Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
Vocal cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada
Pinkett-Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Frances McDormand, Bryan
Cranston, Martin Short, Jessica Chastain
Director: Eric Darnell, Phil McGrath, Conrad Vernon
Alex the Lion, Melman the giraffe, Marty the Zebra and Gloria the hippo are all back for another animated outing which sees the group joining the circus.
Following on from events of the second film, Alex is determined to get back to New York, and is feeling somewhat homesick. So, he suggests to the gang that they catch up with the penguins in Monte Carlo and they fly them back to New York.
But when Alex and the gang crash the casino, animal control led by the ferocious Madame DuBois (Frances McDormand) start to track them down.
With no other option, the four friends and the penguins stowaway on a circus to escape - but it turns out the circus is a little bit rubbish - so the gang decides to reinvent it - Madagascar style.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is perhaps the best Madagascar yet.
Bright, colourful, drenched in neon, funny, lunatic are all just a few words which spring to mind to describe this latest outing.
Sure, it's not the most original story but what it may lack on that front, it more than makes up for with one liner zingers, madcap antics, smart and a general nutiness which pervades the screen from the beginning to the end.
The writers have brought to the table a story which brings out the best of the critters and the potential for the animators to bring an explosion of colour to the screen; from the opening break out from the Monte Carlo casino to a dazzlingly colourful neon-drenched circus end, the animation on this is joyous and works so well in a 3D environment. (The final sequence alone is so trippy and dizzying with its colour, I thought I'd dropped a tab of LSD).
All of the gang get a moment to shine and the three circus newcomers, Jessica Chastain's Gia, Bryan Cranston' bitter Russian tiger and Martin Short's sealion make welcome additions to the group.
Replete with throwaway one-liners, some blink and miss them visual gags and some insane asides (featuring the Penguins and King Julien once again), the whole film will keep the kids amused all the way throughout.
There's enough in Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted for adults to be amused and engaged too - and a shortish running time will also ensure it doesn't outstay its welcome.
Infectious and amusing, enjoyable and visually stunning, as well as never losing sight of being entertaining, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is the perfect school holiday treat and great fun for kids - and the young at heart. You'd have to be a real grump and completely churlish to not be swept along by this.