Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa


Reviewed by: Tony Sullivan

Previously on Madagascar…

A prima donna lion named Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman, a hypochondriac giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith), succeeded in relocating from New York City Zoo to the titular island paradise along with a crew of demented military minded penguins.

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Our group decide it is time to return to the Big Apple and, accordingly, the penguin militia has resurrected an aircraft wreck to take to the skies. Joined by Madagascar local crazy, King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) and his henchman Maurice (Cedric the entertainer) they sally forth. What could possibly go wrong?

If you remember the title and/or have seen the trailer it should be no surprise that their aerial adventure gets no further than the African continent, depositing our hip NYC crew into a wildlife preserve and coincidentally right on top of Alex's long lost parents.

Alex has to prove himself a man, er, lion to the assembled pride, Marty discovers he is not necessarily a horse of a different colour, Melman is welcomed as a doctor by the local girafferee and Gloria finds herself subject to the attentions of a hip hippo named Moto Moto (Will i Am).

A script credited to Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder) but presumably with input from co-directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, writers on the original film, is a hodgepodge of other movies, notably Lion King, but it is hard to tell with the relentless barrage of visual and verbal gags and a trove of movie buff in-jokes to boot. The film only stumbles when it tries to say something about parent/child relationships but soon whips off into the comedy again. Oh, and if you are paying particular attention there is an eco-friendly message, a plea to tolerate diversity and a couple of ruderies that you'll have to be considerably older than the target demographic to appreciate.

Just as with the previous installment, those anarchic avians, the penguins, steal every scene they are in making them, to my way of thinking, the best additions to animated film since that coyote fancied roadrunner for dinner. This is also the first kiddie film in recent memory that features nary a single flatulence or poo-poo joke - now that's a breath of fresh air!

The animation technical wizardry on display will not cause the Pixar people to lose any sleep, but with the one-two punch of Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar, a good analogy might be to think of the Dreamworks animators as those of the Chuck Jones era at Warner, whereas Pixar stand in for the more polished and stately Disney. I hope they would take that as a compliment.

I had a thoroughly good time at this one to the point where I forgot all about my token eight-year-old charge who was chortling along at a completely different set of jokes to me.

Reviewed on: 12 Nov 2008
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Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa packshot
Trouble brews when the New York Zoo animals try to head back to the Big Apple.
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Director: Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath

Writer: Etan Cohen

Starring: Voices of: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, Will i Am

Year: 2008

Runtime: 89 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: USA


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