Truth is, aside from when the penguins are on screen it didn't really hold my attention, whereas the first go was huge fun. The film starts where Madagascar left off, with our heroes being flung out of a sling-shot - piloted by said penguins. They crash land (a nod to the fact that penguins can't fly, perhaps?) in Africa and hilarity ensues. Well, no, actually it doesn't.
It just doesn't feel like there's a lot to be said, somehow - like there's not really anything to extol or anything to gripe about. It lacks the warmth and charm of the first, and it's not as funny. There was some disagreement with the original as to whether adults would enjoy it... I very much think adults would have loved it. But Madagascar 2 is the sort of film that would be on very, very early on a Saturday morning, when only the very young kids will be watching. They, incidentally, will fall head over heels. The musical numbers are sing-along fantastic, the colours are beautiful and the cartooniness has been upped a lot. This will keep under 8-year olds (or thereabouts) exceedingly happy. But, unfortunately, I'm not sure anyone else will be swept along with this one.
Where Madagascar had something for everyone, Escape to Africa is far more limited in its range. The jokes are more obvious, the graphics are slightly less impressive, and the imagination that's gone into it is less inspiring. Equally, it may well be coincidence, but there are noticeable echoes of the Lion King in here, too, and that's the far superior film. I suppose this does feel a little like a cash-in, and a little bit cynical. That being said, all the original cast have reprised their roles, and there's a lovely little turn in the tale from hypochondriac giraffe Melman and lady-hippo Gloria. Plus, in case I didn't mention it already, the penguins are back!
A nice film for youngsters, and die-hard fans of the first - I think anyone else is destined to be a little disappointed. Despite the penguins. Who are back.
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