Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

I’ll admit it; I never would have seen this on my own.  It was the decision of my significant other.  I am not too big a fan of animated movies.  I watched the first Madagascar, and it was decent enough, entirely saved by Sacha Baron Coen’s Julien, King of the Lemurs, and even more so by the penguins.  It was a passable cartoon.

So I went into Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa  expecting more of the same, and I was actually pleasantly surprised.  It clearly surpassed the first in both story and humor.  All of the characters you loved from the first are back (including my penguins!) and there are lots more to be added.  The gang attempts to fly from Madagascar back to their home in New York on the crashed plane hanging above the Land of the Lemurs.  Well, the trip doesn’t exactly go as planned and they end up crash landing on the savannahs of Africa.

They end up back where Alex the Lion was born, reuniting him with his parents, as well as Marty with other zebras, Melman with other giraffes and Gloria with other hippos.  From there the storyline unfolds mostly around Alex and his attempts to be accepted as a wild lion and impress his father (voiced by the late, great Bernie Mac).  It has all the ups and downs of a typical family film, but the humor is spot on.

Between Julien’s crazy ideas, to the return of the crazy old woman who fights like a black belt, to the struggle between the penguins and the “thumbs” (as they refer to the monkeys) over maternity leave, there is something here for both kids and adults to enjoy.  It’s even heartwarming without going too far, which is difficult to pull off for a non-Pixar cartoon.

Guys, take it from me, don’t run away from this one when she wants to go see it, you will find yourself laughing right along with her.

A very welcome 4 / 5 stars.