Madacascar: Escape 2 Africa

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Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa
Paramount Home Entertainment (for Dreamworks Animation)
Blu-ray Disc Review By Jerry Rutledge

Madacascar 2 is the hilarious, zany animated comedy that is a sequel to the 2005 hit, worth a buy for families with children as it is certain to have household replay value.

It reunites us with all the funny characters from the first film – Alex the Lion (voiced by Ben Stiller), Marty the Zebra (voiced by Chris Rock), Gloria the Hippo (voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith), and Melman the Giraffe (voiced by David Schwimmer).  It also brings back other favorite looney characters from the original such as King Julien the Lemur (Sacha Baron Cohen) and the Penguins, led by Skipper (Tom McGrath).

The movie stresses values of family and friendship – the central story involves Alex’s being reunited with his long lost parents (voiced by Bernie Mac and Sherri Shepherd) but needing the help of his friends to overcome a scheming rival, the villainous Makunga (voiced by Alec Baldwin).  Various interesting subplots involve each main character including Marty’s need to feel unique, and a romance between Melman and Gloria.

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The animation work is colorful, bright and stunning and can only be fully appreciated on Blu-ray Disc.™   Scenes include beautifully rendered African savannahs, erupting volcanoes, floods and rainforests.

The Disc is full of many interesting extras including: two brand new Penguin animated shorts for the kids (More Penguins – Popcorn Panic and Gone in a Flash); Test Flight of Air Penguin (a game allowing you to fly the rickety Penguin plane from the movie); Mad Music (music from the Madagascar soundtrack and other DreamWorks animated films); Jambo Jambo: Swahili Speak (allowing you to translate some of the phrases from the film into the Swahili language); and The Bronx Zoo: Madagascar (a tour of the new Madagascar exhibit at New York’s Bronx zoo).

Other more traditional features include in-picture commentaries (from the filmmakers, animators and general trivia); The Making of Escape 2 Africa (commentary by producer, director, co-writer and actors); Crash Landing (detailing visualization and storyboarding for the movie’s funny crash scene); African Adventure (showing the production crew’s visit to Africa that inspired the visual look and feel of the film); and trailers.

The Disc also comes with the BD-Live™ feature that allows you to access additional content over the internet.

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