“Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” Does Not Have a Heartfelt Connection

Genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy, Animation and Sequel
Running Time: 1 hr. 29 min.
Release Date: November 7th, 2008 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG for some mild crude humor.
Distributors: DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures

Director: Tom McGrath, Eric Darnell

JJ Rating: B

Alex (Ben Stiller), Marty (Chris Rock), Gloria (Jada Pinkett-Smith), and Melman (David Schwimmer) get on a plane heading back to New York and crash land in Africa. Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa.

The voice talent was great, no qualms there. There was sadness because I heard Zuba’s voice (who happens to be Alex’s father) and was like is that Bernie Mac, and it was. I didn’t know he was in this film. I have to say that King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen) is one amusing character. He’s so everywhere but where he needs to be. He created his own world and it’s like everyone is a guest there. He is truly one of the best characters in the film and ever created.

I like the animation because it’s different and that’s good. The problem is that for some reason DreamWorks just lingers behind Disney, to me. They have good characters and stories but the execution just doesn’t pull of that emotional bond of caring for the characters. They are missing that Disney magic. Of course they are not Disney so they can’t have that magic, but they need something to have adults connect as they do with Disney films.

Madagascar II has great scenes that are funny and entertaining. Each of the four main characters has their own storyline to follow. The film is just the right length to get everything done and it doesn’t linger. I really like Marty’s storyline, because it’s the least predictable of the four. It just lacks that connection to the audience that would make them have some sort of emotional bond like they have to, for example, Woody or Buzz; Bambi or Thumper; Belle or the Beast; Abu or the Genie. DreamWork’s characters are there on the screen and they do their job and that’s it.

There is a good running gag that is used well throughout the film. Madagascar II does have its great moments, but they are littered throughout the film and it should be a continuous thing. I grew bored at times. I believe that people who liked the first will most likely like the second one because they did not change the formula. I feel that one of the lions reminded me a lot of Scar from the Lion King. That bugged me a bit.

I did laugh out loud a few times. Those would be the parts I would watch. I just don’t feel that it was up to par with some of the better animations I’ve seen this year and in year’s past. I think Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa was good clean fun with characters that try to make a home in the heart but can’t seem to find an adequate manner of keeping the spot without relinquishing it to the King of Animation: Disney and, of course, Pixar.

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