Those New York zoo castaways are back for a third computer-animated escapade, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, and their latest misadventures are their zaniest yet.
Stranded in Africa last time around, the old gang – narcissistic lion Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller), irrepressibly curious zebra Marty (Chris Rock), neurotic giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) and flirty hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) – are now trying to get back home.
Hoping to hook up with their resourceful penguin and monkey chums, they splash down in Monte Carlo, but ruthless animal control cop Chantal Dubois (Frances McDormand as a scooter-riding Gallic Cruella De Vil) soon has the quartet in her sights.
One botched casino heist and harum-scarum car chase later, and the friends are wanted fugitives, forced to hide out with a faded all-animal travelling circus as it criss-crosses Europe by train.
On board are some new faces, including growling knife-throwing tiger Vitaly (Bryan Cranston), slinky trapeze-artist jaguar Gia (Jessica Chastain) and nervy sea lion Stefano (Martin Short), not to mention old favourites Julien the lemur king (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his sidekick Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer).
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That’s a lot of characters to juggle, but the Madagascar menagerie manage to keep the balls in the air. Three films on and their comic zest shows no sign of flagging. The action zips along, the visuals dazzle and the gags zing. The best in the series so far.
In cinemas from Friday 19th October.
To activate the sound in the trailer: hold your cursor over the screen to reveal the control panel and click on the volume control in the bottom right-hand corner.