MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA - It's Wild & Wacky
MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA (animated comedy)
Voice cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Andy Richter and Bernie Mac
Directors: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
Time: 89 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
THE BIG DEAL: The film-makers seem to have done their homework for this sequel, offering more of the same in terms of plotting, but piling up on the laughs, comedy and the fun. In short, it is a vast improvement on the 2005 original.
THE SKINNY: Alex the lion (voice of Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen), Maurice and the penguins find themselves in Africa where they encounter species of their own kind for the first time. While discovering their roots, they also discover 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 they miss their Central Park home. They find a crashed World War Two plane, tape it up together and let the penguins fly them home...
PLUSES & MISSES: There are many pluses. Directors Darnell and McGrath have taken their favourite animal crackers (the Penguins, Chimps and King Julien) and pushed their wackiness levels right up to 'almost madness'. They seem to have fun with the 'camerawork', zooming around on its roller-coaster dips and swoops - and occasionally slowing down to 'smell the flowers' of Africa's landscapes. And then they have done a remix of the franchise's popular musical hit 'Move It, Move It'. These are nice touches.
Another nice touch is the movie's central message about animals of different species co-operating with one another and living in harmony. This kinda gels with the 'Obama fever' that gripped the US last week. We can only hope it spreads throughout the world.
THE LOWDOWN: A foot-tapping Escapist treat 4 the Family.