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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Computer Animation > Comedy > Madagascar – Escape 2 Africa (2008/Paramount/DreamWorks Blu-ray)

Madagascar – Escape 2 Africa (2008/Paramount/DreamWorks Blu-ray)


Picture: B+     Sound: B+     Extras: B-     Film: C



Lions and Zebras and Sequels, OH MY!  New to Blu-ray is Madagascar – Escape 2 Africa from DreamWorks Studios.  The first film did enough business and brought enough smiles to children’s faces (not to mention the merchandising) to warrant a sequel.  Though the Madagascar lacked the heart of the Shrek films, it was clearly better than the disappointing Shark’s Tale starring the voice of Will Smith.


The family friendly tale of Madagascar continues where the last film left off and features the same old faces with voice actors such as Ben Stiller (Alex the Lion), Chris Rock (Marty the Zebra), David Schwimmer (Melman the Giraffe), Jada Pinkett Smith (Gloria the Hippo), and Sacha Baron Cohen (Julien the “King” Lemur).  Some new voices such as the late Bernie Mac (Zuba) and Alec Baldwin (Makunga) also appear in this Africa inspired sequel.  As the gang tries to fly home via the aptly named “Penguin Air” after their first adventure they wind up crashing in the heart of Africa.  Even in the heart of Africa Madagascar 2 still lacks soul.  The film is full of subplots for the characters that never quite come together and overall is more distracting than anything.  Sure there are musical numbers and the occasional chuckle here or there, but overall the film did not piece together.  On a positive note, however, the film winds up being just as enjoyable as the first; so take that for what its worth.  The animation is pleasant and the light hearted comedy is enjoyable throughout; it just simply can’t compare to what Pixar or even DreamWorks’ own Shrek has brought to the table.


The review of the first film on Blu-ray Disc can be found at the link below:




The High Definition quality of the feature is pretty decent as far as picture and sound; with the extras being mildly entertaining.  The film’s picture is presented in a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 1.85 X 1 transfer that demonstrates bright colors, a crisp image, and wonderful texture.  I would not say this is on the level of a Disney/Pixar release, but the vivid image stands out and nicely presents the power of Blu-ray and High Definition.  The sound is a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround Track (48kHz/24bit) that is immersive throughout as it brings the characters and jungle atmosphere to life.  The sound is clean throughout as it pans across the full speaker range and is demonstrated best during the explosive action sequences.


The extras include The Penguins of Madagascar a short that takes the best characters in the film on their own adventure and is presented wonderfully as it is funny, engaging, and portrays the same high quality picture and sound.  Other extras include 4 Mad Music Videos/ Alex’s Dance Off which seem to be extended promo spots and a lackluster attempt to showcase some of the film’s music/dance moves.  Test Flight of Air Penguin Video Game is a simplistic interactive game that gets boring quickly, but may entertain the kids for a few minutes.  Jambo Jambo: Swahili Speak, Heart of a Lion, and The Bronx Zoo: Madagascar are three separate featurettes that each explore different real life happenings that pertain to the film; such as real life lion footage, a trip to the Bronx Zoo, and how to speak Swahili.  The Animators’ Corner: Storyboards and Interviews does exactly what it says in a much abbreviated manner, but is interesting never the less.  Finally, the extras include Audio Commentary with co-directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath as well as some of the producers that overall was drab and uninspiring despite four participants and the occasional interesting factoid.


The Blu-ray offers a few exclusive features such as Picture-in-Picture as well as a Trivia Track and BD-Live; nothing truly to write home to mama lion about.


If you enjoyed the first Madagascar (or at least the kids did) then Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is more of the same light hearted fun presented in crisp DreamWorks animation.



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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