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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More heart, humor than the first
Dreamworks' animated films have not been able to hold a candle to caliber of Disney/Pixar films, but let's face it: who can? That said, Madagascar 2 is learning from Pixar at the very least. Animated films work when they are able to successfully blend humor, heart, and a good story to keep the audience sustained for at least 90 minutes.

Madagascar 2 starts in...
Published on February 8, 2009 by Poor Napoleon

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite up to the cut of the first.
Funny movie that had some great parts for kids and adults. Not a side-splitting funny movie, but worth to watch if there's nothing else on.
Published on October 26, 2009 by Ben Larkins


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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More heart, humor than the first, February 8, 2009
By 
Poor Napoleon (TX United States) - See all my reviews
Dreamworks' animated films have not been able to hold a candle to caliber of Disney/Pixar films, but let's face it: who can? That said, Madagascar 2 is learning from Pixar at the very least. Animated films work when they are able to successfully blend humor, heart, and a good story to keep the audience sustained for at least 90 minutes.

Madagascar 2 starts in the right direction by presenting a very nice opening featuring a brief origin of Alex and how he got to New York. It's probably less than 5 minutes, but already set the tone for the heart of the picture, which focuses chiefly on Alex fitting in with his fellow lions. The other chief characters are also stumbling as they interact with their own in Africa.

Also back is the humor. I sometimes feel like the movies would be funnier if the penguins had more screen time, but they are still funny in whatever scenes they're in. The granny who beat up Alex in the first film is also back for some humor. The humor is better and more consistent than the first.

The only flaw in the film is that it is fairly predictable. The chracters are a little bit better here than in the first and it has a good heart, but sometimes they don't spend as long on the emotional aspect as they could. It's still good entertainment and I like to see Dreamworks progress with their films.
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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars penguin adventures, February 1, 2009
By 
bob (charlottesville VA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
note: this blue ray includes the nick penguins episodes available in the dvd 2 pack
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strong sequel, February 27, 2011
By 
D. Knox "Podbodies Nerfect" (Glendale, Arizona United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Blu-ray)
Surprisingly Madagascar Escape2Africa is as enjoyable as the first film, which these days of shoddy sequels of a feat unto itself. The Bluray transfer is excellent. Picture 5/5 Sound 4/5 (Because it is 5.1) My wife and kids loved the first film and were just as entertained by this one. Also the decision to include DVDs and not digital copies was a wise choice. Every other digital copy I try to download into iTunes fails because they are expired. Why oh why do the studios do this. Digital copies are splashed over the covers of DVDs and now Bluray. So kudos to Dreamworks for including proper DVDs. For those of us that have children and travel, at least me, love having a DVD to play in the minivan and my portable DVD player.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything and More, February 6, 2009
After the Furious Five fiasco, Dreamworks has decided to give you all the goodies--and more--in the Blu-Ray release of Madagascar 2. Not only do you get the behind-the-scenes, commentary, and other extras of the DVD, you also get the two Penguin cartoons from the 2-pack DVD bundle...and...

Easter Eggs! Go to the Penguin episodes menu. Highlight an episode. Move the directional controller on your remote and a penguin appears! Each episode will let you slide off the menu to two penguins, for a total of four extra "short" animations that launch when you select the penguin.

The Penguin episodes (and shorts) are hilarious. The quality of the Blu-Ray version is eye-popping: while Kung-Fu Panda produces lots of color and detail, Madagascar 2 goes it one step further with some pretty amazing depth of focus. Some of the panning shots, for example, seem to pop off the screen.

In addition to all this, BD Live will connect you to other extras: we watched a pretty good short documentary about lions, for example. The way the menu is built makes me think there might be more to come.

If you haven't seen this movie yet, Madagascar 2 is a bizarre and hilarious sequel. It introduces new characters, keeps the favorites from the first, and adds yet more movie spoofs and references for the grown-ups, some of them obvious (the Lion King) and some more obscure (The In-Laws). If you're buying for a small child, chances are they might not follow the nuances of blu-ray: the DVD will upscale enough on most players. But for the best experience, this blu-ray is the version to buy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The popular castaways of "MADAGASCAR" are back!, February 19, 2009
Hilarious and extremely entertaining! If you enjoyed "MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA" in the theater, you're going to enjoy the picture and audio quality on Blu-ray! Fantastic!

The popular castaways of "MADAGASCAR" are back!

In the first film, we learned about how the popular animals that came from a New York zoo ended up in Madagascar but now, the gang try to return back to New York but things don't go quite as planned.

"MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA" is a very entertaining film and the animation just screams of CG awesomeness that can be seen from the hair on Zuba with the white strands among the darker strands of hair to the water and the physics of water and just the beautiful landscape of how the animators really tried to capture the beauty of Africa from its weeds, the hills, the trees especially the clouds.

