“It’s not Pixar” is becoming the mantra of parents who dutifully shlep their tots to each new 3-D animated feature, and Disney’s latest entry won’t silence them. The premise combines a largely laugh-free variation on Madagascar with a landlocked Finding Nemo emotional arc: A domesticated daddy lion (voice of Kiefer Sutherland) confronts his own parenting issues when his sulky cub (Greg Cipes) is accidentally shipped from the New York Zoo to Africa. Along with Sutherland, reduced to directing his patented Jack Bauer bellow at a gassy cartoon hyrax, the voice cast includes Eddie Izzard, Janeane Garofalo, and William Shatner, but there’s not a spark of chemistry among them. Which is too bad: They’re the only personality the bland character designs have. Under Steve “Spaz” Williams’ direction, the animation is exquisitely detailed, down to the lions’ individually moving whiskers—but when’s the last time you enjoyed a cartoon for its realism?
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