Tags: Alec Baldwin, Andy Richter, Ben Stiller, Bernie Mac, Cedric The Entertainer, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, DreamWorks, Eric Darnell, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Sherri Shepherd, Tom McGrath, Will i Am
has an average rating of 7.0 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
are most ALL in Hi-Def
– 89 minutes
– DreamWorks (Paramount)
This uses 25.4GB for the movie out of 42.3GB total.
Overall Verdict – As Impressive As The First
— Review written by: Danielle Byington —
The Movie Itself is directed by Eric Darnell, and Tom McGrath, with the writing credits of Etan Cohen. When we left off with the main characters, Alex (the Lion) (Ben Stiller), Gloria (the Hippopotamus) (Jada Pinkett Smith), Marty (the Zebra) (Chris Rock), and Melman (the Giraffe) (David Schwimmer), they were having a party in celebration of coming back together as friends, as life on the island in “the wild” had nearly tore them apart. Now, in a flight plan devised by the penguins, the friends, as well as Julian (Sacha Baron Cohen), and Maurice (Cedric The Entertainer), are “flying” back home; at least they think so.
As you may imagine, a previously crashed plane reconstructed by penguins with the most random materials available doesn’t exactly meet FAA standards, and makes a crash landing far from New York. Everyone survives, of course, but is forced to go out and explore this new territory they’ve landed in; Africa. Walking up to a beautiful view of a watering hole, the friends see herds of their own kind, and introduce themselves. Melman gets acquainted with other Giraffes, and after a worry-felt discussion about their lack of health care meaning you must find yourself a dieing-hole A.S.A.P. at the first signs of the “end”, he takes it upon himself (with a tad of convincing) to become to the local witch-doctor. Marty has met up with his own kind as well, and is thrilled in finding they have abundant similarities. Gloria hangs out with the Hippo-girls, and catches the eye of Moto Moto (Will i Am), a ladies’ man sort of Hippo lustfully-obsessed with her girth. Last, but most likely the hugest acquaintance, Alex is reunited with his mother (Sherri Shepherd) and father (Bernie Mac), whom he was taken from as a cub by hunters.
It seems like a paradise in the beginning, a beautiful new landscape with lots of new friends, however, it is quite the opposite. Gloria realizes Moto Moto is only into her for her looks, Marty‘s frolicking with such a similar herd begins to make him feel like he isn’t unique, Melman of course thinks he is going to die without medical care for himself, and Alex discovers he isn’t exactly a predator, and embarrasses his father. With a larger doom on the horizon effecting all of the herds though, they may very well rediscover themselves to solve the problem.
Overall, the DreamWorks team-effort behind the production of this sequel definitely measures up to the first “Madgascar” flick. The story is again full-bodied with a clever plot, and the distinct character personalities found in the first are still intact. The addition of new characters is great as well, with the talent of actors such as Alec Baldwin, Will i Am, Sherri Shepherd, and the late Bernie Mac, all lending their voices, creating a neat chemistry with the original cast. Overall, the movie itself earns a “4 Star Rating“.
Video Quality on this release is in full 1080p using the AVC MPEG-4 codec on a BD-50 (50 gigabyte dual-layered Blu-ray Disc) in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. It may be a close call, but this animated sequel is at the least slightly brighter and more clear than the first. There are more elements of 3-D “pop” to be found in this release, perhaps with the now African setting, presenting a landscape that is more horizontal with more openness in the background than the vertical jungles of Madagascar. The detail in this release is superb; of course the fine detailed elements of the animated characters were nice the first time, but in this sequel, the texture of the landscape such as grass, and the animals’ fur/skin, stands out particularly the most with highly realistic detail. Most notable in regard to that subject would be the aged-mane of Zuba; the ragged gray strands of fur within his mane look very real, and viewers can see each individual strand and where it strays.
Further, shadows and movements look more nature this time around and less “timed”; not only are the movements very fluid, but our main characters, who sometimes walk erect as mankind does, seem to have a more human-esque way about their positions, rather than being thoroughly cartoon-oriented. The black level is definitely solid here, as it really makes the color palette of this African landscape stand-out. Overall, the video quality for this release receives a “5 Star Rating“.
Audio Quality on this release is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround. Just as its predecessor, “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa” gives us a very impressive audio presentation. There is superb clarity within the quirky choice of soundtrack, as well as the originally composed music for the film, conveyed brightly from the front channels, and giving quite a bit of rear channel kick. The bass presence, be it in regard to the music or as a soundeffect, really makes use of the subwoofer; notably the volcano scene with its consistent earthy bubbling rolling in the sub. In this film, just as the one before, there are several scenes involving many animals, and in moments were they speak in synchronicity, their words come from primarily the front channels, and occasionally the rear, very clearly. There are a couple of moments of panning, such as a tourist running from the left, and his oncoming footsteps are portrayed only by the left front channel, then move in gradually to all front channels. Overall, the audio for this release earns a “5 Star Rating“.
Bonus Materials are presented in High Definition, using Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo.
- “BD-Live” is featured on this Blu-ray Disc which allows users on a “Profile 2.0” capable Blu-ray Disc Player to access online content.
- “Filmmaker’s Commentary“
- “The Animator’s Corner” is functional through out the film, giving viewers a pop-up window on the screen with video commentary from the animators of the film.
- “Trivia Track” functions as most all other trivia tracks included with movies, popping up on the screen in a dialogue box with trivia pertaining to the film and its content.
- “It’s A Family Affair: The Cast Of Escape 2 Africa” (9 minutes) interviews the cast and crew as they discuss coming to gether again for the making of this animated sequel. Also discussed is the use of voices provided by the children of Ben Stiller and Jada Pinkett Smith, and the unfortunate lose of Bernie Mac.
- “The Making Of Escape 2 Africa” (11 minutes) is an interesting look at the effort behind creating an even more realistic animation style this time, and the research involved.
- “Crash Landing” (4 minutes) involves the sequence of the plane crash from the film presented in a storyboard-style, with interviews from the crew as they discuss putting together this idea for the story.
- “African Adventure” (7 minutes) shows footage from the actual safari taken by those involved in the production to obtain the most realistic visualizations needed for the creation of this film.
- “Jambo Jambo: Swahili Speak” is an interactive styled supplement allowing viewers to the select English phrases from the screen and say them as Swahili phrases.
- “The Bronx Zoo: Madagascar” (8 minutes) interviews the heads of the zoo as they discuss their Madagascar exhibit.
- “More Penguins” (24 minutes) includes too episodes of the future show in Hi-Def, with a brief 17-second introduction in standard definition; episodes included are, “Popcorn Panic“, and “Gone in a Flash“.
- “Mad Music” includes three music videos, “Move it, Move it“, “Big and Chunky“, and “She Loves Me“; a sing along for “Traveling Song“, “Alex’s Dance off“, and “DreamWorks Animation video Jukebox“.
- “Test Flight Of Air Penguin Game” is an interactive game you can play with the arrows on your remote control in which you must select one of three very random objects to repair the Penguins‘ make-shift airplane as parts of it begin to weaken during flight.
Overall, the bonus materials are extensive, providing both entertainment and information about the film’s production for the fans. Just like other DreamWorks animated features on Blu-ray, the supplements found here are a job well-done.
Blu-ray Disc packaging:
NOTE: The full-sized 1920×1080 files are in a .PNG file format and uncompressed. Bare with the slow loading times, keep in mind these files are at least 1MB (1 megabyte) in size each.