Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted (PG) 93 mins ***
Two decent digimations in the same week? Sorry, parents: you may just have to give the kids an advance on their pocket money. After 2008’s sluggish Escape 2 Africa, the Madagascar series here receives a revitalising dart of action and spectacle. Still trying to return to Manhattan, the pixelated menagerie is now pursued across Western Europe by relentless, Piaf-trilling animal control official Chantel DuBois (Frances McDormand). A travelling circus provides shelter, while giving the animators the chance to pull off trapeze-swinging and Cirque du Soleil-style colour – all in unusually considered, dynamic 3D.
If they can’t sustain the first act’s exceptional explosion of creative energy, the script and visuals keep generating smart, funny business, from a Dali-inspired dream sequence to Alex’s appreciation of his leonine forefathers’ record at the Coliseum (“they killed”). Those monkeys and penguins are waiting in the wings whenever the big-top schtick flags, as indeed is Sacha Baron Cohen’s lemur Julian, pausing his revival of justly forgotten 1990s pop hits to begin an oddly cute liaison with a mute bear. Functional, where Frankenweenie is fantastic, but detailed enough to make youngsters want the DVD nevertheless. Again: sorry, parents.
Madagascar 3 is in cinemas nationwide.