Hello, Spongey here.
A couple weeks ago, I review Madgascar. A Dreamworks animated film about a zebra who wanted to go to wild because he was sick of his routine. However, his friends don’t like this and long story short they ended up in Madagascar.
In the end they befriended some lemurs, solved their issues, but ended up stranded on the island forever. It was a very enjoyable film with interesting animation, a creative story and some very funny character. Go read my review if you want to know more.
And it made money, so a sequel had to happen. But guess what? This one is good! Infact…it might actually be better than the first one? But is it really? After all, I’ve only seen this once before …a couple months ago. So who knows?
This one keeps original directors Eric Darnell (who also did Antz by the way) and Tom Mcgrath who also serve as writers. But they also added the writer of Tropic Thunder in the mix cuz that movie was funny.
It got better reviews, with a 60 something on Rotten Tomatoes. They were still mixed bit a more positive. So let’s follow up my 100th with another positive animated review. Let’s move it move it right into the review!
This, is Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
- hate the title, too.
We start with that great Dreamworks logo. Only here….the penguins beat the boot up and take his place on the moon. Awesome.
The movie actually starts years before the first film, in Africa. WE see a young lion named Alakay with his Dad, voiced by Bernie Mac, in his final role.
Dad is trying to teach Alakay to be a fighter but he isn’t interested. This gets some snark from Dad’s rival Makunga, voiced by Alec Baldwin. Yes, I did two Alec Baldwin movies in a role. I didn’t plan this.
Scar, I mean Makunga wants to be alpha lion instead of Zuba here. His trash talking of Zuba’s son gets to him so they decide to have a little fight.
Zuba kicks his ass but Alakay was distracted by some…rope and started to chase it. He wanders out of the wildlife perverse they live and bumps into two poachers. Wah wah.
They captured Alkay and put him in a crate (with holes, don’t worry) and drive off. Zuba sees this and tries to catch up with them, but alas, he can’t. He loses his son. Alakay’s crate ends up falling into the ocean and ends up floating to new york, where some dudes find him.
Since he’s a lion, they figure that could him a star attraction and they find out he had mad performing skills. We pan over to see some zoo animals judging him. Said animals are a Zebra, Hippo, and giarfeee with a neck cone thingy.
Yep, these are all young versions of Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman. This is Alex’s backstory, which is decently tragic and it works very well. It plays into the main story of the movie which I really enjoy.
Also, young Gloria is voiced by Willow Smith, and Young Melman is the wimpy kid himself, Zachary Gordon. Neat!
It fades to years later as Alex is fully grown, and awesome and the others still judge him.
“We should take a vacation/”
“Where we would go on Vacation?”
“I don’t know about you, but I want to go to Connecticut”
Hardy har har.
Then we cut to a bit after that as we see a news video pretty much recapping the events of the first film. So now we know Alex’s backstory and what happened in the first movie. Let’s finally get to the present.
We see that Alex, (Ben Stiller), Marty, (Chris Rock), Gloria, (Jada Pinkett Smith) and Melman (David Schimmer) are actually heading back to new york. The Penguins helped make a plane so that they can finally go home.
We join them as they are having a little farewell party as they are about to board the plane. However, King Julien (Sasha Baren Coen) and Maurice (Cedric the enetertinaer) want to tag along. I don’t have much to comment for the old characters. They have the same personalities , and they are still very funny.
Only this time, each will get development and grow even more as characters. Alex is the main focus here but the rest get spotlight too. Sadly, Julien won’t do a lot later but I don’t mind.
After a funny joke about who is left in charm of the island, Mort tries to get on as well but Julien isn’t willing to let him. So they all quickly get on the plane, leaving him behind. Yes, we see him later.
“Hope to your personal god this hunk of junk flies”
I like the opening backstory because it lets us get to know these characters again before they take off. I would of liked more stuff before the leave, but the backstory is good enough.
So the plane leaves and they are off in the air. The characters have some amusing discussion about their Madagascar experience. This gives a free out of context line.
“Are the butts next to the croutons at the salad bar?”
