Movie Name: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Release Date(s): November 8, 2008
MPAA Rating: PG
The animals from the zoo have vowed to escape Madagascar, but their escape attempt ends with them trapped in an African game preserve. While Alex finds the family he thought he had lost, Marty discovers he might not be as individual as he thought he was. Melman finds a new calling but still struggles to talk to Gloria about his feelings. When the water of the reserve dries up, Marty must prove his courage to save his family and all the animals of the preserve.
Directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is an animated family comedy. The movie is a sequel to the popular Madagascar of 2005 and was generally better received.
I didn’t like Madagascar much. It was all over the place in its humor and its story. It was a pretty laugh-less comedy. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa follows a lot of the path of the original film, but it is marginally better.
Madagascar didn’t have much of a plot for a majority of the movie, but Madagascar 2 tries to solve that by mostly being about Alex and his family. It is bogged down by side stories involving the other lead animals, but it boils down to a story about the lions. The story however is a weak rip off of The Lion King with no spirit (and lacking music). The movie is also saddled with the title of Madagascar despite not much of the story taking place there.
The cast remains strong. Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, Chris Rock, and David Schwimmer are joined by supporting cast Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andy Richter as in previous films. Alex’s family is portrayed by Bernie Mac and Sherri Shepherd as his parents and the rival lion of Alec Baldwin. Bernie Mac passed away before the release of the film and the movie was dedicated to him.
The animation is a little better as well. The location of Africa is a little richer than the previous film’s locations but I still think the main characters’ designs are pretty weak. They don’t look like they are part of their environment and could be video game characters just as easily…they don’t have real substance to them.
Madagascar: Back 2 Africa is a ho-hum entry in a ho-hum movie series. The characters and plotlines of the story improved from the first film but that still doesn’t make them good…plus, it has a weird pro-zoo message that sometimes seems a little overt. Madagascar keeps trucking however with Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted in 2012.