|Dir. Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, US, 2008, 89 minutes
Cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen¸ Bernie Mac
Review by Michelle Moore
Following on from its highly successful predecessor, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is an even more impressive display of animals acting up in the wild. I viewed its predecessor Madagascar, before going to see this one, and the second is a big improvement on the first, which was a well-produced and funny film to begin with. This one however, is much more interesting in its story line, the characters are fleshed-out and more enjoyable to watch on screen, while the humour is greatly increased.
In terms of story line, Escape 2 Africa takes us back to the beginning, to see how the animals from Central Park Zoo in the first film met and how Alex the lion came to be in New York. This introduction is incredibly informative and plays a large role in understanding the concept of this sequel. The film then follows on from the first, with Alex, Marty, Melman, Gloria, the penguins and the British monkeys attempting to fly a plane back to New York, with little luck. As they land in unknown territories, the surroundings created are beautiful. Children viewing will really appreciate the environment that is created with its lakes, a volcano and the wild landscape.
With the first film, I was a little disturbed by the “Gremlin” like creatures. This one however has wild animals for all the children to enjoy and the Zoo animals to relate to. The actors voicing these characters do a marvellous job in bringing their animals to life. Rock’s vocals for Marty the Zebra make him kind of goofy; likewise the look of Melman the giraffe suits Schwimmer’s nervous voice to perfection. Pinkett Smith as the hefty Gloria is astonishing, but most faultless of them all is Alex, voiced by Stiller. He has a humorous voice, while at the same time expressing emotion. If you have seen Night at The Museum, Stiller’s way of talking to the monkey in that film is very similar to how he voices the character of Alex.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a hilariously funny flick. There are side-splitting scenes for all ages to understand and laugh at, such as the sequence where the penguins get the breath of life and deflate to a super-powered granny. I highly recommend that you head for your nearest IMAX cinema to see this film, in order to experience it to the fullest. It has been digitally re-mastered, includes state-of-the-art, digital surround sound and has characters that are larger than life. It is as though you are sitting on the sidelines watching the action from Africa itself. This highly-anticipated sequel is a remarkable film, enjoyable for all ages and one not to be missed. Expect another sequel in a few years… I’m waiting to see if the animals make it back to New York or not.