Escaped zoo animals Alex the lion (voiced by Stiller), Marty the zebra (Rock), Melman the giraffe (Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo (Pinkett Smith) went from New York City to the titular island in 2005’s Madagascar. There they won over Julien, king of the lemurs, and seemed to settle down. But as the sequel opens, the animals are boarding a makeshift jet piloted by the first movie’s deviously clever penguins, which will supposedly take them back to New York. Instead, it crash lands in Africa, where the animals face all sorts of new challenges.
- Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Primary among those are Alex’s reunion with his long-lost parents and conflict with his father’s rival for head of the pride, in a very Lion King-like storyline. Meanwhile, Melman becomes the giraffes’ doctor, Gloria is seduced by a hippo lothario, Marty blends in with the zebra herd, Julien tries to become king of the savannah, and the penguins get busy fixing the plane. It’s a whole lot of plot for a kids’ movie that barely runs 90 minutes, and most of the time it feels rushed and disjointed, like the filmmakers didn’t have a good reason for a sequel and just threw in every little thing they could think of.
As in the first movie, there are a few halfhearted morals (and perhaps a weird allegory for gay acceptance), but they’re so muddled that they barely stick. The animation depicting the vast open spaces of the African landscape is impressive; everything else about this unnecessary movie is entirely mediocre.