Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008) Poster

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8/10
You Got To Move It, Move It!
www.ramascreen.com25 October 2008
Rarely have I seen animated family sequel movie that's as good or better than its predecessor but speaking as a movie freak who didn't like the first installment, I gotta say I'm very much entertained by MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 Africa and it way funnier than the original movie. Dreamworks has a habit of doing this… what it lacks in its story and overall animation (Pixar still rules in those departments!) it makes up for it in its sense of humor. This is the movie that every age can enjoy and it has only a very, very few silly, lame moments but for the most part, you just got to move it, move it! The whole team is back, it doesn't take long for you to remember what each character is all about, there's no need for re-introduction but there is a bunch of new characters thrown in to the den without having to take us in unnecessary complication of having to understand what they are. The concept is simple and the jokes are funny. Here you see all the characters stranded in Africa and meet a their own kind. It's the freedom they've always wanted but don't really want at the same time. They have trouble fitting in and getting in touch with their heritage, all the while friendship and feelings are being put to the test resulting in an exciting adventure at the end that brings them closer together again. Kids will love it, Parents will be glad about it, and the rest of us will find it to be very amusing.

MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 Africa will feel like too short of a movie, but that's also something that I can appreciate because I don't think it has any intention of trying to be all Oscar worthy, it's nothing more than telling a light, enjoyable story with good moral value lesson and that's about it. If the running time were any longer, it would lose some of its target audience. Hands down, without dragging this review any more than it has to, the best part of this movie once again, are the penguins! Those dudes are hardcore gangsters and freakin' hilarious! They should have their own spin-off, stand-alone movie, just about them scheming something deviant and mission impossible-esquire. I could watch them work together and hear their smartass, cocky remarks/attitude about a thousand more times and they'll still crack me up. If you find no reason to watch this movie, then at least watch it to check out those awesome penguins.
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8/10
Madagascar
demonyoyozl6 May 2009
This movie really will give you a good laugh. It is about a new adventure of the four friends: Alex the lion, Melman the giraffe, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo. On the trip back to New York, they had an air crash and came to Africa instead. There, they found their roots and also came across some difficulties. In this movie, there are many supporting roles. And among them, the four little penguins played an important part and even covered the other main roles for their genius and humor. From the very beginning, the four penguins spoofed the DreamWorks icon. As for their popularity, the DreamWorks even planned to make a film about the Madagascar Penguins. I'm really looking forward to it. In this movie, the film makers pictured us an amazing Africa with wild animals and beautiful landscapes. The visual effects are pretty good and impressing. And I like the theme song "Move It", really making me full of energy and feel the desire of dancing with the characters. The last scene when Marty said that "Love has no boundary", I can't agree more. And I think that this does not only apply to love between lovers but also apply to love between friends and family. All in all, this is quite a funny movie and worth watching.
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7/10
A Nutshell Review: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
DICK STEEL8 November 2008
Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith are back in their animated animal roles which 3 years ago saw their zoo animals being transported to Madagascar in a typical fish out of water tale, where they had to rely on their street smarts and friendship to survive in an environment they do not fully understand. While it's the usual pop-culture jokes and witty one liners that plague recent animated films, there were some gems in that movie, the ones which stuck suck as the crowd favourite penguins stealing the whole show, as well as the madcap rave party tune Move It!

Beginning directly where we last saw Alex the Lion (Stiller), Marty the Zebra (Rock), Melman the Giraffe (Schwimmer) and Gloria the Hippo (Smith), the penguins have finally built a plane that ought to bring our merry crew back to New York, together with Julien the lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his sidekick (Cedric the Entertainer), but of course should that happen, there'll be no sequel to begin with. So we have the crew crash land into the continent Africa, thereby guaranteeing yet another tale of being from the outside, but now having a habitat that's much closer to their natural environment, one which sees the animal types in question grouped together into one reserve for storytelling convenience.

Directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, who also provided the voice of Skipper the head penguin, the storyline might seem like a poor man's cousin to Disney's The Lion King, what with exiles and alpha-lions battling it out to be king of the habitat. The filmmakers had taken the opportunity to craft the backstory for Alex a little more, so that the main plot of his return to his home could be dwelled upon, with sub plots for the others to fall into place. You have Alex's return and reunion with his parents, with adversary coming from an earlier generation, there's Marty who discovers that he's no longer unique but the same as every other hundredth zebra out there, Glora looking for love with other hippos now that there's no lack of suitors, and Melman fighting his own cowardice to reveal his feelings for Gloria, as well as being appointed the witch doctor for the land.

