Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner4/12/2008

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 89 mins

Average sequel with a handful of great gags but the story is weak, the main characters are annoying and the best characters (the penguins) are largely under-used.

What's it all about?
The sequel to the 2005 animated hit begins shortly after the end of the first film, as our heroes – Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) – prepare to fly back to America, accompanied by the ever-resourceful penguins (who, naturally, are flying the plane) and King Julien the lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen), who has decided to tag along for the ride. Unfortunately, the plane crash-lands in the Serengeti, straight into the plot of The Lion King (only lamer).

While Alex is delighted to be reunited with his parents (Bernie Mac and Sherri Shepherd), his joy is short-lived when he has to fend off a challenge from the fiendish Makunga (Alec Baldwin). Meanwhile, Marty struggles with his individuality in a herd of identical zebras (all voiced by Chris Rock) and Melman discovers he has feelings for Gloria when she's courted by a smooth-talking hippo love machine (Will.I.Am).

The Good
As with the first film, there are a handful of hilarious gags here: the joke with the zebras is inspired, as is Alex's West Side Story-inspired fighting style, while the penguins are consistently amusing, even if one particular moment (a penguin pulling a knife) is probably unwise in the current climate.

The Bad
The main problem is that the film lacks any real emotional depth, something that's only highlighted by echoing the plot of The Lion King. It also doesn't help that the main characters (Alex and Marty) are whiny and annoying, while the best characters (the penguins, King Julien) are largely under-used, not to mention the fact that there's something faintly disturbing about a hippo-giraffe romance.

Worth seeing?
That said, fans of the first film won't be disappointed and Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa remains watchable even if it's never as funny or as emotionally engaging as it could have been.

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Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
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Content updated: 19/10/2019 11:37

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