In 2008's MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA, the endearing New York City zoo animals of the original hit movie return for another zany round of CGI adventures abroad. Leaving the island of the title by way of a ramshackle penguin-designed aircraft, the quartet of Alex the Lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), and Melman the Giraffe (David Schwimmer), along with unlikely friends such as King Julien the Lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen), crash-land on the African savannah, setting in motion a whole new series of exploits, involving Alex's long-lost parents (Bernie Mac and Sherri Shepherd) and a stranded group of tenacious NYC human tourists.
Reuniting directors Tom McGrath and Eric Darnell, as well as all the principal cast members of the first film, MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA takes full advantage of its sweeping setting, making room for beautifully expansive landscapes amidst the mammal mayhem. While the leads are in fine form, they are ably assisted by series newcomers, including the late Mac, Shepherd, and Alec Baldwin, who plays a scheming rival lion. Though various plotlines get increasingly ridiculous as the movie goes on (see the return of MADAGASCAR's aggressive Grand Central Station granny), the good-natured main characters and their silly support players (particularly lemurs and penguins) keep ESCAPE 2 AFRICA entertaining no matter how far the story strays off the wildlife reserve.