Also, what was amazing is the number of talent used in this film and I didn't know until watching the special features is that "MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA" was the final film which featured popular comedian Bernie Mac before his death and that it was screened for the family and even included a dedication for him in the ending credits.

The voice acting was very well done by each talent and again, I am totally impressed by the storyline and how beautiful the film looked and how great it sounds on Blu-ray.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

The film is featured in 1080p High Definition (AVC-encoded) transfer that is beautiful! Needless to say, when it comes to picture quality, DreamWorks Entertainment has not let anyone down. If anything, I think there is a high anticipation that the film look great on Blu-ray and the animators successfully have done so. Detail on nearly everything from the land, the clouds, solid objects, the water, the ground, the hair on the characters. You name it, they went all out in making sure the visual experience of watching this film, videophiles will just fall in love for it. For me, water physics is one of the most difficult things for animators to do. And to see how far they have gone with making liquid look natural, especially in this film and how it reacts and how great it looks is amazing! I didn't notice any artifacting and overall, the picture quality is perfect!

As for the audio, audio is featured in TrueHD5.1. Equally as impressive as the video quality, dialogue is clear, music is alive (especially how it's used in the rear channels) and a great use of ambient noise. From the noise of the airplane to several actions sequences especially near the end of the film, really great delivery of audio. Again, another perfect soundtrack to along with the perfect video quality!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

And DreamWorks didn't stop with the video and audio quality, they also added plenty of special features to keep "MADAGASCAR" fans busy. Included in the special features are:

* Commentary: Filmmakers' Commentary - A very good audio commentary from co-directors Tom McGrath and Eric Darnell with producers Mireille Soria and Mark Swift in regards to animation, working with the talent, working with the design team and this commentary features optional English subtitles.
* Commentary: The Animators' Corner - Unlike the commentary above, you can watch the four via picture-in-picture but this time you get certain animated storyboards and much more including brief shots of the talent in the recording studio.
* Commentary: Trivia Track - The trivia track well thrown in tidbits that you will see via graphic on the bottom of the screen with tidbits from the film. Such as "animators named the clouds as individual characters when they were working on them" or "creating the movement of the water was one of the difficult challenges for the animators" and many, many more information from the film.
* Featurette: It's a Family Affair: The Cast of Escape 2 Africa HD - This featurette was highly entertaining as each talent was interviewed in regards to their role. And you learn that Ben Stiller had his children involved in recording of the scenes, as did Jada Pinkett Smith had her daughter due the voice of a younger Gloria. Moto Moto's sexy voice by will.i.am and much more. Also, the director and Ben Stiller talking about working with Bernie Mac and so forth. A very entertaining featurette!
* Featurette: The Making of Escape 2 Africa HD - An overview on the production of the film.
* Featurette: Crash Landing HD - A fun featurette in how the crew worked out the storyboard for the crash landing and even coming up with ideas using a couch and how the characters would end up flying around the plane by enacting certain scenes. Interesting featurette on how that scene came about!
* Featurette: African Adventure HD - In order to capture the essence of Africa, the director, producers and some staff had to experience it by going there. Being near wild animals, seeing how they interact, how beautiful the landscape was and trying to capture that in the animation and more.
* Featurette: Jambo Jambo: Swahili Speak HD - An informative featurette on learning swahili. There is about 36 minutes of learning various words and phrases in Swahili (especially in how it relates to the film).
* Featurette: The Bronx Zoo: Madagascar HD - The Bronx Zoo is one of the few zoos to have animals from Madagascar and featuring some of the animals from the exhibit.
* Featurette: Popcorn Panic (#101) HD - An episode from the upcoming Nickelodeon animated series featuring our favorite Madascar penguins, Julien, Maurice and Mort. In this case, a no feeding animals popcorn rule has been enforced and the penguins and animals are not too happy about it and try to get their hands on popcorn.
* Featurette: Gone in a Flash (#103) HD - An episode from the upcoming Nickelodeon animated series featuring our favorite Madagascar penguins and characters such as Julie, Maurice, Mort and other zoo friends.
* Music Videos: "Move It, Move It" Music Video HD, "Big and Chunky" Music Video HD, "She Loves Me" Music Video HD
* Alex's Dance Off HD - If your kids want to learn the dance moves of Alex, this is the way to go!
* Music Videos: Sing Along HD - Sing along to the songs sung in the film!
* Music Videos: DWA Jukebox HD - Featuring a music clip from "MADAGASCAR", "THE BEE MOVIE", "SHREK 1 & 2', "KUNG-FU PANDA, "Over the Hedge" and more.
* Games: Test Flight of Air Penguin Game - A point and click video game for the family.
* Easter Eggs: There are six Easter Eggs according to DreamWorks, I have yet to find them!

