November 7, 2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Studio: DreamWorks Animation Rating: PG for some mild crude humor.
Four animal friends try to make their way back to the Central Park Zoo in the animated sequel "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa."
One of the most misleading things about this film is its title. The only reason Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo wind up in a game preserve on the Dark Continent is because their penguin-constructed plane crash lands. I mean, they weren't headed to Africa. They wanted to get back to New York. But, I digress...
Once on the ground, the quartet discovers they are not alone. In fact Alex (Ben Stiller), who was taken away by poachers as a cub, reunites with his mom and dad.
This sequel follows the successful formula of the original. Get some talented people in a room and let them be funny. In addition to Stiller we get Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith returning to their starring roles and once again they deliver fast-paced humor.
But as good as they are, it is the supporting actors who really steal the show. Sacha Baron Cohen's King Julien and the four tough-guy penguins anchor the movie's funniest scenes.
The plot is fairly involved, with each of the leads dealing in their own way with life in Africa. Thankfully it doesn't get too bogged down with tiny details. There are plenty of silly moments and beautiful pictures to carry this slapstick comedy to an enjoyable conclusion.
On my rating scale, "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" earns a Double. Adults and children will both enjoy this outing.