in Madagascar 2. And my heart pretty much exploded like a firework over this last Madagascar. Because? It’s FREAKING BRILLIANT.
I’d be justified in ending this post right there. I love this movie. It’s not vulgar, not stupid. Just funny, sweet, and inspiring. And, p.s. I almost always give away the ending; so if you haven’t seen it yet, read the rest of this and watch it anyway, because it is just that good.
If you’ve got kids under 10, you know how Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria have struggled to find their place in the world. They started in relative happiness at the Central Park Zoo; they wanted to vacation in Connecticut and wound up on the lemur-covered island of Madagascar. Then they made it to the continent of Africa. This whole time all they can think about is how awesome it would be once they finally got back to New York.
In Madagascar 3, the animals are making yet another attempt at flying over the Atlantic. After a shady run in Monte Carlo, they crash-land somewhere in Europe. In order to escape the police, they hop on a circus train filled with animals who do lame acts. (And this is all hilarious, by the way.) Coincidence? I think not. Here’s where it gets extra awesome.
King Julien falls in love with a giant bear on a tricycle. For the past two movies, he was a king determined to rule not only Madagascar but also Africa and eventually New York–until he meets his “hairy queen”. For once, he is absolutely smitten with someone besides himself and it. is. precious. Sonja and Julien? Most beautiful love story in the entire history of the world. He steals the Pope’s ring for her. He buys her a Ducati. When they have their first fight, it is just heartbreaking. No, really. I…actually cried.
And the rest of the animals? Their only chance at getting back to New York is by wowing the pants off of an American circus promoter, so they set about the business bringing the circus back to its former glory…and then some.
Alex does trapeze. Marty gets shot out of a cannon. Melman and Gloria dance on a tightrope together. There are lasers and neon and lights and colors and gigantic smiles on the faces of all the animals. They are free and alive. They are seeing the world. They inspire the other animals. They entertain the crowds and they make the children happy.
Best of all, they wear rainbow-colored afro-wigs and sing maniacally.
It’s beautiful, really, the way these animals finally find their hearts’ desires (thrill, freedom, friendship of circus life)–even though they set out in the beginning seeking something totally different (the security and tranquility of the zoo).
So here I go off on my tangent: Isn’t life just like that? We think we want one thing and then life takes us for a crazy ride and we realize we’re totally happy and fulfilled with something quite the opposite of what we started out to find.
I know that has been just about the way of it for me. What I think will bring me peace usually brings me pain. Avoiding my fears doesn’t give me courage. And sticking to the expected, well-worn path leads me to a safe, secure…DEAD END.
If I had had my way, Caleb and I would have stayed in Florida 8 years ago. We would have closed on the house we were scheduled to buy. Caleb would fight mad traffic to and from his 8-to-7 Mon-Fri desk job. We would have played with our kids in our backyard the size of my dining room table. We would have hung around our same friends and stuck ourselves with the same habits and never broken out of our same box. We’d have gotten drunk on the beach every weekend and we (or at least I) would have run home to the parents whenever trouble of any kind reared its ugly head.
But God had other plans.
And so here we are. In Oklahoma of all places. Way out in the wide open spaces of the country where there are no tall trees and there is no beach, but there are the most glorious sunsets ever followed by nights of stars galore. We are still married, most of the time happily. And we are blessed right up to our ears with friends and dogs and kids. And God has given us a love and a security and a peace that I never knew I was looking for. It’s enough to make this girl feel like an afr0-wearing zebra flying through the air.
Madagascar 3? 2 opposable thumbs up.