The only memorable thing about Madagascar was Sacha Baron Cohen's voicing of Julien, the king of some rodentlike species. Julien had the arrogance of a medieval king, spoke with an East-Indian accent, had that depth of dementia in his eyes, and controlled his community with an infectious dance song: "I like to move it, move it/You like to move it, move it." In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Cohen (Mr. Borat, or Ali G) returns as Julien, but his character is not that funny. And because Julien is not that funny, the film as a whole lacks the one thing that made the original worth anything.
The story about a tamed Manhattan lion meeting his wild parents in an African safari is not interesting. The story about the Manhattan zebra meeting a herd of wild zebra in an African safari is, again, not interesting. There's another story about a melancholy giraffe that falls in love with a hippo—yawn. As for the penguins, they were never appealing. As for the chimpanzees with the British accents, that joke was completely spent in the first half of Madagascar.
What we want to see in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is Julien ruling his kingdom of rodentlike things with insane declarations and a Caribbean dance tune: "I like to move it, move it/You like to move it, move it." In the history of literary criticism, there has been much talk about the possibility of creating a society out of a poem; in Madagascar, we saw a rodentlike society that found its meaning and happiness in a dance tune—move it, move it.