A sequel to 2005’s smash animated hit, about a group of Manhattan zoo animals who end up on the island of Madagascar, this adventure begins with a flashback that shows us how Alex the lion ended up in a city zoo in the first place. As a cub named Alekai in Africa, he was taken from his father Zuba (Bernie Mac) by poachers and put in a crate on the back of a truck, only for the crate to fall off and end up in a river that washed him out to sea, and eventually to New York.
Flash forward to the present and Alex, along with Marty the zebra (Rock), Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer), are preparing to leave Madagascar on a plane with the bonkers penguins that stranded them there in the first place. Instead of ending up back in America, however, the plane crash lands and the group realise they are in Africa. While Gloria finds lust amongst fellow hippos and Marty learns he’s not as unique as he once thought, Alex finds himself reunited with his parents. However, there is trouble ahead, as nefarious lion Makunga (Baldwin) sees the family reunion as an opportunity to overthrow Zumba as Alpha Lion and take the role for himself.
While not quite as fun as the original movie, this does a good job of reuniting the characters that children love, including lemur King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) and delivers a few good gags during the adventure. Of the new characters, Baldwin is suitably gruff as the calculating Makunga and Will.I.Am is funny as Gloria’s beau Moto Moto, but while they are a welcome addition, it’s a shame that the penguins and lemurs take a back seat to the Lion King-esque central plot. It’s cute, yes, but if you want belly laughs for all the family, the spin-off TV series Penguins Of Madagascar is much better.
Is Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Young children may find the scene in which Alekai is taken from his father to be very upsetting.