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Monday, November 10, 2008

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

November 7th, 2008

Rated PG for mild crude humor.

Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath (dir.)

Hans Zimmer (music)

Ben Stiller as Alex (voice)

Chris Rock as Marty / Additional Zebras (voice)

David Schwimmer as Melman (voice)

Jada Pinkett Smith as Gloria (voice)

Sacha Baron Cohen as Julien (voice)

Cedric the Entertainer as Maurice (voice)

Bernie Mac as Zuba (voice)

Alec Baldwin as Makunga (voice)

Tom McGrath as Skipper / Lemur #1 (voice)

Chris Miller as Kowalski (voice)

Christopher Knights as Private (voice)

Our reviews below:


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Review By John C.

***1/2 (out of four)

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is funnier, and actually, a lot more fun then the original. It also tells a better, and more interesting story, that is more serious, but still never loses the comedic tone. And it is funny. Very funny. Some of the best scenes come from the penguins (as usual), and the hilarious King Julien (voiced to perfection by the hilarious Sacha Baron-Cohen). The animation is also better and brighter, trading in more cartooney landscapes for very realistic shots of Africa.

Dreamwork's has surprisingly never made a bad sequel, and in most cases actually makes one that's better then the original. All the actors from the first one reprise their roles, and this one also introduces Bernie Mac (may he rest in peace) as Alex’s father. It’s a role that I think will be greatly missed in the upcoming third film. There is more action in this one too, including a few set pieces involving the old plane that takes them to Africa, a scene at a volcano, and one of the funniest, and best dance scenes I have ever seen. There is also a whole herd of zebras, all voiced by Chris Rock.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is funnier and more action packed then the original, but it also adds more heart to the story of four friends trying to get back home to the New York Central Park zoo. Kids will probably like it, but they are definitely not the only audience for it. Most of the humor is high level, and contains many smart references to other movies including Flight of the Phoenix, Twilight Zone and Indiana Jones.

I really hope you go see it, trust me, you won’t regret it. It is easily one of the funniest movies of the year, and really shouldn’t be missed. It will also get you looking forward to seeing Madagascar 3, in 2011.


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of four)

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa starts a little bit after the last movie left off. Still on Madagascar, Alex, Marty, Melman, and Gloria decide to leave in broken plane that was seen in the first movie. King Julien, and Maurice decide to come along for a vacation in New York City. They manage to get the plane up in the air and head for New York, but end up crash landing - in Africa. Don’t worry, the Penguins are in this movie too, even more then the last one, which was great. In fact, they are the ones flying the plane, under the name ‘Air Penguin’. Once they crash land in Africa, the zoo animals all meet members of there own species, with Alex finding his family. They end up going off in different directions, each to there own kind, but the problem is, they don’t know how to act in the wild. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot line, since it is really well done, and it was really enjoyable to watch it come together.

This is a sequel that is slightly better then the first movie, which I actually really liked. The story line is good, and follows the penguins, the lemurs, and each of the other characters as they discover Africa. It is interesting to watch as each of the characters stories come together throughout the movie, and then all tie together really nicely at the end. This movie is probably one of the funniest movies out right now, and I only wish that I had seen it in IMAX.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa will probably be enjoyed by older kids, and adults, in some ways, slightly more then younger kids. This is in part due to the fact that a lot of the dialogue has jokes that you would have to be slightly older to get, and also, references to other movies. Another cool thing* is that both of the directors lend there voices to characters. Eric Darnell does a couple of additional voices, and Tom McGrath, does both additional voices, and the penguin Skipper as he did in the first movie.

This is a fast paced, fun adventure that is definitely worth seeing in theatres. Way better then you might think it would be. Go see it.

*One more little note, is that in a flashback at the beginning, a newspaper reads Wednesday, April 8, 1972. Interestingly, this would mean that the movie would be set in the 1980’s if you take into account Marty's age in the first movie - (even though Alex says in the film that he broke Marty's iPod). This newspaper also contains an error. 1972 was a Saturday leap year, which actually makes April 8th in that year a Saturday as well, since normally the 9th of April falls on the same day as the start of the year, except in a leap year when it is April 8th which does this. Anyway, that will not be noticed by most people. I actually didn’t notice it until I was watching an HD clip at home afterwards, trying to zoom in and read the newspaper. And it’s good that I didn’t, since I would have hated to have been distracted in the movie figuring out that date. Anyway, this is still a great movie. Have fun, and go see it.