And if you think that the primary voice cast is already A-list, the film piles on to that list with the likes of the late Bernie Mac voicing Zuba the alpha-lion, Alec Baldwin again in a villainous role as his rival Makunga, and Will.i.am of Black Eyed Peas in a hilarious role of hippo-Casanova Moto Moto (the name's so good you have to say it twice!) The songs department falls up a bit short this time round, though thankfully "Move It!" wasn't conveniently and lazily played ad-nauseam. Given the army of illustrators working on the project, you can't expect quality to drop from its predecessor, though there's nothing new to be injected into a mature presentation.

Despite the plundering of the same old family values / theme / storyline and the importance of establishing strong friendships, this new Madagascar managed to deliver on multiple fronts, joining the ranks of the few whose sequels are superior than the original. The comedy which got piled up here managed to work through the punchlines, leading to a number of characters like the monkeys and even the tough-cookie granny to steal some limelight from the lovable penguins. If you liked the original, then you'e likely to fall in love with this one.
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7/10
I wanna see a spin off with the penguins!
Kristine12 November 2008
I am a fan of the first Madagascar film, I know there are a lot of people who dissed it, but I thought it was cute. So when I saw the trailer for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, I was excited. I saw it on Friday and I absolutely enjoyed this fun family film. I think this even had a more coherent plot as well, plus how could you not love the penguins? They are absolutely hilarious and need their own movie, maybe a Full Metal Jacket with penguins! Anyways, I loved the characters so much, they're back and better than ever. They even ended up giving the little old lady from the first Madagascar who fought Alex the Lion, she has a bigger role and was so awesome to watch and listen too. I think the jokes were even funnier than the first Madagascar, my favorite scene without a doubt was the plane sequence in the beginning. But the whole story was just a blast to watch.

Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman are still looking to go back to Africa, everything seems to be a good and they start to fly back with the penguins as well as Julien. But the plane runs out of fuel and crashes, they are still in Africa, but bump into an animal pack where Alex finds his long lost parents, Marty finds out that all zebras are like him(imagine being surrounded by 1,000 Chris Rocks*shudder*), Gloria has a hunky hippo who is crushing on her, and Melman becomes the giraffe witch doctor of his group. Alex is about to be initiated into his pride, but one lion does not want him part of the group and will do anything to become leader.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is definitely worth your watch, it's not the animated film of the year, but it was a lot of fun to watch. It kind of reminded me of The Lion King a little bit, it has a similar story. It's a great family film and is fun for both the kids and the adults as well. Although I still think it's funny that Alex is voiced by Ben Stiller and his dad is voiced by Bernie Mac, but it's all good, who knows, maybe Alex's dad just had a little more soul in him. I would recommend this film, it was a lot of fun to watch and I suggest we write in a script for those penguins! They're a blast to watch on screen.

7/10
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7/10
The animation was better, there is a stronger story, there is more heart....but....
diac22810 November 2008
The original Madagascar was a break from the typical mold in family animated entertainment; it was fearless, didn't slow down to teach a lesson, and was not afraid of entertaining solely on physical humor. The content was light, but it was so satisfying that it wound up being Dreamwork's second best animated movie of them all—behind Shrek. The zany cast of characters easily exceeds the number of memorable characters in Shrek, and contained more humor and creativity than all of the other Dreamworks animated flicks before and ever since.

In the second installment, you see the writers trying to give the franchise a dosage of heart and sentimentality, which is what made Shrek the instant classic it became. A bit of heart can definitely propel an animated movie into masterpiece status (see Toy Story and Finding Nemo) however this is not the franchise to do it. Madagascar is about the cast and how they interact with each other and the conflict that is presented onto them. While the laughs are definitely here, the attempt for emotion constantly makes this film slows down and keeps it from being a superior installment when placed against the original. That being said, it's still a fun, entertaining, and unpredictable movie that continues the zaniness that made the original a personal guilty pleasure of mine.

