Old 11-10-2008, 02:06 PM
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

The animated film industry continues to make big strides, and we the viewers are the ones that benefit from such. Cartoons today have reached an apex where age boundaries don't exist and an audience filled with completely different people can sit and enjoy the same movie. Wall-E did the same earlier this year, stunning critics and movie-goers alike with it's daring charm, bold charisma, deep values, and blah, blah, blah, blah...Madagascar 2 is a good old fashioned comedy. Despite its animated exterior, you'll be soaking up the laughs and wondering how your kids are actually getting these jokes...

Here is my review. It's divided into 6 critique areas. It will contain no spoilers.

INTRO: I was a bit worried. Although interesting to watch, the first 15 minutes had me doubting if this cartoon would actually be funny. The introduction bounces all over the world, from Africa to New York, then To Madagascar. I haven't seen the first film, and if you haven't either, you may wonder if this beginning is necessary. However, those who have seen it will know that it's a FLASHBACK. Fortunately, this portion of the film is short.

PLOT/PACING: Comedies have the unique and powerful ability to entertain without much depth of story. Morph your comedy into cartoon form and the need for plot twists, subtle exposition, and literary devices, disappear even further. I'm not saying that you can't take the story seriously, I'm just saying that you don't have to. An early climax brings the film to an African savannah where all our cast's exploits take place, and 4 story-lines propel the excitement and hilarious theatrics. It may sound and feel like much to keep up with, but none of the side stories making up the overall plot are too deep, or too fleshed out to enjoy each of them properly. If all 4 of these characters had meaty and in-depth plot arcs, it wouldn't be funny, but possibly feel rushed and underdeveloped. Fortunately, all our characters humbly SHARE the screen time and participate in well-written and light-hearted adventures. I found myself always anticipating the next scene to see how my favorite character was doing...

ACTION: I would personally like to meet and congratulate the writers who wrote this amazing script. I've never continuously laughed at a film like I did with this movie. Every scene was hilariously crafted, with perfect dialogue, funny irony, and odd situations that never relented. In most comedies I expect few thrills that will be the highlights of the movie, then I dread the down portions where the story arc hits exposition and it really isn't that funny. Alex and his friends remain innocent of this crime. The jokes are top-notch and witty the entire runtime. There are constant references to modern comedy, spoofs of real-life situations, and small parodies of common phases of adult life. And fortunately, the Shrek-style humor is absent (No play on filthy words, and no toilet humor).

CHARACTERS: I compared these guys to the Ocean crew in my preview. Boy, was I wrong. If you're a fan of Danny and his friends, you'll know that the humor is very tame and sarcastic. Madagascar blows that out of the water. These characters will have you slapping your knee, and possibly tearing up. They supply you with sarcasm as well, but most of it is outrageous and traditionally "ha ha" funny. Like a standard comedy, there are MANY characters in this. The only negative I could possibly mention is that some of the side-actors are actually funnier than our main cast. This may be the case because these characters don't require development or back story, so the only times we see them is for comedy. The Penguin crew, King Julian, and Moto Moto could seriously have their own stand-up gigs and have crowds of people pleading for encores. These guys are just a riot to watch!

CONCLUSION: This is the only part you have to dread when you're watching a comedy. It's usually at this part of the film, where the laughs are over, and everything has to be wrapped up. Not so with Madagascar. Not only is the level of humor maintained, but it's also exciting to see how it all turns out. How will all our characters deal with their problems? The answer is both funny, and satisfying.

SYNOPSIS: While supplying a rich and modern comedic experience, Madagascar is able to rekindle that old love of cartoons we all had when we were kids. Although the material is much different and with far greater technical ability, It mirrors the old Bugs Bunny and Anamaniacs reels with a certain contemporary flavor that demands the attention of you and your kids. I give this cartoon a GOOD rating.

The ending credits gives you the all-star cast that lended their voices in this one. Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer (Ross from Friends), Jada Pinkett Smith, Cedric the Entertainer, Will.i.Am., and we were even graced with the comedic prowess of Bernie Mac for one last time. No wonder it was so funny. Note to Animation Studios: Take a lesson from Madagascar. These guys over at Dreamworks know how to make a good cartoon...


Last edited by eulianthecritic; 11-11-2008 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 11-10-2008, 02:23 PM
I cant wait to see this movie just some snippets in the TV spots for the film I've seen had me cracking up, so this'll be my next trip to the theaters no doubt, and this review has me even more pumped for it.
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