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Masand's verdict: Madagascar 2, worthy sequel


Rajeev Masand,CNN-IBN
Dec 20, 2008 at 01:42am IST

Cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith

Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

I'm a sucker for animation films, and when it comes packaged in a clever story, you've got my attention.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is another wacky romp through the wilderness, a very worthy follow-up to the first installment in which Alex the dancing lion and his cohorts escaped from Central Park Zoo in New York on a mission to reach Africa but found themselves in Madagascar instead.

In this film, Alex and his buddies board a rickety old airplane and crash-land in Africa after all.

For Alex there's a reunion with his parents, and the question of restoring his father's dignity. For Gloria the hippo, there's a romantic interlude with a new character - a real charmer named Moto Moto - while Melman the giraffe continues to pine for her. And then Marty the zebra has identity issues to deal with.

One of the big highlights of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is the cheeky spin on The Lion King, in which a wannabe alpha lion resents the new arrivals and engineers Alex's banishment from the community.

While popular characters like the dodgy lemur King Julien and the penguin quartet return for the sequel, there are a bunch of new entrants too including Alex's parents, and one of my favourites, Makunga the insecure lion with the funny hair, voiced by Alec Baldwin.

The animation's top-class and the actors voicing the principals do a super job once again. Ben Stiller as Alex, Chris Rock as Marty, Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria, David Schwimmer as Melman, Sacha Baron Cohen as King Julien - so fine a job they do that you can't think of anyone else in their places.

Successfully passing that acid test of animation, the Madagascar movies have such wide appeal that they engage not just the kids, but grown-ups too.

It's a very pleasurable watch, and for that I'll go with three out of five and a thumbs up for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

Watch it even if you missed the last one, it's a joyride in every sense of the word.

Rating: 3 / 5 (Good)

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