Gloria says she wants to join the breeding program, which Melman is wary of. Yeah, Melman loves Gloria now. That was established, right? Okay to be fair, this is done very well otherwise as you’ll see later.
Anyway, the penguins notice a red blinking light possibly indicating a problem. So Rico gets out them Manuel and …smashes the light.
Heh, this one is already as funny as the first one.
“We’ve lost engine one.”
“And Engine 2 is no longer on fire”
Yep, they’re going down.
“When it comes to air travel, we know you have no choice whatsoever”
The plane takes a dive but the penguins are able to land the plane without any of them dying. Yay.
“Only two passengers unaccounted for”
“That’s a number I can live with”
The penguins are once again the best part.
They plan to fix the plane, which should take…6 to 9 months. Alex is not happy but he has to live with that. Also those monkeys are here, cuzx remember, they were on the boat. Why they didn’t show up when the penguins did at the end, I don’t know.
The animals wander off and spot a safari tour thingy in a thingy driving by. They try to get their attention but that thingy happens to hold that old lady who had a cameo in the first movie. Yep, she’s back in one the film’s most insane parts.
Hell, I say SHE’S the main villain, not Alec Baldwin lion.
She sees Alex and she is still pissed at him for some reason. They then have the world’s most awesome cat/old lady fight. …OLD LADY WINS: OLDTALAITY.
Yep, she kicks his ass and walks away with her group. She’ll be back, trust me. So after that, they wander off and come across a big ass watering hole, surrounded by animals of all kinds, but mostly THEIR kind.
“San Diego. This time I’m 40 percent sure”
But of course, it’s Africa. They are in their ancestral crib, so to speak. Alex…explains to the locals how they got here. Sort of.
“Is he dancing about a plane crash?”
Zuba comes in and finds out that they are from off the reserve. He tells them to get the fuck out, as this watering hole doesn’t need more mouths to feed. But then Zuba’s wife notices a …birthmark on Alex’s paw.
Yep, Alex has officially been reunited his father, and Zuba realizes that. They are all very happy and it’s all sweet and stuff. Even Alec baldwin is happy…because he can use Alex to somehow take over the pride.
At this point, I’ll bring up the animation. It’s a lot better this time. It’s much smoother and the designs feel less cheap this time. It still has that fast cartoony feel but it’s a lot more pleasing to look it. The landscapes look very nice and it’s bright and colorful.
It’s not horrifically impressive as far as animation goes, but it’s still very strong. The humor that comes from the animation is even better now they have cleaner animation.
Anyway, Marty wanders off and finds a ton of Zebra just like him. I mean EXACTLY like him, down to all being voiced by Chris Rock. Normally, 1000 Chris Rocks would my worst nightmare. But here, it’s funny.
Melman meets some giraffes and finds out that the island witch doctor is currently…dying, so Melaman offers to fill in. Mostly cuz he doens’t like that this place isn’t very safe or saniatiry.
Gloria hangs out with some other lady hippos and talk about stuff. Seems like everybody has found their paradise: Melman is a witch doctor, Marty has friends like him, Alex has his dad,, And Gloria has…friends. Yeah, her real thing will enter in a second.
And by second, I mean now. Enter MotoMoto, voiced by will.i.am. He’s big and chunky in a strong way an he has a scary deep voice. He’s alright. Certainly the weakest part of the movie. He’s just not that funny and his voice is more scary than funny. I think they could have come up with something stronger for Gloria’s subplot.
So let’s get back to what is more less the main plot. Alec Baldwin points out that Alex must go through the right of passage. So they decide they’ll do that soon. But for now, the animals group together and think about this new paradise.
“Guys, this is where we belong”
Meanwhile, the penguins do some wacky antics and steal that safari jeep thingy from earlier. This pretty much leaves the group (which includes the old lady) stranded. The old lady ends up being the strongest of the group so they follow her as it’s getting dark and they don’t need more animal attacks.
These guys are actually somewhat important, but more on that later.
