>> Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa (6/10)

madgascar 2I refuse to believe that there are Madagascar fans out there among us–people who cite the first film as one of their all-time favorite films ever.  If those people existed, then their Christmas is truly here, three years later, in the form of Madagascar 2:  Escape 2 Africa.  To me, Madagascar was wholly unremarkable.  Madagascar 2 is more of that, so if you liked that, well, then, here comes a second helping of comedy by committee.

All of the talking animals you vaguely remember (Ben Stiller as Alex, Chris Rock as Marty, David Schwimmer as Melman, Jada Pinkett-Smith as Gloria), including ones I didn’t even remotely remember from the first one (the effeminate chimps) leave Madagascar to return to New York, but their plane crashes on an African wildlife preserve.  Alex is soon reunited with his long-lost parents (Bernie Mac and Sherri Shepherd), and discovers that he is next in line for jungle royalty.  If he wants the position as the Alpha Lion, he must first prove himself against his father’s scheming rival, Makunga (Alec Baldwin).  Meanwhile, Marty deals with identity issues, while Melman struggles with his feelings for Gloria.  The penguin antics take a back seat to the antics of a returning character from the first film–one that nobody asked for–the old Jewish woman who beats Alex with her handbag.  She’s stranded in Africa as well (imagine that), and is ready to beat the crap out of more animals with her handbag.

There’s some really funny stuff in the first half hour or so, then things get predictably lame and dramatic as each character goes through their own personal life-altering life lesson.  They really should’ve kept the gags flowing because, honestly, no one watching is going to care about the unrequited romance between a cartoon hippo and a cartoon giraffe, or whether or not Alex’s father can ever fully accept his son’s dancing as a useful skill.  It’s so much wasted animation–pretty animation, clearly designed to be viewed in 3-D, but still wasted.

Madagascar 2 is competent, time-wasting cinema product.  If it ends up becoming your favorite film of all time, please do yourself a favor, and don’t tell anyone.

6 on a 1 to 10 scale

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1 Comment

  1. This is definitely one of the more needless sequel ideas I could’ve imagined. Well, I guess they figured that they might as well give the people that really liked the first one more of the same.


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