In Escape 2 Africa, we follow the New York zoo animals, the psychotic penguins, the monkeys, and the lemur leaders as they unexpectedly are stranded in the middle of Africa. While at first the main four (Marty, Alex, Melman, Gloria) are rather happy at their new environment, they quickly realize that it's not all that it seems, and that their new temporary home is splitting the four apart. In the meantime, the penguins attempt to repair the plane that they accidentally destroyed. The writers did a good job in presenting all sorts of new gags and yet again refrain from referencing pop culture too much (although the Twilight Zone nod was hilarious). But, they couldn't deliver the emotional impact because of one main reason: this franchise wasn't meant to ever slow down in terms of pacing. Like a roller coaster, this movie moves sometimes extremely fast, and then can grind into a halt in the next scene. Lastly the main four don't interact much with each other, but more with the environment. There literally are at least 8 plots happening at once—some of them are good, some of them aren't.

The voice acting remains decent, but there are fewer lines by the original cast, and more from supporting characters and new characters. Bernie Mac, rest in peace, but his performance was rather bland and could have been done by anyone else. Alec Baldwin didn't have much of a chance to lend his comedic skills either. Yet again, the penguins and Sacha Baron Cohen steal every scene they are in, no matter how mediocre the previous scene was. Cohen (as Julien) has an obvious knack for comedy, and delivers every line perfectly for two movies in a row; not bad at all. Ben Stiller had fewer chances at being funny, as they had to handle all the major slower moments. Chris Rock's role was surprisingly limited, especially for someone who did so well in the original.

The one major improvement from the original was the animation, which was crisp, fluid, and flowed better. Surely it's undeniably no Wall-E (Or even 2007's Ratatouille), but it's still respectably an improvement over previous work. The jokes themselves are hit-and-miss like the original; the only difference is this one has more misses. Plus it's the recurring jokes that are missing; the hula girl, feisty tourist, repetitive herd, and lion-dancing bits all didn't elicit much laughter from the audience, nor from me. We just needed much more Julien, and much more penguin-action. Maybe in the future the focus will shift; in the meantime they are just grabbing all the spotlight and attention.

Bottom Line: Exactly what Scrat did to Ice Age: The Meltdown years ago, we have minor/supporting characters becoming the main hit and running the show. While the original four characters take a backseat and add emotion to a franchise that's too fast-paced for this sort of stuff, we have the penguins and Julien taking over the movie and keeping it from being another totally disappointing animated sequel like every straight-to-video Disney sequel, the ugly Shrek sequels, or Ice Age 2. The entertainment level is still magnificent the second time around, but it won't age as well as the first Madagascar did. Leave the heart to Pixar, because those folks have nailed it perfectly for years. Dreamworks can serve as the escapist cinema in terms of animation, but if they continue imitating and try to outdo Pixar, it will just dampen the quality of all their movies. Madagascar 2 is the prime example of this: purely fun and entertaining until it tries to distribute family values. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is also proof that those hilarious penguins need their own movie, pretty much immediately.

Yes, right now.
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6/10
I like to watch it, watch it.
krazykiter17 January 2009
Just saw this at a discount movie theater ($2.50 a seat) and that's about what it's worth. Don't watch it expecting some major innovative work of art - it isn't, nor was it meant to be. It's purely fun fluff.

Without a doubt, the penguins steal the show. Their banter and antics are just downright hysterical. Granny on the other hand, needs to be retired. A cameo of her might have been funny, but she is overused to the point of irritation.

The ill-fated aircraft ride is a raucous ride, but after that the story splits into four or five (at least) concurrent sub-plots, so enough time isn't really given to each, and the pacing tends to jerk along in spurts. Basically it seems as if the filmmakers just strung together scenes of the funniest supporting characters from the original then tried to wrap it around a Lion King send-up.

All that said, I actually liked this one better than the original. Not every movie is intended to be a piece of ground-breaking cinematic artistry and this certainly isn't. But it IS just downright fun to watch. Now if Dreamworks would just give the penguins their OWN full-length picture...
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7/10
Better than the original
Dave7 November 2008
I thought that the first Madagascar had promising characters and a decent premise, but it was very poorly put together. My son, who was 8 or 9 at the time loved the movie, however. We saw the sequel this morning and we both agreed - it was much better than the original. And, since part II begins with a brief summary of part I, there is no need to see the first one to understand what's happening in the new movie. All the main characters are back and there are many new ones as well. Going in, the big question on my mind was "do the penguins play a bigger role in the sequel?"... answer is "Yes, but not much bigger". All in all an enjoyable movie that outshines it's predecessor!
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6/10
Madagascar 2: Return of the Penguins
shadowycat30 October 2008
As with the comment ahead of mine: it's all about the penguins. They should have their own movie.