That night, Alex is hanging with his parents. They show him some of his old baby stuff and Zuba says that is was his fault Alex got lost in the first place. He tried all he could for the next few weeks but eventually he gave up, and assume he was dead. But now he knows he isn’t to blame for anything, and Alex is fine.
Alex’s little thing is incredibly sweet and the heart of the movie. Bernie Mac is especially good in this last role, being very heartfelt He seemed like another case of pointless celeb casting, but he’s actually perfect for this role. He even gets some funny lines here and there.
Anyway, we cut to the lost safari group right after. They bump into ANOTHER safari group that felt the wrath of the penguins. Old Lady is here to lead the group and help them “get the best” of nature.
And all they need is a good speech to side with her. When you think about, the old lady isn’t a bad guy. She saw a freaking lion and beat him up. I’d do that too. Though earlier in this movie, she didn’t have to fight him. She was kind of being an asshole there. But trust me…she gets worse.
Back with the penguins, they want to use the stolen jeep so they can have parts for their new plane. The monkeys even got a few extra thumbs for them. As in, they got a shit ton of other monkeys. Everything is better with monkeys, indeed.
Oh, and Nigel the monkey kisses Skipper. Not saying context but…OTP.
Anyway, Alex is getting ready for his right of passage, which is a big fight thingy. Though Alex assumes it’s a dance off, and Alex lets him think that and tells him to pick an opponent called “Tetsi”.
So Alex goes out to the fight and picks Tetsi as his opponent. As it turns out, Tetsi is a big strong dude voiced by Fred Tisti..tastasocre…tasca…point is, he’s a well known is voice actor, mostly known for voicing the Hulk is his current animated incarnation.
Anyway, Alex gets his dancing ass handed to him. Zuba is not happy at all. Alex tells him that he is actually a performer. This doesn’t make him feel better.
ALEC BALDWIN LION: Alapha lions must cast out all failures.
- don’t wanna learn his character’s name.
“Then I’m no longer the alpha lion”
DUN DUN DUN! Yep, he is so reluctant to cast out his son he steps down as alpha lion. D’awww? Anyway, Alec steps up as alpha lion and takes over. Huh, a villain who takes over 40 minutes in. Cool!
So Alec banishes Alex….which makes Zuba stepping down pointless. Way to go, dude. Anyway, Alex and his parents ; leave the watering hole. Zuba is pissed at Alex for not telling him that he isn’t a fighter.
To an extent, this is the liar revealed thing but it’s not. For one, he didn’t lie. He just thought they knew. It”s a different cliché but it’s not as dumb as the usual. Plus I like the conflict and it’s not boring.
“Your pal Makunga set me up back there. This never would have happened-”
“If you were a real lion”
Ouch. As I said before, this is the heart of the movie, and I really like it. Alex’s entire plot is interesting and I think that helps make him my favorite character, as he changes through all three movies.
Back with Melman, he is doing great as the witch doctor. But one of his new pals notices a new brown spot on him that he thinks is Witch doctor’s diseases.
“Our old witch doctor joe, had a spot like that. Wednesday…no joe”
Dun dun dun. So Melman will die in 24 hours. Wah wah.
Back with Marty, his new friends are able to master stuff it took him years to figure out. They truly are exactly like him. I have to say, if you take a look at their designs, most actually look subtly different if you REALLY look. It would have been easy to just recycle the same design since it’s part of the plot that they are the same, but they didn’t. Good on them.
“I always thought I was a little bit unique”
“We are unique! Exactly the same”
Note to self: Zebra suck at vocabulary.
Anyway, so there’s Marty’s dilemma which works well in developing him since he isn’t the MAIN focus this time. Anyway, the animals meet up later and Alex tells them how much it sucks to be cast out.
It seems like Gloria is the only without a negative dilemma going on. Melman isn’t too happy when he hears about her upcoming date with Moto Moto. They even get an argument I can’t really sum up, but Melman pisses off Gloria cuz he can’t say his little secret and say what his problem.
A tad cliché, but I can live as it Melman’s stuff done is well. Especially later on, but we’ll get to that. And then it turns out the marty in this scene was…one of the other Zebras. Marty shows up and he is pissed Alex couldn’t tell him apart from the other Zebras.
