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Massawyrm escapes unscathed from MADAGASCAR: ESCAPE 2 AFRICA!!


Hola all. Massawyrm here. In a year chock full of such original family entertainment, with films like Kung Fu Panda, Wall-E, The Spiderwick Chronicles, City of Ember and the upcoming Bolt, you knew that somebody had to go back to the well to offer the clichéd, been there done that stylings of the standard, unoriginal talking animal story. So why not Madagascar 2? I’m no fan of the first one, but it wasn’t terrible. So I gave this one a shot. And I found myself pleasantly surprised. It too was not terrible. In fact, I found it marginally better than the first. That’s not to say that this should in any way be seen as a ringing endorsement. It isn’t. I certainly didn’t find myself liking this film. But I found it more than tolerable. It kept my attention and I was able to get involved in the story, but it never elevated itself to a level that I would ever encourage an adult to see it without the presence of a child eager to see it themselves. It is more of the same from the first movie with two major exceptions. All of the elements from the first film that didn’t work have been dropped and everything that did work has been accentuated. The penguins are back and are still amusing. It’s not quite the surprise it was originally, so it didn’t have the same punch. But the best gags in the movie are still theirs. There’s one sequence with the primates that is actually quite funny and made me laugh out loud a couple of times. The Lemurs are back again and serve only to be obnoxious until the last half of the film when there’s a series of volcano gags that fire on all cylinders. And most importantly, they’ve found something for every character in the film to do. One of the chief problems with sequels like this is trying to force a story for a character that doesn’t have one – something I like to call Lethal Pesci Syndrome. Here everyone has a solid storyline that weaves together with all the others, making this a step up from the usual randomness of other, similar sequels. This time around the animals have rebuilt a plane and plan on flying back to New York, only to conveniently crash land on the nature preserve that Alex (Ben Stiller) was born on. This leads to the main thread of the story (which will sound eerily familiar) about the long lost son of the Lion King retuning to face his family. This time, the King is still alive and ready for his son to ascend to the throne, only to discover that his son is a dancer and the “King of New York” is only a stage name. Insert expected touching family drama here. Oh, and Alec Baldwin in the role of Scar…I mean Makunga. Meanwhile, everyone else has similar troubles reintegrating with their various species. The result is a movie with a few laughs and enough going on to make it worthy of seeing with your kids. The chief problem is that it is nothing new and doesn’t have nearly enough heart to wrap you up in it. Everything just feels too convenient. And really, how many times can we see the animals out of their element story done without a twist? Both Kung Fu Panda and Bolt are very similar stories that go outside of the box and offer us something radically different. This is just more of the same, and it feels like they’ve found the very last jokes to be had in this particular genre of animated film. That said, it is nowhere near as bad as some of these sequels usually are and thus doesn’t require that you drop the kids off and see something else. And if it were released in any year but this one, it might be easier to recommend. But it didn’t. It came out in a year when kids have access to a lot of very original, very intelligent fare that is as endearing to their parents as it is to them – and compared to that, this doesn’t hold up. While it is certainly leaps and bounds better than the despicable Star Wars: Clone Wars, it never does anything worthy of being seen and embraced by an audience older than ten. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 3, 2008, 8:13 p.m. CST

    what a loser i am

    by robamenta

    to be so excited to be first

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 8:17 p.m. CST

    Stainless Steel Rat

    by supergenius

    FOR PRESIDENT!

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 8:20 p.m. CST

    Instead of another remake or...sequel

    by supergenius

    ...why doesn't someone make a STAINLESS STEEL RAT movie? Highly original work by scifi author Harry Harrison...he wrote Soylent Green.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Animated Anamorphic Animal Movie #1427(B)

    by Larry of Arabia

    That's what I see when I look at this.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 8:43 p.m. CST

    Moneygrab

    by GeorgieBoy

    That is all.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 8:49 p.m. CST

    Massa,

    by HOTDOGVNDR

    Nice pic. I loves me some Calvin and Hobbes.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Parents will take their kids to anything

    by BeeDub

    as long as it shuts them up for a couple of hours. And really, NyQuil is easier.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 9:26 p.m. CST

    Seventh!

    by SingingHatchet

    Sweet. D@mn you Mike Bay.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 9:35 p.m. CST

    Seriously, after the masterpiece that is Wall-E

    by Amy Chasing

    and the brilliance that is Kung Fu Panda, the only reason to do something like Madagascar 2, or Ice Age 2, or even Cars 2 is to make money for the next project. So the future should have animated genius coming out of its ears!

