Madagascar / Escape 2 Africa : 3 of 5

Although several "animals out of their element" animated features came out in the past few years, the original Madagascar was one of the best, especially since the story ended with the characters still in the jungle. This sequel picks up after the lemurs and penguins have somehow managed to rebuild an airplane to take the zoo animals home, but ends up crashing in Africa. The plot has a lot going for it, since it does a nice job of retelling the essential parts of the first film, and then introduces new characters, mainly Alex the lion's parents. There are some pretty funny moments, but nothing that made me roll on the floor. Actually some of the best parts had to do with the love story between Melman the giraffe and Gloria the hippo - they really have some tender and hilarious lines! But everyone's favorite characters, the penguins and the lemurs, seemed a little underused to me - the penguins are fantastic during the airplane scenes, but the lemur king needed a lot more screen time! The animation keeps the same quirky style as before (I love the angular yet soft style of the lions paws!), but the human characters (safari tourists from New York this time) seem a little improved, which is nice. Overall I think the original film is better, just because the escape from New York is a crazier and more dynamic story that's hard to top. This sequel really tries to get into the emotions of the four main characters (some more successfully than others), but I really just wanted more insanity instead!

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