Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Kindergarten - 3rd Grade
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for some mild crude humor
Profanity:Brief implied language
Nudity/Sex:Brief schoolyard crude humor, brief cross-dressing joke
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Mild peril, guns, plane crash, comic violence, (punching, kicking), lava pit, some injuries but no major characters badly hurt
Diversity Issues:A metaphoric theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:November 7, 2008
DVD Release Date:February 6, 2009

The rare sequel that improves on the original, “Madagascar 2″ keeps the silliness and steps up the heart. In the first film, four zoo animals run away and after a series of adventures are sent to live in an African wildlife refuge. Alex the pampered city lion (voice of Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra who longs for the veldt (voice of Chris Rock), Melman the hypochondriac giraffe (voice of David Schwimmer), and Gloria, the warm-hearted hippo (voice of Jada Pinkett Smith) are still, so to speak, fish out of water when it comes to living in the wild. Alex especially is eager to get back home. But their plane, piloted by ditsy penguins, crashes and they find themselves again in the wilderness.

But this time, it feels like home. Alex is reunited with the parents he barely remembers (voices of Bernie Mac and Sherri Shepherd). Marty is overjoyed to be at last among his own kind with a herd of zebras. Gloria wants to settle down with a mate and is delighted to see some handsome hippos as possible prospects. And Melman’s expertise with medical treatment gets him dubbed the new witch doctor. He is able to save the life of a young giraffe by setting his broken leg.

But a rival for the “alpha lion” position (voice of Alec Baldwin) tricks Alex’s father into forcing Alex to fight and banishing him when he loses. Marty finds that while the other zebras may look and act exactly like him, he misses his best friend. Melman tries to find a way to tell Gloria how much he cares for her. And Alex has to find a way to be true to himself as a lion and as a New Yorker.

While there is nothing as tone-deaf as the first film’s focus on whether Alex would eat his best friend, there are still a few clangers. Though gently handled, part of the plot concerns a character’s offer to sacrifice himself by jumping into lava because some of the animals believe it will appease the gods and restore their water supply. A cub is captured by poachers and his father is shot (minor injury). A feisty elderly woman’s fistfights are intended to be humorous. There is nothing especially new here. But it is funny and colorful and even a little bit sweet and you gotta love those nutty penguins.



  • rukshika

    Madagascar Escape 2 Africa it is hot and coolest ever I have just saw the movie. After been waited so long to see it those penguins really can fly. Adventures movie with lot of enthusiasm inside. Melman, King Julien, Maurice, Moto Moto and Zuba are the characters I loved most. Unbelievable animation work they look real
    with lot of interest surely it be a biggest ever animation

  • Laura

    The only other sequel I can think of that surpasses the original is “Toy Story II.” Can you think of any others? Maybe the “Addams Family” movie sequel?

  • Nell Minow

    Maybe “Godfather II,” though really it’s better to think of them as one organic whole. And some people think that the second “Star Wars” movie is the best of the six. I thought “Spider-Man 2″ was better than the first. But you’re right that it doesn’t happen often!

  • salmalion

    Lot of people who loved to see our children grow up in good relax environment may vote for these kind movies like Madagascar Escape 2 Africa because of the simply ness and the nature it brings to the heart of children. They can grab what they lost in past decades. I think Madagascar Escape 2 Africa is a beginning of revolution of childhood film making. Not only think about the big money.

  • BC

    We saw Madagascar Escape 2 today and I was sadly dissapointed with the tasteless humor and rude behavior! What has this world come to that a CHILDRENS movie has to have so much violence and rudeness. I wish they would stop gearing these movies to the adults we have enough of them out there for us. There really is no need to call someone stupid or teach them that hurting someone else is EVER funny! I guess i will have to stick to rated G movies if there are any left!!!!

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience, BC. I’m afraid that violence and lack of courtesy are elements of most movies these days, including movies for kids. The best I can say is that most of those who behave badly in this movie learn their lessons.

  • JK

    Just took my kindergartener, and just left after the first 5 minutes when she was screaming that it was too scary because the poachers steal the baby lion and shoot the daddy lion.
    I turn to movie mom to learn things like this. The rest of the movie may have been appropriate for her, but she was done after that.

  • Your Name

    5 minutes in, poachers steal a baby lion and shoot the daddy lion. My kindergartener was screaming to leave. I look to movie mom to learn these things, and I’m disappointed.

  • Nell Minow

    Thanks for sharing your experience, JK, and I am sorry it was so disturbing. You are right and I will amend my review. I very much appreciate your taking the time to write and I salute you for doing the right thing in leaving the theater.

  • http://whatwouldtotowatch.com Christian Toto

    I respectfully disagree on this one … I was utterly charmed by the original, not this sequel.
    That said, I could watch those “Mad” penguins for hours. Riotously funny in both movies! I hear they’re making a TV show out of their antics. Hope the level of humor remains high.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    We agree on the penguins, Christian! They’re the highlight of both movies. Thanks!

  • http://funny midnight

    this movie is soo funny, the start where alex’s the lion was a cub and got taken from the poachers and then his father getting shot by one of them was sad, but the rest of movie was hilarious and i would only recomend it for kids over the age of 5 and 6, because at the start of it may make younger children frightened of the movie.

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks, Midnight — I agree!

  • Toby Clark

    On the subject of sequels improving on the originals, I think it has to be a lot more common when the first movie, as with Madagascar, has obvious flaws that the filmmakers can avoid the second time.
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SurprisinglyImprovedSequel
    Which makes it infinitely more impressive when the first movie is virtually flawless to begin with – Aliens, Empire Strikes Back, Terminator 2, X-Men 2 and both Toy Story sequels
    http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EvenBetterSequel

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