I can’t say that I was particularly excited for this one, and when I heard the “I like to move it” song…I thought I’d be in for the same movie. However, as the film pushed along, I ended up being pleasantly surprised.
Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa brings back all the characters from the first film, as they try to escape Madagascar to get to New York. Unfortunately for them, the plane falls apart mid-flight and the gang ends up in the middle of Africa. Alex (Ben Stiller) meets his long lost parents, Marty (Chris Rock) discovers that there are a lot of zebra just like him, and everyone else gets a bit more in touch with their wild roots. Alex finds out that his father Zuba (Bernie Mac) is the alpha lion, and therefore leader of the wild. So it is only tradition that Alex will become the alpha lion by lineage. Everything does not go to plan, however, when Makunga (Alec Baldwin) conceives a plan to become the leader himself.
While I was not a big fan of the first Madagascar, I have to say that Madagascar 2 is one of the better family films of the year. I thought that much like many of Dreamworks early animated films, the first Madagascar was more star driven than character driven. I just didn’t get into it. This film has much more of a story though, and spends a bit more time developing its characters and their involvement in the plot. The additions to this film such as Alec Baldwin and Bernie Mac’s characters, worked very well for the story.
Madagascar 2 doesn’t necessarily try anything new or different, it just goes for the jokes and gags that made the first film so enjoyable for children and families. One thing that was slightly different though, were the nods or homages that only adults should really pick up on. For instance there is a scene where they are flying through a thunderstorm and Alex see’s a gremlin out on the wing of the plane, Ala Twilight Zone: The Movie. If I remember correctly, there was an Airplane! reference as well. It is these little pop culture references that make the film much more enjoyable for adults of fans of film.
If you would like to get your family out of the house and into a warm theater, the film is a great solution. Expect some laughs and some outrageous songs. This is an enjoyable film for kids and parents alike.
The Upside: Family fun, funny movie references.
The Downside: I had to hear that “move it, move it” song again…
On the Side: It always amazes me how other “critics” can write a review for a film they slept through, and no I don’t mean myself.