All of the loveable characters are back – Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo, King Julien, Maurice and the penguins – in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. They find themselves in the wildest place of all – the vast plains of Africa – where our zoo-raised crew encounter species of their own kind for the very first time. While discovering their roots, they quickly find the differences between the concrete jungle and the heart of Africa. Despite long-lost relatives, romantic rivals and scheming hunters, Africa seems like a great place...but is it better than their Central Park home?
The sequel to the animated movie Madagascar gives more of everything audiences loved in the first movie: More of the penguins; more of Julian, king of the lemurs; more musical bits of classic rock; and many, many more lions, zebras, hippos, and giraffes. In the first film, a quartet of coddled zoo animals found themselves shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar in a misguided effort to return them to the wild. InMadagascar: Escape 2 Africa, a failed attempt to fly back to New York maroons Alex the lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) in an animal preserve on the African continent, accompanied by the four deranged penguins and the lunatic lemur king (deliriously voiced by Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat). By wild coincidence, this is where Alex was born--and where his father is still the alpha lion, and where his malevolent uncle seeks to take over (let's call this an homage to The Lion King). The other beasts have their own story arcs, but really it's all an excuse for daffy comic bits. Though the result is disposable, it's also entirely entertaining. The action sequences pop with dizzying spectacle; though some jokes are mainstream fodder, more often they're surprisingly quirky and engagingly oddball. This is the best kind of cotton candy filmmaking--it dissolves into nothing, but it's oh-so-sweet to the taste. --Bret Fetzer