We were chanting: more penguins, more penguins. At the screening we just saw, people who loved the first Madagascar movie waited excitedly for the magic to begin... I LOVED the first one. Interesting note: I liked the first one better, but my BF thinks this one has a better and deeper plot and pointed out in particular that while in the first one Gloria (the hippo) was the butt of many fat jokes, in this one she is celebrated just for being beautiful.

The whole movie is breathtakingly beautiful. We didn't see this on IMAX but I bet the IMAX version will be a treat.

Sascha Baron Cohen's King is again the hands-down favorite, I heard a ripple of joy murmur through the theater at everything he said and did, although my personal favorites (after the Penguins) are Maurice and Mort, the King's cohorts.

BF was also teasing me mercilessly because (and I'm nearly ashamed to admit it) there's one scene that had me totally teared up! Yes, I cried. Can't spoil it - go see the movie and tell me after if you know what choked me up! The film did not hold the attention of some of the very small children at the screening we saw, because some portions of the film only involve adult storyline concerning the adult star characters (Alec Baldwin, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, and so forth) but when the little characters are on screen (the baby lion in particular is DARLING) the children present were absolutely captivated.

It's fun. It's not the greatest movie of all time, but it's very fun and children will want to watch it again and again.
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8/10
A perfect sequel; totally lived up to the first
Dragoneyed3639 November 2008
I was really excited about seeing the sequel to Madagascar, because I really loved the first and thought it was one of the best animations of the decade, regardless of how underrated it is, and this looked just as good, and in my opinion it almost was. Both of them are excellent films that are nothing but fun and are super energetic from the moment they come on screen, and this just made me appreciate the first even more than I already did, and am even looking forward to a third installment. The quality of this film might seem more fast paced and careless, but it is just as lovable.

When it started up, I was immediately sucked in, and I never became uninterested and it never stopped entertaining, because they did an excellent job at keeping your attention just like the first. There were some parts in the movie where I felt as if they tried too hard to please the audience and then others it got a little dumb and boring, but overall I laughed insanely and was very pleased. When it was over I wanted to watch it again. It's a great sequel to a great movie and I enjoyed watching it as much as the first, as I have said. Some hilarious scenes like the plane crash, any scene with Moto Moto and of course Mort are lovable too. It's story is touching and fantastic as well, go see it.
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A one-step improvement over the original and as a fan, it surprised me
I loved the original film as much as anyone else. It had a flawed story, a shorter time length, and a script that contained some humorous parts, but only some parts that were too predictable; but I loved it for it's charming characters and it's beautiful animation. So, when I saw that Dreamworks made this sequel to that film, I was only expecting this to be as good as the first, but sadly, I missed my only chance to see it in theaters of that year.

Almost two years later, however, on my last birthday, I had the chance to get this on a DVD copy, feeling very desperate to watch it to see if it would whether or not be surprise me as much as the original even though that film had it's problems. Later, I became a bit surprised. OK, it's not as excellent as the previous film that came out the same year "Kung Fu Panda", but it's not one of Dreamworks' weakest (that goes to Shark Tale, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, and Bee Movie). The same characters are as charming as ever, but this time, they're much fleshed out especially King Julian and Maurice.

Some of the new characters are great and I think the villain named Makunga voiced by Alec Baldwin isn't that bad of a villain, though he was underused and I liked Alex's parents as well. It's sad to see that Bernie Mac died just before this film was released (may his soul rest in peace), but I'm getting ahead of myself. The soundtrack from Hans Zimmer has improved a little in this film although it does have some generic bits. It does have some clever references which works for the comedy that got a chuckle/laugh out of me as well as it's witty and sharp dialog. There was also a scene that involved a relationship between Gloria and Melman which was so romantic and sweet to watch.

The only two problems that I do have with this film is that while the story does have more heart than the original film, it's still predictable and does have it's similarities to the Lion King and Happy Feet and several scenes were dragged a lot throughout the movie. Aside from that, I said to myself, "This is a great sequel." I loved the original, but as a fan, this completely surprised and surpasses it as a much better entry of the franchise. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa isn't an excellent film, but I totally recommend this to those who haven't seen it or the original film yet. It is that good!
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