Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

The first Madagascar, back in 2005, didn't exactly set the world on fire. It was a so-so computer animated flick with an OK voice cast and fairly ordinary animation.It didn't overly excite the critics, and while it did do pretty impressive business at the box office, it didn't really have "sequel potential" written all over it ... so, of course, they've made a sequel What a surprise.

Madagascar 2 sees our Central Park Zoo-raised critters — lion Alex (Stiller), zebra Marty (Rock), giraffe Melman (Schwimmer) and hippo Gloria (Smith) — trying to return to the US after their Madagascan adventures. The cargo plane they find and fix up to fly back (mainly with the help of those smart-alec penguins, but more on them later) crash-lands in the African savannah, and here we go again with more fish-out-of-water funny-business. Alex finds his parents; Marty is shocked to find that all zebras look and sound alike (actualy, just like him); Gloria falls for a hunky (and chunky) man-hippo; and Melman gets jealous because he's in love with Gloria — and just how WOULD a hippo and a giraffe mate? It boggles the mind ...

As you'd expect, the humour here is aimed mainly at the kiddies. Much of the plot involving Alex and his folks seems cribbed from The Lion King, and most of the other characters take a back seat to Stiller's ultra-annoying dancing lion. Once again, the best characters — those sly, smarmy and ever-resourceful penguins — get all the best lines, but once again they are criminally underused. Hey Mr Katzenberg, would it be so hard to give these guys their own film? There are (just) enough decent gags to stop adults (who've been dragged along by their kids) from nodding off, but this is about as average as an average film can be, and you're really not missing much at all by waiting for the DVD.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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