Tag Archives: Madagascar

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa RE-view #NetflixReview #Madagascar

literally Lion King retold … but Shrekified

check out the RE-view of Madagascar here

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa picks up where Madagascar left off: with our cadre of lovable animal friends trying to escape Madagascar where they were washed up in the original film, Robinson Crusoe style. In a penguin-piloted plane back to New York — what could go wrong? Well, a lot — surprisingly. Short story shorter: they crash land in Africa.

Madagascar 2 takes the charm and the likable characters of the first movie but rounds them out by giving a deep backstory to our fully three dimensional characters (ahem). Yes, we find out the origins of our main protagonist Alex the Lion. Madagascar 2 also bounces along fine, but I couldn’t help but feel that in order to avoid totally rehashing the plot of the first movie as so often happens in light-hearted comedies (Family Affair 1 and 2, Harold and Kumar 1 and 2, Ace Ventura 1 and 2, and so on), the writers decided to shamefacedly go down the plagiarism route: this story is literally Lion King retold with the Madagascar characters but pushed in a slightly Shrekified direction.

There’s the odd cultural reference, as in Madagascar, but thankfully these are few and far between. The jokes are actually jokes, not references.

Unoriginal it may be, and definitely the inferior Dreamworks computer animated franchise of the noughties (Shrek is the undoubted king whose sheen has not been dimmed by the passing of time), it is none-the-less entertaining. Likable characters, a simple story well-told, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is an entertaining way to waste ninety minutes (yeah, it’s a waste — you’re not learning anything here, and there’s nothing philosophical to unwrap).

3/5

© 2022 Bryan A. J. Parry

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Madagascar (2005) RE-view #NetflixReview #Madagascar

… neurotic weed (voiced by an American Jew), and the fat chunky one (voiced by a black person) … racist

Madagascar is a fish-out-of-water tale of a group of zoo animal friends — hippo, giraffe, zebra and, err, lion (they’re from a zoo, they don’t know any better!) — who find themselves stranded on a distant island (no prizes for guessing which one). Can they survive in the wild, and will the jungle threaten to break their relationship as their true animal natures begin to assert themselves? Well, it’s a kids’ film, so no surprises.

Madagascar is a charming film with some lovable albeit unoriginal characters: cool leader (voiced by a white, all-American guy), wise-cracking donkey sorry zebra sidekick voiced by a leading black American stand-up, neurotic weed (voiced by an American Jew), and the fat chunky one (voiced by a black person). Oh, and there’s Sacha Baron Cohen doing a possibly racist generic foreigner voice, again.

But we can’t judge this 2005 flick by today’s somewhat different social mores. The fact that Ross Geller, Sorry David Schwimmer, is part of the leading cast should date this film considerably (no prizes for guessing which of our foursome he is — and no offence to Schwimmer, he is a genuinely talented performer, but let’s be honest — he hasn’t exactly been flush for film roles in the last decade or so, has he?). So how is it as a film?

It’s good. It’s still good. The characters have a balanced relationship between them. There are some great set pieces. There’s the whole emotional journey thing. There’s a friendship hanging in the balance. There’s the odd cultural reference; not too many to charge the writers with laziness, as most of the gags are gags are not “I-know-what-he-is-referencing-!-lol” so-called gags which blight much of the world of comedy these days.

Is it inferior to Ice Age and Shrek? Well, yes. It always was. But it’s a good way to waste ninety minutes.

© 2022 Bryan A. J. Parry

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