- “Still together. Still lost!”
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (also known as Madagascar the Crate Escape or just Madagascar 2) is a 2008 film, sequel to Madagascar
As a cub, Alex the lion was called Alakay and was the son of Zuba, the alpha lion. Though Zuba tries to teach Alakay to be a hunter, the cub is more interested in dancing. When another lion named Makunga challenges Zuba to a fight for the position of alpha lion, Alakay is captured by poachers. Though Zuba tries to rescue his son, Alakay is forced into a crate. The crate falls into the ocean where it drifts to New York. There, Alakay is renamed Alex and sent to the Central Park Zoo where he grew up, meeting Gloria, Marty, and Melman.
In the present time, Alex, Gloria, Melman, Marty, King Julien, Maurice, and Skipper and his fellow penguins board a repaired airplane in the hopes of using it to fly back to New York. Though the plane does fly, it ends up crash-landing in Africa because of lack of fuel. In Africa, the animals are amazed to find more of their kind. Alex is reunited with Zuba and his mother. Marty quickly fits into a herd of zebra who all look, sound, and talk exactly like him. Melman takes on the position of witch doctor amongst the animals. Gloria, interested in finding a mate, attracts the attention of a smooth-talking but shallow hippo named Moto Moto.
Meanwhile, the penguins set about repairing the plane. They carjack several jeeps from New Yorkers on vacation, leaving the tourists stranded and lost in the jungle. A tough old woman called "Nana" takes charge, reminding them that they are New Yorkers and always survive.
Unfortunately, life in Africa is not as wonderful as it first seems. Makunga, still determined to take the position of alpha lion, reminds Zuba that Alex must complete a traditional lion coming-of-age challenge. Alex, thinking that the challenge is a dance contest (it is actually a fight) competes against the strongest lion (who was recommended by Makunga) and loses quickly. To avoid being forced to banish Alex for failing, Zuba abdicates and Makunga immediately takes the position and banishes Alex and his family. Marty meanwhile begins to feel upset that all of the zebras are exactly the same as him, leaving him with nothing unique. Melman is happy as a witch doctor until he learns that he has the same spot that had apparently caused the previous witch doctor to die. Melman is also upset about Gloria dating Moto Moto, as Melman has secretly loved her for a long time. Gloria goes on a date with Moto Moto and quickly realizes that he only loves her for her body.
The next day, the animals are in a panic when they discover that the watering hole has dried up. Determined to make up for his earlier failure, Alex and Marty decides to risk being shot by hunters and leave the reserve to discover what happened. The pair discover that the stranded New Yorkers, under the instruction of Nana, have dammed the river and built a primitive civilization. Alex is captured and Marty runs for help. Meanwhile, Zuba hears what Alex did and goes to rescue him.
King Julien suggests that the animals sacrifice one of themselves into the volcano to appease the water gods and regain their water supply. Believing that he will die soon, Melman volunteers to be sacrificed. Gloria stops him just in time and Marty arrives to tell them of Alex's fate. The trio, the penguins, and several chimpanzees use the newly-fixed plane to come to the rescue. Alex meanwhile manages to rescue both himself and his father by dancing for the New Yorkers, who quickly recognize him from the zoo. The other animals rescue the lions with the plane and destroy the dam, freeing the water. Alex manages to remove Makunga from power by tricking Nana into attacking him and she drags him back to the other marooned tourists. Skipper marries a bobble-head hula doll from the plane and leaves on a honeymoon, leaving the other animals to remain in Africa. Which takes stage for Madagascar 3.
The film received generally positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 65% of critics gave the film a positive review, based on 137 reviews, with the consensus view that the film was "an improvement on the original, with more fleshed-out characters, crisper animation and more consistent humor." Another review aggregator, Metacritic classified the film into the "generally favorable reviews" category with 61/100 approval rating based on 24 reviews, also a bit higher a score than the original.
Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune stated in his review that the film "goes easy on the pop culture jokes, I should clarify: one of the smarter things in the script is how Alex, who digs his Bob Fosse and Jerome Robbins dance moves, becomes the film's primary pop-cult gag." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 stars and wrote "This is a brighter, more engaging film than the original Madagascar. Steven D. Greydanus complained the film's plot was similar to The Lion King, Joe Vs. The Volcano, and Happy Feet. Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film 2 stars and wrote "Take the flat tire that was Madagascar. Retread it with The Lion King storyline. Pump it up with air. Now you have Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa." John Anderson gave the film 3½ approval rating and stated "Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa, the sequel to the enormously successful DreamWorks adventure and a film that hews close to the whole Lion King/species-as-destiny/self-fulfillment paradigm."
On its opening day, the film grossed $17,555,027 from 4,056 theaters with an $4,328 average. It went to be at #1 at the box office with $63,106,589 with $15,559 average per theater. As of March 19, 2009, it achieved a gross of $180,010,950 in the United States and Canada along with a gross of $422,297,228 in other regions adding to a worldwide gross total of $602,308,178.
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