Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I missed KUNG FU PANDA when it first hit theaters, but I was able to catch it this weekend and really enjoyed it. The trailer for MADAGASCAR 2 looked horrible to me, but as with any studio... when you see that they know how to make a fun, quality flick you have hope that they'll keep the trend running. Madagascar 2 looks to have tested and judging from this review it's a return to form (in a bad way). However, I will say that early screenings for animated films have to be taken with a bigger grain of salt than other films... so much is in the visuals and when it's a comedy to boot, the timing is crucial. So, while this looks bad and it might very well end up that way, just consider how rough the film was when reading. Here's our spy who attended:
Okay, I am going to start this blog by saying that 1) I am not comparing this to any Pixar film (that wouldn't be fair...) and 2) I am comparing this to Kung Fu Panda. Which was, as I have said before, the best Dreamworks Animation film yet. I will also start by saying that I did not like Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa. At all. So that's all out front right away. I've lain my cards on the table, and I have to go into why this was such a poorly done film. The film, from start to end, is an obvious cash in on the success the the original (and also just as mediocre) reaped in. Every scene just feels so cheaply written, and it's all underscored by the feeling (I could not escape) that it's a rip off of 1993's The Lion King (Disney). I'm not saying it's the same, it just feels like it was trying to hard to be that classic film. And it's not. The film had it's moments (all of which had to do with Skipper and his posse of penguin crusaders/comic relief/vigilantes), but has a whole it's a let down. I'm not looking at the film from an animation standpoint, what was 100% completed was well done, but it never felt like a quality title. From the outset I couldn't help but think about what it would have been if the team that made/effort that went into Kung Fu Panda would have done for this. What that quality writing could have made it. This is all over the place I know, it's just that after Panda I thought that maybe, just maybe, Dreamworks Animation got the picture. One cohesive tale, targeted for children but appealing for all, where everything fits in it's place. Escape 2 Africa just never did it. Never wove an engrossing story, never entertained me beyond the scenes with the penguins, and it just tried too hard. The parts which were made for kids felt too childish, the parts that were aimed at adult felt like kids would be asking "what does that mean? (references to the number "69"). The over reaching multi-character perspective made the movie seem like it was trying to go too many places at once, and in the process it also seemed like it would leave the younger audiences confused. I really don't know where to go with this. The film was just bad to me. Broken where it should not have been, and where it worked some of the jokes may be too much for younger children. I don't know. When Madagascar 2 hit this November I won't be going to see it. To be honest, like Madagascar, Shark Tale (which I also saw way in advance), and Shrek 2 and 3, I could do without seeing this film ever again. It was just that bad story-wise. Again, not saying much for animation as much of the film was in a state of un-polish/story-boarding. But what I saw was enough for me. 2/10 On a note: this was my second test screening of the year, the first was Tropic Thunder, which was surprisingly good.