Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

“Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” (2008) movie poster Ah yes. It is a truism that no man is an island. Unless his name is Madagascar.

This is a funny little film. Very funny. Rather strange. Ultimately entertaining (and a little bit exasperating).

I didn’t like the original Madagascar much. I just didn’t get whether the characters were supposed to be animals-as-metaphors-for-humans (in which case they spent too much time trying to eat each other for my liking), or ‘real’ animals with human voices (in which case why the hell did the lion not eat the zebra a lot earlier?).

This just abandons all notion of realism or actual animal behaviour. It’s all just completely bizarre. All of the characters basically exist to set up the gags. Fortunately it’s really, really funny, in a completely stupid way.


The penguins

Ah! Wonderful. They were the best bit about the first film anyway. In this one, they’re just completely unhinged, manic, yet insanely competent aeronautical engineers. (They build a hellicopter at the end, ferchristssake!) Having no opposable thumbs (“Damn you, Darwin!”), they relegate most of their construction to:

The monkeys

Ah! Again, characters which are funny just to look at. (One of them wears a shirt front and bow-tie, the other a top hat.) And they make comments about throwing poo.

(Yes, it turns out that I have the sense of humour of a 7-year-old.)

Other stuff (like the main characters)

Another wierd one: the giraffe is in love with the hippo. …The film doesn’t really take that one to its final conclusion, but I like to think they have little boy-giraffe and girl-hippo children, as per cartoon convention.

All of the zebras in Africa turn out to be exact clones of the zebra Marty (same character model, and same voice, Chris Rock; only their stripes differ, (plus Marty has green irises in his eyes)). Marty’s story arc goes something a little like this:

  1. He meets the other zebras and is very happy because they are exactly like him. They enjoy running around together.
  2. He discovers that they can do everything that he can do, and this makes him sad.
  3. His friends can’t tell him apart from the other zebras (unsurprising because they look, sound and behave identically). This makes him sad.
  4. Incongruously, just to prove the Power of Friendship, or some crap, Alex the lion suddenly acquires the ability to pick Marty out of a crowd of 10000 other zebras. This isn’t explained, rationised or bloody anything, except inasmuch as You Always Recognise Your Friends (even when they’re standing amongst 9999 clones, who are all milling around and chattering). This is probably supposed to be an important moral lesson, though I must admit that I didn’t get it. Maybe it was just supposed to be strange.

Oh, and Alex has this whole Lion King plot, where he finds his father in Africa, who is the king, but he’s deposed by Scar (or, ‘Makunga’) and the river dries up and… Clever alusion, or a blatent, tongue-in-cheek ‘look what we can get away with’? You decide.

King Julien & Maurice

Julien (Sasha Baron Cohen) sounds like Robin Williams doing a strange Pakistani accent… but it kind of works. He’s oddly, manically, funny (the same could be said about the rest of the movie).


This may come across more as rambling than reviewing, but then the film rambles rather than telling a story.

Fortunately the gags are good. It made me laugh out loud. Especially the monkeys. And the A Team reference.

2 thoughts on “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

  1. nachokb

    About your fourth point on “Other Stuff”. It’s no lesson, just that Marty has a bite in his ass (that’s why Alex recognizes him whe he is looking to the other side).

    It was simply a joke, no analysis needed (except that Alex lied about how he told him aparte, just to make him feel better).

    — nachokb

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