DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Film Review - Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (PG)

Dir. Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath

Reviewed by Matt Adcock

It’s a jungle down in your local cinema this week as a crazy bunch of New York City's Central Park Zoo escapees are back on the lose. It’s been three years since a funny series misadventures saw Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) washed up on the isle of Madagascar. Also back is the loopy Julien XIII (Sacha Baron Cohen), self proclaimed king of the lemurs, who decides to accompany the heroes on an ill fated attempted flight back to the Big Apple. The first moral of this sequel story is to never fly ‘Penguin Air’ because although they manage to get airborne, it isn’t long before the plane crash-lands in an African animal reserve. And would you believe it, this happens to be the exact reserve from where Alex grew up… so it’s not long before he’s reunited with his dad Zuba (Bernie Mac) and his mum (Sherri Shepherd). But the happy reunion is cut short thanks to devious Makunga (Alec Baldwin) – Zuba’s brother who has obviously been watching the Lion King because he engineers a pitfall which could see Alex immediately banished from the pride.
There’s more trouble coming from hard as nails Grandma (Elisa Gabrielli), the elderly lady who beat the living daylights out of Alex when they met in the first film, who by coincidence is on an African safari and not happy to see the ‘naughty kitty’ again.
Other unresolved issues left from the first movie such as Melman’s slightly creepy infatuation with Gloria are also explored when she becomes the attention of affection from Moto Moto the male hippo stud of the watering hole.
The scene stealing penguins are the pick of the wild bunch again, led as before by Skipper (co-director Tom McGrath), they take to robbing the local tourists in order to secure parts with which to try to rebuild the plane – and employ a team of funny monkeys to do the labour (thanks to their having opposable thumbs).
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a fun if forgettable addition to the series, the quality cast, witty writing and occasionally impressive CGI artwork certainly make this a watchable all age treat. It’s no Shrek and won’t give Pixar animations any sleepless nights but there was enough here to keep my 8 year old son happy and I must confess to being pleasantly entertained too.

DARKMATTERS RATING SYSTEM (all ratings out of maximum 10 but '-' is bad whereas '+' is good):

Endorphin Stimulation: ööööööö (7)
+ Animal magic -ish

Tasty Action: öööööö (6)
+ slap that stick

Gratuitous Babeness: öööö (4)
+ Gloria is chunky

Mind Blight / Boredom: öööööö (6)
+ Even eight year olds sat through it

Comedic Value: ööööööö (7)
+ No wildlife joke left unused

Arbitrary final rating: öööööö (6)
Nice enough but won't be remembered

Liable to make you:
"book a safari"

DM Poster Quote:
"wildlife can be funny"

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