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 9:40 p.m. CST

    I like to MOVE IT-MOVE IT, I like to MOVE IT-MOVE IT,

    by Nasty In The Pasty

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  • Nov. 3, 2008, 9:41 p.m. CST

    And the character designs are still SPECTACULARLY ugly

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    This shit actually made it's way through the WHOLE production? Really?

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 10:08 p.m. CST

    GREAT Character Designs

    by Undead03

    The best thing about the film(s). I'd love to know what Nasty in the Pasty thinks are great character designs. Beowulf maybe? Oh brother.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 10:11 p.m. CST

    New Fanboys trailer now up (with cameo by Harry!)

    by Pennsy

    http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/1809424382/video/10509645

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 10:41 p.m. CST

    Character design of Madagascar could be seen as bad

    by Amy Chasing

    if compared to anything by Pixar or Production I.G - but they're kinda going for different looks don't ya think?

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 10:56 p.m. CST

    Kung Fu Panda was NOT a "brilliant" movie

    by Undead03

    But it is the best thing they've made. Interesting design work, but the film was paint-by-numbers with cardboard characters with little depth. And don't give me the old "but it's for kids" response. Who cares? I just want a good movie.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 11:01 p.m. CST

    Beowulf designs sucked

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    I dunno...I like stylized character designs, but not SO stylized that the characters look like they'd cut your hands if you touched them. Pixar always finds that perfect middle ground between stylization and physical appeal with their character designs.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 11:21 p.m. CST

    Massawyrm *heart* this movie...

    by BiggusDickus

    ..in a 'loved-it-to-bits-but-don't-want-to-admit-it-to-you-guys-in-case-you-think-I'm-a-wuss' kinda way.<p>Go on, Massa! Off the fence with you! It was a hoot, wasn't it? You had a whale of a time!

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 11:26 p.m. CST

    Just for the record...

    by BiggusDickus

    I have a four year old daughter, and 'Madagascar' gets a lot of airplay in our house, as does 'Toy Story', 'Lilo & Stitch', 'Monsters Inc' and several Disney old-skool classics.<p>After a dozen or so watches, this is still one of the least annoying kid's flicks out there for an adult to have to sit through. The penguins are always good for a laugh!

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 11:29 p.m. CST

    ...and SuperGenius...

    by BiggusDickus

    Yes. A James Bolivar DiGriz movie is way, way overdue.<p>Except they'd probably cast Will Smith and ruin it...

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 11:35 p.m. CST

    Kung Fu Panda was brilliant in how

    by Amy Chasing

    it might be a by-the-numbers animated animal comedy, but its charm, zaniness, and homage-ness to kung fu films kept me watching in geeky glee.

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 11:37 p.m. CST

    Scar

    by javery56

    hahah

  • Nov. 3, 2008, 11:47 p.m. CST

    Kung Fu Panda: not Brilliant

    by greyspecter

    No Incredibles-level good. But I liked it alot, and it had great action sequences. A solid A-grade. <p>and Massawyrm, why not just keep this avatar? Nothing tops a li'l C&H. I know you've got a religious complex or something, but mostly it seems like you're just baiting the likes of me.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 1:17 a.m. CST

    BiggusDickus...

    by tiredpm

    ...I agree. My 5-year old daughter loved the first and we're pretty much a lock to go to the theater for the sequel. Hey, AintitCool folks? Y'know how the site has been around for over a decade now? Y'know how some of your main writers now have kids? So does your audience. Maybe it's time to throw some reviews in for your expanding demographic. We're not all 19-year old horror fans, y'know? I'm a 33-year old father of two and I'd LOVE to get a review the told me whether or not your average 5-year old will enjoy a flick and I'll not be cringing at subtle cock jokes or violence that's an "homage" to films in our youth. It'd a very new generation and it's time to stop dreaming of the films of our youth and start responding to the times and culture of today. And that means bringing in reviewers that MIGHT have a handle on what parents are looking for.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 1:32 a.m. CST

    Not a knock on Massa, by the way...

    by tiredpm

    ...more of a general point. All the geek sites should realize that the fans that got them where they are today are NOT the same people they were when the site was still new. CHUD's bad for this and seems desperate to knock any kid-friendly or parent approved activity. AintItCool would do a service to the geek community to start taking kid movies as seriously as the latest KNB gore-fest or Coen brothers masterpiece. Yes, knock them for being uninspired dreck designed to sell toys but also look at them from the point of view of the parent -- is the material offensive? Is it appropriate to small children? Is there anything to learn from the material, no matter how heavy handed it may be? Will the movie keep their attention?!?<p>More and more I find that geeks are desperate to have the movies their kids watch match the films of their youth -- it's not the same world and expecting it to be such is one of the many reasons geeks are criticized and ostracized. It'd no longer appropriate for McCauley Culkin to whack a guy in the head with a loaded paint-can. You can't hope that the melting faces and exploding skulls from Raiders will not have a detrimental effect to your child's sleep patterns. It's a different world.<p>This really wasn't meant to be a screed. Instead, I meant to say that I hoped that Madagascar 2 lives up to the expectations of my 5-year old daughter. because that's who the movie was made for.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 2:27 a.m. CST