JUDGMENT CALL:

"MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA" is an entertaining and highly enjoyable film!

If anything, my son has had "Madagascar in the Brain" with his constant singing of will.i.am's "Move it, Move it" song and for Blu-ray, Paramount has released animated titles that were just solid in picture and audio quality and "MADAGASAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA" does not disappoint in any category.

The storyline was well-written, with so much talent involved, each has done a tremendous job for their characters and you really have to give the crew a standing ovation in accomplishing one of the most awesome animated sequences with the high amount of detail from the characters, outdoors, objects. You name it, they did a spectacular job in making this film look so beautiful! And of course, the audio is just as spectacular and the music and audio during the action sequences is just as alive. To top it off, the Blu-ray is just filled with special features galore!

Overall, this is a great example of a perfect Blu-ray release. Perfect in all categories and a release worth owning!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must See Comedy, Animation and Characters!, February 8, 2009
"Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" is entertaining to all ages - the movie has an immediately engaging storyline full of lovable characters: Alex the lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman (the Giraffe), Gloria (the Hippo) , King Julien (the Lemur), Maurice and the penguins and the chimps are comic and well defined in this movie. If this is the sequel, Madagascar 1 is a "must see"! So not knowing much about Madagascar 1, I was still able to enjoy and understand the story of this movie. A group of animals (Lion, Zebra, Giraffe, and Monkeys) from a New York Zoo trying to understand their roots after arriving in Africa after spending most or all of their lives in captivity. The Penguins are a hoot - and the movie is a fascinating funny romp.

The film evidently picks up with them trying to fly back to New York in an old World War II fighter plane - shot through the air with a giant slingshot. After a hilarious take off and flight for a short period of time, the plane crashes in Madagascar - and through luck, Alex, the Lion somehow finds his father and mother and the other animals find their own kind as well. Alex must prove he is "King" and take over the title from his father. Alec Baldwin plays the villain as his rival Makunga.

There is also a hilarious role of hippo-Casanova Moto Moto who is romancing Gloria (the Zoo hippo - who does not realize the Giraffe has always been in love with her. The movie is full of sub-plots and animal drama and great laugh lines. It is a madcap romp - and Africa seems like a great place - but we wonder if it is better than their Central Park Zoo?

Lots of friendship, love, teamwork, and family bonds are developed with this entertaining movie. There is a tough tourist -granny - who manages to steal some laughs from the crazy escape artist penguins. Granny stands out as she is a real fighter. Every character delivers and the happy dancing Alex (the Lion) and other animals always deliver the fun on many fronts.

The voice casting is perfection! Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer and Jada Pinkett Smith are fabulous-should win a "voice Oscar".

And - FUNNY - with spectacular animation and lovable characters (King Julian the Lemur was too funny describing why the gods needed a sacrifice-Laughing still) - A must see movie for all ages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Though Quite Different, More of the Same, October 3, 2010
By 
ONENEO (Buffalo, NY) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
In the event that you missed my review of the first Madagascar (gasps), allow me to summarize the bottom line: It was funny and it was pretty. It could have been funnier and it could have been a lot funnier but it was pretty. It earned its 3.5 star score the old fashioned way even if my own elevated expectations resulted in a bit of disappointment.

Fortunately the powers-that-be saw enough potential in the zoo escapee quartet to warrant a sequel (and actually a weekly Penguins spin off on Nickelodeon shortly thereafter). I can start by cutting right to the chase here- Madagascar Escape 2 Africa is a worthy sequel to the first film, swapping around a few strengths and weaknesses while managing to maintain a pretty similar wacky vibe. The original case and directorial team returned for the sequel which immediately puts this one in a tier above such direct-to-DVD sequels as Open Season 2.

But before all that, let's talk about the plot. The core of this tale, written by Etan Cohen and directors Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, once again follows the exploits of Alex (Ben Stiller), a showboating lion who, along with his buddies, escaped from caged captivity to the wild. Accompanying Alex are the wisecracking zebra, Marty (Chris Rock); the neurotic giraffe, Melman (David Schwimmer); and hippo with ever-expanding junk in the trunk, Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith).

When last we left this ragtag group of refugees, they found themselves trapped on the lush island of Madagascar, far from their destination (Africa) but even farther from their home in New York City. This time the film opens with the later phases of their apparent final farewell to the island via a rickety formerly-downed plane operated by none other than the militant penguin crew.

After a launch that looks remarkably similar to the paper airplane exploits of my youth, the gang finds themselves crash-landed on their original destination: A game reserve on the savannah. Here the plot becomes a bit bumpy- the penguins (with some help from the genuinely funny chimps) begin reconstruction of the plane that got them here but the viewer isn't quite sure that, as seeing how the gang is finally united with others of their own species in the wild, if the long term goal is to stay or return to the zoo where the adventure all began.

