x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Madagascar: the first was no ­classic. Three years later, the anthem is back, the characters are back, even the story is back.

"The first was no classic"... <i>Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa</i>
"The first was no classic"... <i>Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa</i>

Madagascar: the first was no ­classic, but it had a fun fish-out-of-water premise - New York Zoo refugees find themselves marooned in ­Africa - plenty of comic ­characters and a bright, glossy look. It also boasted an infectious dance number - I Like to Move It - that became an anthem for the children in my household. Three years later, the anthem is back, the characters are back, even the story is back. No longer marooned in Madagascar, our ­heroes survive a crash landing in the shadow of Kilimanjaro. Here Marty the zebra (Chris Rock) follows the herd, and Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) is ­reunited with his ­parents. Meanwhile, Sacha Baron Cohen's lemur, King Julien, riffs on Lawrence of Arabia because? well, why not? And the penguins prove they can fly - but not for long. We spend too much time with the ­old grandmother who beat up Alex last time, now an unlikely ­safari adventurer, and the giraffe ­confesses his love to the hippo. Hopping between this menagerie, the film is too loosely stitched to ­generate suspense, but if you don't like surprises you're in for a treat.