    I think he liked this movie a lot as well

    by Bruarvatn

    I mean to say you "survived" it is just silly. I saw the first Madagascar when I was 27 and liked it a lot. It was charming and funny and I think this will be as well. Us geeks can like animation that is not Pixar you know. I also loved Over The Hedge and Hoodwinked as well by the way. These movies are among the best comedies that are out there. I think Over The Hedge is ten times funnier than Knocked Up.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 3:52 a.m. CST

    Kung Fu Panda and Wanted were the same movie

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    Right down to the underwritten black sidekick who does nothing but carry weapons. Same damn movie, except Panda had better action scenes.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 3:57 a.m. CST

    Stuff the rest - what about the penguins?

    by elab49

    The truly great bit about the original. And the Xmas short was brilliant. Do they get decent screen time?

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 3:57 a.m. CST

    tiredpm

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    While I am a young horror fan, I do have my ear to the ground about what I would feel comfortable with a child watching, including the less overt elements that might make you uncomfortable. Give www.collider.com a look. If and when I get to review any product aimed at children most of my review is looking at how appropriate it is for children.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 4:37 a.m. CST

    My kid loved CloneWars! u're too old!

    by FILMFUNK

    Igor was a sack of shit. I will have to endure this one and don't hold out much hope for it as the first one was a sack of shit! My kid got bored through Wall-E but loved Kung-Fu Panda. He slept through Nimms Island(biggest sack of shit) and also nodded off to SpeedRacer(massive sack of shit!)

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 5:13 a.m. CST

    Smile and wave boys .... smile and wave.

    by Big_Bubbaloola

    Oh come on. Any cartoon chimp character that wants to fling poo at Tom Woolf gets my vote. The first film is a blast.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 7:09 a.m. CST

    I liked the first one

    by terry1978

    If only for Sacha Cohen's goofy King Julian accent. I swear everytime he talks I just start laughing to myself because I know that's him behind the mic.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 8:46 a.m. CST

    Massa what are you smoking?

    by half vader

    I liked KFPanda too. but you're off your rocker citing it and Bolt as "so original". KFP is the same worn old "believe in yourself - even if others don't/don't judge a book by it's cover/rocky/flashdance" stuff we've been getting forever, ESPECIALLY in animated flicks. And Bolt from all accounts is the Buzz Light-year story. <p> Sure there's nothing new in the world, and if you're gonna do it do it well (I liked KFP about a thousand times more than Shrek), but to say they're original... I hope you don't mean the shallow literal way in that a Panda does Kung Fu - even friends of mine pitched their own Kung Fu Panda script about 7 years ago... And Kung Fu Chickens were in development before Panda came out, not to mention the most famous Kung Fu animal of them all: Hong Kong Fooey!

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Thanks Nasty, now I have that MOVE-IT MOVE-IT

    by skimn

    song stuck in my head. Chrysler stole it for a recent promotion also. It's almost as I LIKE TO MOVE-IT MOVE-IT....damn....it's almost as bad as the "Oh Yeah" song by Yello that dominated the I LIKE TO MOVE-IT MOVE-IT...DAMN!!

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 10:15 a.m. CST

    tiredpm

    by Massawyrm 1

    <p>I hear ya man, and I've been doing that for 7 and 1/2 years. All the way back to my highly positive, much mocked early review of a LONG FORGOTTEN children's film The Princess Diaries and its completely unknown star Anne Hathaway who I mistakenly posited might have a huge career following that film. I have a lot of friends with kids and in fact use to work with kids - so that's always been something of an interest of mine.</p> <p>Jeez...the one kids film I haven't really cared for in a while...</p>

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 2:53 p.m. CST

    IGOR friggin OWNED!

    by s0nicdeathmonkey

    Totally brilliant neo-vaudeville.

  • Nov. 4, 2008, 3:40 p.m. CST

    Crom!

    by half vader

    What a tech-nurb oops I mean nerd. Thank God YOU are not doing character designs, using subdivs or otherwise. Way to advertise yourself as an Idiot. Ever heard of the tail wagging the dog? <p> And nice dodge Massa.

  • Nov. 5, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Lethal Pesci Syndrome

    by most excellent ninja

    the problem is that regardless, Joe Pesci is Joe Pesci and is fun to watch.