The much anticipated sequel to Madagascar, the fun-filled, comic caper of four New York zoo animals yanked from their comfort zone to the wilds of Madagascar, was well worth the wait.
Madagascar : Escape 2 Africa is a hilarious ride full of rich characters, great writing and a super cool musical score by Hans Zimmer. Madagascar 2 picks up where the first movie left off with King of New York Alex the Lion ( Ben Stiller), smart-aleck Zebra Marty ( Chris Rock), hypochondriac giraffe Melman ( David Schwimmer) and the sassy, hottie hippo Gloria ( Jada Pinkett Smith) departing the wild for a one way trip to the Big Apple on a sling shot plane. On board, the militant special op penguins pilot the restored plane while the flamboyant lemur King Julien ( Sacha Baron Cohen) gloats in First Class along with BFF Mort ( Andy Richter) the sad eyed mouse. A crash landing finds the group in Africa where Alex reunites with his father, Zuba ( Bernie Mac) and his mom ( Sherri Shepherd) after 20 some years. Home at last! Or are they…
This is a highly entertaining film for the whole family with moments of adult humor peppered in. Loved the IMAX experience – the computer animation was gorgeous, the colors rich and vivid and the sound quality was superior – and images nearly jump off the screen, especially the scene when Alex, Marty, Melman and Gloria catch a glimpse of the beautiful and expansive African landscape and the herds of animals of all shapes, sizes and colors – amazing!
As the story unfolds, the animals experience their own story arc making discoveries that not only change the way they see themselves but also the way they see others. A Lion-King-ish theme ensues as Alex becomes a pawn in a villainous scheme by arch enemy Makunga ( Alec Baldwin) to steal the throne away from his father. The fancy footed lion finds himself in the middle of a fight thinking it’s a dance contest and breaks out his best Fosse. Arguably one of the funniest scenes in the flick next to the secret agent exploits of the penguins ( Tom McGrath, Christopher Knights, Chris Miller) and the ego maniacal antics of King Julian who clearly likes to move it, move it.
Grandma Nana gets more screen time in the sequel as she fights off the ‘wild’ animals and teaches stranded New Yorkers how to survive in the jungle. Rounding out the cast is Cedric The Entertainer the voice of Maurice and Moto Moto ( will.i.am), the Barry White of the jungle. Throw in some erudite monkeys ( Conrad Vernon) who’ve mastered the art of negotiating and some important lessons about friendship, courage and individuality and you’ve got an enjoyable film with characters you can empathize with and root for.
Madagascar : Escape 2 Africa was made by DreamWorks Animation and is rated PG for some mild crude humor.
Visit www.imax.com for theatre listings.