Newest Review: ... adult Alex. If I'd watched this in the cinema, I don't think I would have purchased it on DVD as we won't want to keep watching this. ... more
Escape 2 your kitchen for a cuppa while this is on!
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (DVD)
Member Name: taker4376
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (DVD)
Advantages: Great Cast and Animation, only 89 minutes long
Disadvantages: Poor Plot and use of cast
Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa was released in December 2008. It was the much anticipated sequel to the very popular Madagascar. Knowledge of the first film isn't essential which is always a plus with sequels.
Madagascar ended with Alex the lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo still stranded on the island of Madagascar. Madagascar 2 picks up the story shortly after when the penguins have managed to fix up the lemurs plane so that it is once again able to fly. King Julien and Maurice wish to accompany the four friends to New York as do Mason and Phil, two chimpanzees. (They have strangely reappeared from the first film where they did not actually make it to the island) The plane, once up in the air, obviously doesn't get very far and it crash lands in the middle of a game reserve in Africa. The four friends finally learn what it is like to be among their own kind in the wild and Alex has coincidentally returned to his place of birth. The film follows Alex as he struggles to please his parents, Marty as he struggles to remain unique, Gloria as she seeks a mate and Melman as he becomes a doctor. In a slight rip-off the lion king plot the Alpha Lion Zuba is constantly being challenged for supremacy by his brother Makunga. Once Makunga becomes the alpha lion things rapidly turn for the worst and Alex is needed to put them right. Unlike the Lion King there is no depth to the plot or characters involved and the ending is rather pathetic and anti-climatic.
Unfortunately, as in most cases, the sequel falls incredibly short of the original film. The hilarity and brilliance of the first film are absent in Escape to Africa where the plot is severely lacking in ingenuity. The minor characters from the first film are heavily used throughout Escape to Africa in an attempt to capitalize on their initial popularity. This is a huge mistake. The characters, such as King Julien and the Little Old Lady were funny in the first film precisely because they did not get enough screen time to get irritating. Instead of creating new and interesting characters the writers recycle them and give them key parts in the plot. The character of the little old lady is absolutely ridiculous and given far too much importance where as King Julien is just an irritating addition the writers seem to forget about every now and then and bring him back in to kill some time. The writers also make a mistake by separating the four friends and giving them their own subplots, the only one of which that has any consequence is the one revolving around Alex. Although Alex was most definitely a key character in the first movie it did not revolve around him. Marty's character, arguably the funniest, is pushed into the background and hardly features. The witty camaraderie between Alex and Marty disappears as their stories barely interlink. Gloria fades into the background in her bland and unexciting role looking for a mate and Melman's hypochondria, which was so hilarious in the first film, is virtually non-existent and all we are left with is a rather depressed giraffe.
The return of the penguins pleased just about everyone. The psychotic and unpredictably intelligent penguins are hilarious and a saving grace. However even some of their jokes miss the mark, especially those revolving around a wooden hula girl. The repetition of the zebras was funny to begin with but grew old very fast, just like it does one someone does it you and the parts about the Alex only being able to dance and not fight were cringe worthy as they just were not funny. We know Alex can fight because he did so in the first movie!!!! My favourite part of the movie had to be when Alex returned to his bedroom which his parents had kept preserved and he got over-excited when his mum produced his old comfort blanket. I think that was the only part that made me laugh out loud.
On the plus side the animation is incredible; it flows well even if the plot doesn't. The voice actors are also amazing. The cast includes Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Bernie Mac, Alex Baldwin and Will.I.Am. It's hard to believe that so many great actors agreed to take part in a movie where they were all mostly underused. Unfortunately it appears that the sequel was all about the money. With Madagascar being such a great hit DreamWorks must have known cinema goers would flock to see a sequel, so they put together 89 minutes of watchable but barely enjoyable animation and attracted big names to sell it. Unfortunately the sideshows take control of the main plot and the reasons everyone loved the first one are exploited beyond all endurance.
I would suggest that you steer clear of Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa so that you do not experience the same disappointment that I have and watch Madagascar followed by the Lion King as you will enjoy that so much more!
Summary: A dissappointing sequel, once again