It really doesn't matter though either way because the film wastes little time setting up a whole bunch of subplots/ gags that detract from the greater plot purpose. Alex finds himself attempting to gain acceptance in his parents' pride, Melman is deemed a profit to the fellow giraffes, Marty discovers that he is simply a clone of all of the other zebras in the herd, and Gloria learns that her voluptuous nature is just the ticket to attracting a smooth-talking hippo playboy.

Of course even the film's writers and directors realized that some of these same old gags (yes Alex manages to tangle with the little old lady again) are a bit tired so there is no shortage of side characters to break up the monotony. The penguins are back, the chimps, and the lemurs as well.

Ben Stiller really manages to elevate the game just as he did in the first film with his infectious energy and Jada Pinkett Smith (thankfully) seems to have realized sometime between Madagascars that acting occasionally requires you to play someone other than your real life self as Gloria actually has a personality this time around.

The backgrounds are pretty darn spectacular again but, and not unlike in the real world, much more bleached out and open (opposed to the colorful lushness of the first). There are a whole host of new characters brought into the fold (including one of the final performances of comedic mastermind Berne Mac as Alex's dad, Alec Baldwin as the antagonist lion and the pop singer Will-I-Am (of the Black Eyed Peas) as Gloria's hippopotamus suitor).

In all Madagascar succeeds on several levels but is by no means a masterwork on any particular aspect of filmmaking. Some of the original gags feel a bit overdone this time but at least the further development of the characters offsets some of this.

As much as I wanted to say that this film was superior to the original, the fact of the matter is that it isn't. Fortunately it's no worse either. Rather, what we have here is essentially the same formula of the first film over again: A few humorous moments, some impressive visuals, a few annoying moments, and a bit of soaring prose. Fans of the original will surely find much to like here but on the same token, if the original didn't tickle your fancy, this one is probably better avoided.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Madagascar-Escape 2 Africa..........It's Crack-a-lackin'......., February 10, 2009
By 
blackaciddevil (in the USA somewhere.....) - See all my reviews
One of the few animated sequels that surpasses the original....and you can quote me on that, folks. Given, it's not quite as funny as the original but it isn't supposed to be because there's a lesson to be learned with this movie. See, the film tells us in a back story that Alex came to the zoo, originally, from Africa. Poachers try to capture him but he escapes in a crate(of all things) and floats all the way to America(where the Central Park Zoo takes him in). Fast forward to present day, the penguins renovate a downed airplane and volunteer to return everybody, including King Julien, Maurice, Mort, and the chimps, to New York. Sadly, they run out of gas and crash-land in Africa where Alex reunites with his Mom and Dad. Makunga, a lion who is vying for control of the leadership of the pride, uses Alex to his advantage to take control. This is where things get interesting.

One thing I've learned in my years of watching movies is that, when you're following up a film that scored big at the box office, you'll have to exceed all expectations and improve on everything(and I do mean everything) that made the original so successful. While I loved the recent release of Open Season 2(and recommend it), it still lacked that certain somethin'-somethin' that made the first film so great. Yet, Dreamworks outdid themselves with this sequel and I applaud them.

Directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath, the feature stars: Ben Stiller, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer, Chris Rock, Alec Baldwin, Bernie Mack, Sherri Shepard(The View), Will,i.am, Andy Richter, Cedric the Entertainer, and Sacha Baron Cohen. Bonus Features include:the 'Making of Escape 2 Africa' featurette which explores putting together the sequel, an entertaining bit on voice casting, a bit on the research done in Africa to make sure this film looked authentic, MAD Music Videos, and the 'Test Flight of Air Penguin' game.

If you haven't checked out Madagascar-Escape 2 Africa, do so now. You'll be glad you did.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another awesome BD with all the extras, February 5, 2009
Wow. One could spend some serious paragraphs dissecting all that is great about this one. Clarity, picture, colors, sounds, extras - they are all there.

As listed earlier, the much sought after Penguins episode is included on this BD, along with four music videos, fun games, trivia and plenty of material to give the kids some additional insight about all the that is Madagascar - and all in hidef! Oh yeah, the story is funny and has lines to keep both the adults and kids entertained.

The movie has been a hit in the store and shows off any HD display beautifully. The sound and music are mixed very well but the animation clarity even shows through enough for kids to say how "totally cool" it looks. Just had a pre-school class of girls visit the store for a field trip and all 7 of them loved it.

Hope you enjoy...forgot to mention: I laughed out loud more than a few times, those penguins are great ("...you're all males..") - gotta love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!!, October 6, 2011
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This review is from: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo) (Blu-ray)
My children and I LOVED the first one and this one was a perfect follow up. We have watched this so much that my 6 year old can voice the whole script if we allowed him to...lol Definitely worth adding to your collection and the blue-ray makes these characters come to life!
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Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
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