US Release Date: 11-07-2008
Directed by: Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath
- Ben Stiller, as
- Alex (voice)
- Chris Rock, as
- Marty / Additional Zebras (voice)
- David Schwimmer, as
- Melman (voice)
- Jada Pinkett Smith, as
- Gloria (voice)
- Sacha Baron Cohen, as
- Julien (voice)
- Cedric the Entertainer, as
- Maurice (voice)
- Andy Richter, as
- Mort (voice)
- Bernie Mac, as
- Zuba (voice)
- Alec Baldwin as
- Makunga (voice)
Once again, it is the penguins who steal the show.
The first Madagascar was a fairly entertaining cartoon that started strong but got weaker as it went along. And certainly the characters that stole the movie were the penguins. This time around, Madagascar 2 starts strong and the Penguins steal the movie again, but the good news is that while the opening of the movie is the funniest, it manages to stay pretty consistent throughout and is overall a better cartoon than the original.
As the story opens Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippo are boarding a plane in Madagascar to head back to New York City. This isn't a commercial airline however. It's a plane put together and piloted by the Penguins from the first movie. And the plane flies about as well as you'd expect a plane put together by Penguins to fly and it only makes it to mainland Africa before it crashes in the middle of a wildlife preserve. It's here that Alex is reunited with his parents, whom we learn in a flashback that he was separated from as a cub when he was captured by hunters and ended up in the Central Park Zoo.
Each of the main characters goes through their own storyline. Alex has to deal with the politics of the Lion Pride, Marty comes to terms with not being unique, Gloria looks for love and hypochondriac Melman becomes the doctor of the preserve. It is again though the smaller characters who get the biggest laughs. The Penguins are hilarious as the crack military group that they are. The lead penguin sounds like he's doing an impersonation of Phil Hartman doing an impersonation of Charlton Heston. And Sacha Baron Cohen as the lemur is also quite good as is little Mort.
The penguins definitely get the best lines though. After the plane crashes, one says "Only two passengers unaccounted for, Skipper." To which the other replies, "That's a number I can live with! Good landing, boys! Who says a penguin can't fly?"
Perhaps the only part of the movie I found annoying was the little old lady from the first movie who now coincidentally meets up with the animals again while she's on safari in Africa. She's supposed to be funny, but instead is just grating. Not that I think this movie's intended audience of little kids will mind and her part is small enough to not impact the movie.
It's rare for a sequel to surpass the original, but this is one instance where that is the case.
The gangs all here and just as confused.
The scene where they hit the old lady with the tour bus and then purposely run her over a second time is one of the movies biggest laughs. I also liked the story line of Alex trying to impress his parents. Although it is a bit like The Lion King, it is funny to watch him prance around as a showman not having a clue that he is fighting another lion and not performing a song and dance.
The secondary characters do get some of the better lines. My favorite one is when a penguin is acting like a stewardess, and says, “In case of a loss of oxygen, please place your masks over your faces to hide your terrified expressions from the other passengers.”
With such a good cast, the first Madagascar movie was a disappointment. This sequel was actually a surprise. Oh course it helps to be pleasantly surprised when you watch a movie with little expectations.
This one is funnier than the first.
This is much funnier than the first one. The jokes come quickly and the story really clips along. They did a great job of mixing in the broad humor, like the old lady, with jokes aimed at adults, like the date Gloria goes on with the huge Hippo. The only reason to hire famous actors for animated characters is if the actors have easily recognizable speaking voices. Stiller, Rock and Baldwin are the best here. My brothers both mentioned the penguins and I agree that they steal nearly every scene they are in, I liked the intellectual monkeys as well. Several songs are used to good effect. I liked the brief version of “Private Dancer”, Barry Manilow’s “Copa Cabana” and the theme song “I like to Move It”. That last one makes you want to dance. Visually Madagascar 2 is stunning. I’m not a huge fan of most of today’s animated movies but I have to admit that this one entertained me from start to finish.
Photos © Copyright Dreamworks (2008)