This is that rare thing: a franchise that grows more winning with each instalment. The garish, noisy ‘Madagascar’ series has always been something of a circus, so it’s fitting that this ingratiatingly manic third entry finds its quartet of Yankified African beasts actually in a big top. Penguin-related complications have stranded them in Europe, pursued by murderous Chantal DuBois (Frances McDormand, less convincingly French than the first five letters of her Christian name), a Cruella deVil figure in a gendarme’s uniform. After seeking refuge in a creaky travelling circus of further ropey accents (Jessica Chastain is a sexy Italian jaguar, Bryan Cranston a crotchety Serbian tiger), the troupe is soon wowing the globe with fluorescent trapeze routines choreographed to Katy Perry. Happily, it’s easier on the eye than it is on the ear, thanks to richly rendered European backdrops – a breakneck car chase through Monaco is particularly dazzling – in zappy 3D. Adding an extra coat of class, indie prince Noah Baumbach co-wrote the script, though satisfied kids will leave the cinema chanting the lyrics to Perry’s ‘Firework’, not quoting any bon mots.
Friday October 19 2012