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Review By Nicole

***1/2 (out of four)

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is one of those sequels that exceeds the original, (which I also really enjoyed). It begins with a flashback scene to when Alex the Lion is a little cub back in Africa. His father, Zuba, is teaching Alex how to wrestle, but Alex isn’t interested. Interference from rival animals, and ultimately humans, cause Alex to lose his freedom. The movie, then through news footage by humans, recaps what happened in the last movie from a human point of view.

Now, picking up from the last movie, the penguins have ‘fixed up’ the plane, and the zoo friends, eager to get back to New York, hop on. Of course, the plan fails, and the friends land on mainland Africa. The animals find their own kind, and most importantly, Alex finds his parents. This is where the movie really takes off. Along with the original characters, new characters are introduced, including a narcissist rival lion named Makunga. Some of the lesser characters from the first film, such as the chimpanzees, and the old lady, have returned in bigger, and even funnier roles. This movie also has a surprise romance between two characters, as well as a strong emphasis on family values, and some environmental undertones.

This movie is funny, exciting, full of action, and has no more violence than a Bugs Bunny cartoon. The casting is perfect, bringing the film to life. This movie is nothing but pure fun for the whole family.


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Review By Maureen

*** (out of four)

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa picks up where the original left off with the zoo pack of Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo, Melman the Giraffe and of course the penguins stuck in Madagascar. Except this time they have hatched a plan to leave the island and return to New York via a crashed plane the penguins have fixed up. As the title suggests, they don’t make it to New York. They end up in Africa instead and the story begins. And it’s a good story.

When a movie has a sequel you half expect to be disappointed. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa did not disappoint. The story line in this movie is stronger than the first one and the dialogue is way funnier. The penguins are great to watch in every scene and the old lady character, (Nana), from the first movie has a bigger and funnier role in this one. The animation has also improved with very realistic scenes of water and African landscape.

Overall, this is a very funny movie. It even has some romance, (I won’t say which two characters). I watched this movie in a theater packed to capacity with adults and children of all ages. There was laughter all around and applause at the end. So get up and move it, move it to the theater and go see this one. And when it’s released, get the DVD.


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa Review By Tony

*** (out of four)

If you enjoyed Madagascar 1, the sequel is even better. Courtesy of “Air Penguin” the crashed WWII aircraft has been salvaged but in an attempt to return home the main characters only make it as far as Africa. Alex the lion (Ben Stiller) finds his parents. Marty the zebra joins a herd where everyone looks alike and sounds like Chris Rock. Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) is charmed by the seductive bass voice of the supersized Moto Moto (will.i.am). Hypochondriac giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) is welcomed into his herd as a witch doctor. The lemur king (Sasha Baron Cohen) and his minion Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) attempt to hang onto their regal lifestyles. The penguins and chimps set to work to rebuild the plane, with spare parts from two vehicles stolen from New Yorkers on safari, led by the Ninja bubbie from Grand Central Station. Consistent with our website no spoilers policy, suffice it to say that the plot thickens as these various characters interact in unexpected ways. Given such a rich cast, more sequels are sure to follow.

With the addition of the late Bernie Mac as the alpha lion and Alec Baldwin as his rival, the voice acting is excellent throughout. As with the best of these animated features, the actors’ well-known facial expressions and mannerisms are reflected in the non-human characters. The musical score by Hans Zimmer & will.i.am is also fine, borrowing from the best where appropriate. Two obvious references: while the tourists’ will to survive is inspired by a chorus of New York New York, Alex’s finger-snapping West Side Story gang dance moves just don’t cut it in a trial of combat to establish his status in the pride. More obscurely: when the baby stowaway Mort washes up on shore, the suddenly interrupted tune that he sings appears to the same one that bookends Monster House.


Consensus: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is great fun, and entertaining for all ages. Older kids and adults won’t feel left out, this is a movie that will be enjoyed by the whole family. ***1/2 (out of four)

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