“There’s nothing…unique about me”
Alex tries to get the conversation to his problem, but Marty is pissed that Alex is making about him. Alex says what I was gonna say and points that his problem is a bit bigger than Marty’s. This only succeeds in pisses him off more as he walks off.
You’d think Marty would be sympathetic to his friend being banished and then shunned by his father. But eh…Marty was in the heat of the moment back there and Alex could have been sympathetic to his pal’s plight, no matter how big HIS issue is.
Let’s get back to Melman’s subplot. See when someone is sick around here they just crawl in their dying hole. Melman fixed that but now he’s in a dying hole cuz he’s gonna die soon. Julien and Maurice decide to be important and see this.
Julien brings some humor back into this story and then tries to convince Melman to just tell Gloria how he feels about her. This works and Melman jumps out to do just that. Right now, Gloria Is on a date with Moto Moto.
Gloria asks Moto Moto what it is he likes about her. His answer is her plumpy-ness, of course. Yeah, this movie has a weird pro fat vibe in this subplot. Right here it seems that Gloria doesn’t like Moto seems to like her only for her body, and not her personality.
Then Melman barges in and after some stammering…
“Listen here Moto, you better treat this lady like a queen. Cause’ right here you have the perfect woman and If I ever found the perfect woman, I would give her flowers every day. I’d be her shoulder to cry on, and her best friend”
You know, Melman loving Gloria may have come out of nowhere…but that was pretty sweet. So the next day, the watering hole gang finds out that…well the water is all gone.
Alec Baldwin is…unsympathetic, even though HE has no water. He just talks how life isn’t fair and whatever. He wants them to fight over that tiny bit of water left. Alex walks in and says he is willing to leave the reserve to figure out a solution, since he’s left before and survived.
Alec laughs in his face but Alex is gonna prove him wrong. The other animals are pissed at Alec and want Zuba back. Alec says he will consult with him.
Believing he may not quite make it, Alec tries to find Marty but has trouble finding him in the crowd of Zebras. Alex just tells the whole crowd he is going off the reserve. He has to do this alone.
“Marty, I know you are in here. You’ve been a great friend. You’ve helped me so often to see the bright side of my problems. But I was never there for you when you needed me. Just like back at the zoo. I just want you to know that…you’re one in a million”
Given how this movie seems to pacing itself with everything, I’m shocked at how well done these dilemmas and moments are. This bit is quite touching.
Alex is able to single out the real marty from the crowd.
“You know what makes you special? They’re white with black stripes. You’re black with white strips”
This is a callback to a joke in the first movie, where Alex wakes up LICKING Marty, but says he was counting stripes, and he found out he has more black than white. Heh.
So with that, Marty forgives him and decides to join Alex on his quest. Back at the watering whole, Julien suggests making a sacrifice to the water gods. As in, throwing someone in the volcano, so that the gods give them the water back. The animals ask if that will work.
MAURICE: …eh, 50/50
The animals are cool with that. So now they will throw someone in the volcano. Someone willing to be a hero for the good of his peers. Someone badass..
MELMAN: I’ll do it.
That’s right. Melman is gonna die anyway, so he decides he’ll just get it over with if it means his friends and especially Gloria get their water in the process. Now THAT is awesome.
He tells this to Gloria and also confess his love in a nice way. Also, Zuba’s wife reminds him that Alex coming back was a miracle. They lost him once. They can’t lose him again over something stupid.
But then Scar-i mean Alec Baldwin’s character, comes over telling him about the water thing. He also tells him about how Alex went off the reserve. With that, Zuba runs off to rescue him. I guess Alec’s plan was to…i don’t know. I guess there’s a chance Zuba will get in trouble over there…somehow. He’s not the best Dreamworks villain, is he?
Out in the African jungle, Alex and Marty comes across a ton of wood that is blocking the water. Not too far off from there is the lost safari group. They seem to be worshiping the old lady now.
But it isn’t too long before they capture him. At the same time, Melman arrives at the volcano, ready to be sacrificed. But rhen Joe the witch doctor pops up with the other giraffe dudes.
