(The Dreamworks-uary logo is shown, before showing clips from Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. Will.I.Am's version of "I Like to Move It" plays throughout)
Doug (vo): Our animal friends return in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa. I really hate movie titles that have the number in the title. For example, "Escape 2 Africa". Does it really make things any easier? "Madagascar 2". There. That was a lot shorter and a lot simpler. But, anyway, how does the movie fare out? Well, the first one, I thought was funny, particularly in the animation department. And this one, well, seems to be a little funnier. It knows what to do with its characters, it knows how to keep fresh jokes coming, and it knows how to keep it fast-paced but also keep a good heart.
Doug (vo): The film starts out exactly where it left off, with our heroes still stuck on the island. But they figure out an almost foolproof way to get themselves back, by repairing the plane and putting it on a giant slingshot. This doesn't quite get them back to New York, but it does get them to Africa, where everyone seems to fit in really, really well. The lion is reunited with his mother and father, the hippo finds a new love, the giraffe's germaphobia upgrades him to doctor, and the zebra manages to fit in, too, maybe even a little too well. Things start to come undone, though, when the lion, it turns out, has to pass some sort of test in order to stay in the herd. But seeing how he's a performer and not really a survivor, he finds that task is much harder than it seems. And the rest of our heroes also find that there's downsides to their paradise as well. Will they stay and work it out, or is it time to move on to Movie #3? Well, seeing how Movie #3 has them in Europe, I think it's kind of a safe bet to assume what's going to happen.
Doug (vo): But again, what makes it good is in what comedic ways it happens, and once again, the movie really shines in the comedy and the animation. It's got some low points, like I'm finding out more and more that Jada Pinkett Smith's and David Schwimmer's characters are not especially interesting, at least, not in the joke department.
[The film's villain, Makunga the lion, is shown in several clips]
Doug (vo): I also think the villain is kind of weak. Well, maybe not weak, just not funny. Alec Baldwin does a good job playing a slimy, unlikeable, detestable creature, and he's also good in the movie, too. [Chuckles] I digress. He actually does do a good job, it's just, I would've liked a little bit more comedy to come out of him.
[Alex's father, Zuba, is shown next]
Doug (vo): That's Bernie Mac playing the lion's father, doing a surprisingly very heartfelt performance. Not too many funny lines come out of him, but it still feels very genuine.
[Chris Rock's character, Marty the Zebra, is shown in several clips]
Doug (vo): I'm finding more and more my favorite character out of these movies is the zebra. Something about Chris Rock's lines and his delivery and his performance, I don't know, it just cracks me up. He's so likeable and energetic. And in this one, just having a million Chris Rocks talk, I don't know, that just really cracks me up for some reason.
Zebras: [all voiced by Chris Rock] We are unique! Exactly the same! [The film's secondary antagonist, the old lady from the first film, is shown]
Doug (vo): Oh, and guess who else is back? That crazy old lady that just had a quick cameo in the first one. But now, she's, like, one of the main characters. She leads an abandoned safari hunt group, a bunch of the tourists almost go Lord of the Flies, and, by God, she is just determined to find this lion again. I don't know what her beef is, but she just kills me. And that's one of the movie's strong points. It knows when to keep continuing jokes, which characters to hold on to, but also knows when to add new material and up the ante. It isn't just a rehash, it gives us exactly what we want while also mixing it with new things.
Doug (vo): The result is an energy-filled funny comedy. I find myself really enjoying these movies. They just don't seem like other animated flicks out there. They seem to really take advantage of the fact that it's animation, they can do slapstick, they can do verbal humor, they can do heart. They can just throw whatever they want without feeling they had to conform to, say, the Disney style or the Pixar style or, heck, even sort of the DreamWorks style, and it seems to balance out really, really well. If you're not a fan of the first one, I don't think the second one will really sway you at all. But if you do like the first one, the second one is more of the same great comedy while also upping the new stuff. I say, check it out and have some fun.
[The final scene, showing the main characters dancing towards Africa while the plane flies off into the sky, is shown]