“I like to move it, move it.”
“He likes to move, move it.”
“She likes to move it, move it.”
“We like to … move it!”
The catchy opening song to Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is the most recognizable part of the first movie, in which four New York zoo animals find themselves on a ship headed to the island of Madagascar.
In the second movie, however, the animals, in their attempt to make it back to New York, crash land in mainland Africa.
The collision forces Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman to learn what their own species do in the wild, and Alex has an improbable encounter with a family member, Zuba, voiced by the late Bernie Mac.
The animals’ development in the story is fun to watch, and the humor in the film, although intended for children, can adapt even to the most mature sense of humor.
The cross-species love story in the sequel provides backbone to the two characters involved and also shifts the focus away from the dominant nature of Alex’s story.
The film does justice to each character, embracing its unique traits, while still showing that it is the same as its ancestors “back home.”
The story gives the “cookie-cutter” zoo animals more depth, but reminds them of their love for the zoo they left.
The all-star voicing in the sequel is led by Ben Stiller (Alex), Chris Rock (Marty), Jada Pinkett Smith (Gloria) and David Schwimmer (Melman). The cast also includes big names like Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer and Alec Baldwin.
The performance by Bernie Mac was one of his last on film. The late actor appears in Soul Men and this sequel to Madagascar.
His career began in 1992 in Mo’ Money, as a doorman, but blossomed into a rich portfolio of blockbusters including Transformers, Ocean’s Thirteen and Guess Who, along with his own show.
The recognizable voices in the movie, however, are not a distraction from the story.
All performers do a great job of encompassing their roles, shedding the stereotypical acting that goes along with their voices.
The only downside to the film is the lack of continuity between the minor characters from the first and second movie.
The lemur king is silly, but his part in the movie is almost overplayed, and his circumstantial appearances in the stories of the four zoo animals in this movie are seemingly spastic.
The plotting penguins are done an injustice in the film. They are underplayed and underutilized in the development of the story.
An encounter between the wild animals and the out-of-place penguins would have definitely been interesting to watch.
The bottom line: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa earns a four-bell rating out of five.
It is a continuation of the good ideas from the first movie, great character development and a compelling love story.