Energetic, colourful and irrational are words that could describe kids on their school holidays next week; they also convey the fun that is in plentiful supply in the 3D version of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.
It is the third instalment for these lovable zoo animals and their journey to find a place to call home; so to avoid being repetitive this time round the story throws out all caution and plausibility. Alex (Stiller), Marty (Rock), Melman (Schwimmer) and Gloria (Pinkett Smith) are still in Africa and desperate to return home to New York Zoo, and they charge straight into the latest adventure, without much backstory or concern for where Madagascar 2 left off.
Impatient for their penguin and monkey colleagues to return from a revenue-raising trip to Monte Carlo, Alex decides that rather than wait they will all go to Monaco and find them.
Extracting their gambling friends from a casino is a rather chaotic affair, and the reunited gang escapes Monte Carlo by joining a circus, only to be followed across Europe by a vicious French animal control officer (Frances McDormand) determined to mount Alex's head on her wall.
The pace borders on frantic. This almost overwhelming sense of urgency drives the film and makes some sense; it is an on-the-run story after all, but the lines are delivered so fast there's hardly enough time to absorb the jokes.
However, the characters are as loveable as they've always been, King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) once again steals the show, and the kids will be entertained. All the eye-popping madness misses is a touch of heart.
Cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith Director: Eric Darnell Running time: 93 mins
Rating: PG (low level violence)
Verdict: They're back, and more colourful and crazy than ever.
- TimeOutBy Francesca Rudkin Email Francesca