“I thought you were dead”
“So did I. But then I realized I’m covered in brown spots!”
“So, Melman’s not dying!”
Yeah, I saw that coming. But doesn’t take away what Melman was about to do. Gloria shows up to stop him but he almost falls in the lave. Gloria is able to hold him up though.
“Did you mean all those things you said about me?”
“Of course I did”
“…It’s crazy. It’s crazy to think I had to go halfway around the world to find out that the perfect guy for me was right here”
They then cuddle was no animator wants to animate a Giraffe/Hippo kiss. With that done, Marty shows up to tell them what happened. You know, I found the Melman/Gloria thing kind of sweet, even if it’s not too original. But I’ll get into that in the final thoughts.
Marty wants to use the plane the penguins are making to rescue him, but the monkeys refuse to work cuz they have deals to work out with the penguins. I won’t say what they want cuz some jokes are too odd to spoil.
Anyway, the safari group is getting ready to pretty much eat Alex. They have pretty much gone insane thanks to this old lady. Man, she really hates Alex, to the point she’s willing to EAT him. See what I mean when I said she gets worse?
Zuba shows up to awesomely rescue him but once he does, they are still surrounded. So Alex does the only thing he can do…DANCE! It’ surprisingly effective.
The human recognize these moves and figure out this is their beloved Alex. Zuba dances with Alex cuz why not. This calms the people down but of course the old lady is still out for lion blood.
She even grabs a GUN she somehow has and tries to shoot him down. I think someone just topped the old lady from Ratatouille…almost. The gang shows up in the newly built plane and lifts alex up by Monkey chain.
They try to get away but geez, this old woman is persistent. Alex and Zuba are in some bucket thingy that the plane is now carrying around and they fly right into the old lady who is standing on top of the wood blocking the water.
This gets rid of the wood and gets the water flowing again. Where did the old lady go? ..She pops up in a bit.
So anyway, they was a minor running gag with Mort trying to follow him, like when he pops up on the wing of the plane. Now he’s made it to africa only a shark is right behind him. On land. Breathing perfectly.
I guess they read from the Sharknado book of how sharks work.
The shark chases him but Mort tuns out the water and the shark falls in the volcano. Kind of dark for a kid’s movie, but alright. And since the water is now flowing, they think the sacrifice worked.
The gang makes it back to the watering hole and it’s happy reunion and stuff. But Alec is still a dick and says this doesn’t change anything. But Alex acts chill and gives him a handbag,.
The same that belonged to the old lady, who they captured. She spots a dirty lion with her handbag, she kicks his ass. See, she’s a much better villain than Scar ripoff here.
She chases him off, never to be heard from again. Not even in the 3rd one. Bye!
So with that, Zuba offers to make Alex king of the pride. But this crown belongs to him so Alex gives it back to him. So it’s all happy and stuff.
We cut to later, as they celebrate the wedding of this movie’s real power couple…Skipper and the Hula Girl dashboard thingy. This was another running joke skipped, which was pretty funny. This brings into funnier but weirder Territory. Also this is my 10000th OTP.
The lovely couple heads off in the plane ,promising to be back after their honeymoon in monte carlo. The old gang decides that they are in hurry to leave anymore. They’ve found their true paradise.
Alex found his dad and fixed their issues, Melman and Gloria are in love, and Marty knows hi friendship with Alex is true and stuff.
MARTY: Love has no boundaries.
That’s the moral I gathered from this movie. So it looks they are stuck in Africa was a little bit, but as I said, they are cool with it. At least until the next movie but that’s another story.
Alex pals around with dad the other guys as they walk off into the sunset. A remix of I like to move it move it plays us out. Roll Credits.
I’ve been commenting of how the films recently for some reason. So i’ll keep doing by saying I’ll accept this ending since it feels fine.
As far as animated sequels, this is a example of how to do it right. They continue the story from the first movie, while also keeping the characters going and they mix in old and new stuff perfectly.
