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Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa


Stars: Voices: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Alec Baldwin, Bernie Mac, Andy Richter, Elisa Gabrielli

Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

Alex the dancing lion (Stiller), Marty the zebra (Rock), Gloria the hippo (Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (Schwimmer) attempt to escape from Madagascar and get back to their beloved New York. But what chance do they stand in a makeshift plane skippered by King Julian the lemur (Baron Cohen) and piloted by the penguins?

Miraculously they survive the ocean channel and manage to crash-land in Africa - 'Our ancestral crib' declares Marty - where Alex finds himself triggered straight into The Lion King. Conned by his father's evil brother (Baldwin), who takes over the pride, Alex fails his manhood test and gets banished from the tribe.

An opportunity for redemption beckons when the tribal waterhole dries up. But, with Alex trapped by on-safari New Yorkers led by his granny nemesis (Gabrielli), Melman about to leap into a volcano, Gloria being wooed by giant hippo Moto Moto (Will.I.Am) and Marty sunk into a herd of zebra after Alex fails to pick him out, things look black.

Though with its fair share of panic-stricken animal action, this is not as good as the original, with too much time spent on romance and bonding. The penguins, mercifully, are back, but, as before, there's not enough of them, and they're even forced to negotiate with their chimp plane-builders over maternity leave. Younger kids, however, will probably ignore the film's flaws and have a riotous time.

David Quinlan

USA 2008. UK Distributor: Paramount (DreamWorks). Technicolor.
89 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 29 Nov 2008