Movie Review: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)

You just knew the sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa was in the coming. Not only because New Yorker animals Alex the lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Melman the giraffe (voiced by David Schwimmer), Marty the zebra (voiced by Chris Rock) and Gloria the hippo (voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith) were stranded on an island and wanted to get back home in the original Madagascar. But also because Dreamworks made an obscene amount of money on the first film.

What I didn’t realize was that it would take three years for the sequel to emerge. It shouldn’t have taken nearly so long, since the animation is still simple and blocky in nature, and the premise is rather uninspiring and could have been thrown together in the amount of time it takes to eat a Krispy Kreme doughnut. The tandem of Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath (the driving forces behind the first film) have also sadly assured with this effort, a third installment is just around the corner.

That’s because the Central Park Zoo animals don’t actually make it back to New York as they had hoped in this movie either. Thanks to a little fuel oversight by those ingenious penguins, everyone aboard their makeshift airplane end up crash landed in Africa, on a game preserve to be exact. The foursome after meeting hundreds of their own kind split in their own cliques and do their own things. Alex, has his own Lion King-like adventure when he’s reunited with his parents — most notably his dad Zuba (voiced by the late Bernie Mac). Marty is overwhelmed that there are so many zebras that look and think like he does. Melman takes his knowledge of sickness and becomes a witch doctor. Gloria enjoys being the hottest commodity in the wading pool and finds herself dating resident hunk Moto Moto (Will.I.Am). But when the watering hole dries up, they need to set aside their new found individuality; put aside any differences they now have with one another and save the day.

It’s all pretty mundane though — the dialogue isn’t particularly snazzy or riddled with current affairs nuances. Schwimmer’s acting talent is about as exhilarating as the prospect of throwing ones self into an active volcano (which his character Melman looks to do; perhaps to rid himself of Schwimmer’s talents?). Come to think of it however, there is no reason to single out any one of the lead roles — they’re all equally as clich├ęd and boring. The only standouts, just like in the first film, are the penguins who are led by the wheeling-and-dealing Kowalski (voiced by Chris Miller). Without their devious and entertaining ways (car-jacking tour Jeeps) there would be very little good to say about the characters in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

That was for the adults who will undoubtedly have to sit next to their children and be forced to do those fake laughs normally reserved for their mother-in-law’s jokes. Kids aren’t going to care one iota about what I’ve said. The backdrops are beautifully laid out — the work done to capture the African plains is breathtaking. The animals are silly, nonthreatening and do stupid things. Everything that can be made brightly colored and festive is brightly colored and festive. And much to my chagrin, my kids are still singing, “I like to move it, move it; I like to move it, move it.” It’s marketing at its finest (or worst depending on how you look at it).

But hey, it’s all for the kids, right? Sure Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is mind-numbing for those over the age of 13 (11 if you have an above average I.Q.). If, however, you look at it from the standpoint that there are worse situations that you can find yourself in, you’ll find it bearable. Suck it up — I did.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
2 Star Rating: Bad


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)' have 9 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 11, 2008 @ 5:53 am Jorn

    I’m 31, but I’m still going to watch this. Enjoyed the first one and I don’t see why this should be much worse (except for Will.I.Am)

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 11, 2008 @ 9:22 pm General Disdain

    @ Jorn,

    The first Madagascar had more humor geared towards adults.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 11, 2008 @ 11:59 pm salmalion

    Madagascar Escape 2 Africa after ice age it was the best animation movie for me. And for sure for most of the people very few dream characters like Alex. What I like about the movie Madagascar Escape 2 Africa was it built upon its story. Not much action added apart from the basic story. Picture quality of the movie was out standing. It was the movie any body would love to fall in love with. I saw the movie online with which favors me superior entertainment.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 14, 2008 @ 1:40 pm best worst flicks

    I really enjoyed the first Madagascar as well. It is amazing to me how they have made these flicks entertaining for both the older and younger viewer. Another good example of one that is entertaining for both audiences is Wall-e. Thanks for the review,

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 21, 2008 @ 10:18 pm Maureen F

    I noticed you didn’t mention anthing about the anoying old antagonist lady in the film. She deserved a good ripping in your review!

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 22, 2008 @ 5:57 pm General Disdain

    I noticed you didn’t mention anthing about the anoying old antagonist lady in the film. She deserved a good ripping in your review!

    You would be correct — she was more of an annoyance than anything else.

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    February 19, 2010 @ 11:06 am Lawyer Joker

    this was really cute!!

  8. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 3, 2010 @ 12:05 pm Neil

    This film is a lot of fun, and unlike most kids films, I found myself awake for a good percentage of it. It’s got some good action sequences (look out for the penguin-reconstructed helicopter), some clever running gags (the batty old indistructable woman) and some irritatingly catchy music. Just let down by the animation, which, by todays standards (and here I would agree with General Disdain), is decidedly average.

  9. The Critical Movie Critics

    March 5, 2010 @ 2:37 pm Kate The Portrait Artist

    Well I feel comforted by the fact that I did fall asleep during this movie as it’s obviously aimed at children. Just shows you can’t trust a penguin these days!

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