Considering the type of movie this is, you’d think the plot would be a re-hash or just lazy. You’d also think the characters wouldn’t move on the right direction or whatever. But this, Shrek 2, and Kung fu Panda 2, proves that Dreamworks knows how to do a good sequel.
While the story isn’t as unexpected as the first movie, I was interested in it more this time. Each character has their own separately subplot, but they are all mostly interesting and they way they effect the overall plot and tie in is great.
Some could call it muddled with how the subplots end up in the main plot, but I call it clever writing. Alex’s plot is a good center to it all, and I really liked seeing his backstory. They even fit in some very sweet moments with them.
Alex continues to my favorite character to come out of these movies. (Outside of the penguins). He is developed so well with how he interacts with others. And again, Ben Stiller is great in this role.
Melman’s plot didn’t have much to it aside for the Gloria thing, but it was still pretty interesting. He actually became more interesting to me with how he’s willing to do anything for his love, even die. The romance thing does come out of nowhere, but I like it.
Yes, it’s not original. Yes, it’s not complex. Yes, i’m not sure why he’s attracted to a fat hippo. But dammit, it was so sweet. Melman isn’t as funny this time but he’s more interesting. His romantic subplot ties into the plot well too.
Gloria remains the least interesting. She gets some good jokes like the first one, but for some reason she just isn’t too interesting. It’s highlighted more here, as her subplot doesn’t really do much until Melman enters the picture.
Infact, Gloria is mostly interesting when it comes to Melman’s subplot, not hers. Her job is to have Melman be in love with her. But eh….that’s okay. She’s just funny enough and the subplot is so good that I can forgive it.
Marty doesn’t get a ton of focus in the main plot, even after the fact, but he’s still pretty funny. His deal feels oddly distant from the plot, as his bits with Alex don’t seem to tie into the story. It ties into the characters, but not the story.
Though I thijnk this adds to the story in a weird way. I like his personal dilemmas with no being unqiuq and his friendship with Alex. He’s moved beyond “Chris Rock as a zebra”. He’s an actual character we feel for, and again, his issue is nice and we get some sweet moments to add to both characters very funny.’
Plus, they made the idea of 1000 Chris Rock’s appealing. That’s hard to do.
They do a very good job at juggling these characters, developing them ,and keeping them fairly interesting. They use the old character as much they can while keeping things fresh with new character. Alex’s mom doesn’t much, but his dad is cool. He was cool, had sweet moments, andc Bernie Mac is awesome.
Yes, the film is ddicated to him. D’aww.
As I said before, i’m not a big fan of Moto Moto but I can live with him. The villain was…okay. Alec Baldwin does a good villain voice, but he’s no Dennis this time. It seems like he’s there to be a villain and nothing else. He has a reason to exist and he plays into the story fine/
But like Doug Walker said, he just isn’t that funny. I don’t think the writers knew his real motivation. He becomes king but after that…nothing. He doesn’t have a reason to be evil or even in the movie. Like I said before, he’s not one of the better villains.
But that old lady is so hilarious that I think she’s the best Dreamworks villain ever. Kidding, but she’s still funny. And she’s part of this movies strong point: It knows when to keep old jokes and characters, but it keeps doing fresh and new things.
So the story and characters are pretty nice. But is it better than the first one? …Yes, and no. Yes, in that I found the story more interesting and it works better in the animation department.
In a way, I appreciate this one more for how it works as a sequel and how amusing it is. The humor is just as good, with funny interactions and great ideas. But for the bulk of the movie, there isn’t a ton of humor. Sort of like with Shrek 4 though I liked that film’s story more.
Which made me not like it as much when I first saw it. But upon re-watch, I see that there are plenty of jokes. And what jokes there are even better than the first one. They also mix story ans humor much better this time, which is a big plus.
But some of the issues, like with the villain drag it down. So it is truly better than the first one? Eh…yes, but it’s mostly on part. This is the film in the series I usually like the most. Though most would say 3 is the best. Do I agree? Find out….someday, cuz I’m doing a worse movie next.
Either way, this is a very good sequel with good characters, a well done story, and very funny humor.