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Western Animation / Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

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Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a 2008 computer-animated comedy produced by DreamWorks Animation, and is the first sequel to 2005's Madagascar as well as the second installment of the Madagascar franchise.

The film takes place shortly after the first movie. The penguins fix a crashed airplane and the zoo animals (plus King Julien and Maurice) try to fly back to New York but run out of fuel (or perhaps more accurately, run out of plane) and crash. They land in a wildlife reserve and discover not only that there are others like them, but also that the lion pride in charge is Alex's family. Though Africa initially appears to be a paradise for the Zoosters, things quickly go amiss as each member of the group finds complications and they’ll need to rely on each other in their new home.

This film is followed by a third film titled Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, which came out on June 8, 2012.

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa provides examples of:

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  • Accidental Misnaming: Downplayed: Melman calls Moto Moto "Mototo" at one point.
  • Actor Allusion: The subplot with Melman's crush on Gloria is remarkably similar to another subplot: TV's Friends where David Schwimmer's character Ross Geller and his Belligerent Sexual Tension with Rachel Green, which would eventually be resolved in the Grand Finale.
  • Advertised Extra: Moto Moto received a lot of press and was hyped up as one of the main new characters and a new love interest for Gloria. He ends up being a Romantic False Lead and has minimal screentime.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: The childhood flashback shows Melman crushing on Gloria, who had a crush on Alex.
  • The Alleged Car: Plane in this case. So much so, that one of the visual signs of its malfunctioning is that one of the engines isn't on fire. The plane also has at least three skeletons still on board from its last flight - one in second class, one in first class, and one in the cockpit. A fourth skeleton was left behind in Madagascar hanging from a parachute trapped in a tree.
  • All There in the Manual: Alex's mother's name is confirmed in the film novelization—Florrie.
  • Anachronism Stew: As detailed below, a newspaper implies that the films take place sometime in the 80s. However, at one point in this film, Alex admits to breaking Marty's iPod, something that wasn't released until 2001. Alex also steals Nana's cell phone, which is an early 2000's style flip phone.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love: Melman to Gloria when the plane is crashing and he thinks they're all going to die. Only problem is, she's sleeping.
    Melman: (shouting) I LOVE YOU, GLORIA! I always have!
    Gloria: (asleep; snoring)
  • An Aesop: According to the commentary, Director Eric Darrell says the movie's theme is "Be who you are, no matter what the world expects you to be"
  • Animal Sweet on Object: Skipper, the leader of the penguins, falls in love with a hula girl bobblehead. He even marries it at the end of the film.
  • Annoying Laugh: Melman finds Gloria's laugh "amazing", but nobody else does.
  • Apathetic Citizens: Probably one of the most satisfying aversions in Animation: Makunga's terrible leadership and general self-serving jackassery is met with shock and disgust by the animals in the reserve, to the point that they unanimously and openly agree that they want Zuba back in charge.
  • Appease the Volcano God: King Julien suggests a sacrifice to the volcano to bring back the water to the reserve. Melman, who thinks he's got only 24 hours to live, volunteers. The shark chasing Mort gets "sacrificed" instead.
  • Art Evolution: The animation in the first film was already great, but this one is a vast improvement, the opening shots of the savanna are absolutely gorgeous, to the point of looking photorealistic at times.
  • Artistic License – Biology: When the little old lady and Alex fight, he's punched in the mouth and spits out a tooth. Said tooth looks exactly like a human molar, but lions' back teeth are shearing carnassials, not grinding molars.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Kowalski, and Private now speak a lot of lines in this movie. The penguins in general are much more involved in the plot of this movie.
    • Mason and Phil have major roles in this movie after having minor roles in the previous film.
    • Mort has a bigger role in this movie after having an Advertised Extra in the first film. He is the only lemur beside Julien and Maurice to come to New York.
    • Nana was only the subject of a brief gag in the first movie, here she's the main human villain.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Alex goads Nana into attacking Makunga by making her think Makunga deliberately stole her hand purse.
  • Bait-and-Switch: For a moment at the end, it almost looked like Melman and Gloria were the ones getting married. Turns out they were the best man and bridesmaid for Skipper and his hula doll.
  • Batman Gambit: Alex tricks Makunga into taking Nana's purse, and then lets her see that Makunga has her purse. Predictably, she proceeds to kick Makunga's ass.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Marty's dream of being with thousands of his own kind goes from being cool to depressing for him.
  • Betty and Veronica: Melman (the Betty) competes with Moto Moto (the Veronica) over Gloria (the Archie).
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Makunga and Nana are the two main antagonists of the movie. The former plans to overthrow Alex's father Zuba as the Alpha Lion, while the latter poses a threat to the animals of the reserve by building a dam which deprives them of water.
  • Big Applesauce: All of the tourists who get their jeeps stolen just happen to be from New York. This leads to Nana giving them a Rousing Speech about how New Yorkers are survivors, and "if we can make it there, we can make it anywhere!" and posing like the Statue of Liberty.
  • Big Damn Reunion: After believing Alex was dead for who knows how many years, Zuba and Florrie meet him unexpectedly. Once she recognizes him, they have this and throw a celebration.
  • Black Comedy Animal Cruelty: Nana beating up Alex is completely Played for Laughs.
  • Blatant Lies: After Melman confesses his love for Gloria, the other animals stare at him. He then talks about how his love for Gloria was like "loving a beach."
    Melman: Like the beach, or the way you love a good book, or the beach...
  • Bloodless Carnage: Averted. Zuba's ear clearly has a blood splatter after it's shot by poachers.
  • Book Ends: The Traveling Song/Alex on the Spot. Similar songs set to the same tune that play near the beginning of the movie when Alex is first introduced to the Zoo and again near the end of the movie when Alex dances for the tourists.
  • Brick Joke: The shark that chases Mort.
  • Bring It: Said by Nana after running out of bullets and threatening Alex and Zuba with her purse.
    Nana: Bring it on! Bad kitties!
  • Carnivore Confusion: The lion pride are a group of wild carnivores, yet they aren't portrayed as hungry savages like Alex and the fossa were in the first film. On the same note, Alex or the other lions are never shown hunting or eating any animals.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: After his Anguished Declaration of Love failed and discovering he has a "fatal" Witch Doctor disease, Melman struggles to tell Gloria how he feels about her. Lampshaded by Alex when the two are arguing.
    Alex: Melman, why don't you just tell her?
  • Chekhov's Gun: Marty's constant reminder that Alex bit his butt in the first film becomes a Plot Point late in the film.
  • Chubby Chaser: Moto Moto. He likes 'em big, he likes 'em chunky. The hippos of the movie seem to believe that the fatter the hippo, the better, since that's all he likes about Gloria.
  • Comedic Spanking: Part of Nana's beatdown on Makunga involved spanking his bottom, which Alex winced at.
  • Compressed Vice: Melman's crush on Gloria flat out didn't exist in the first movie. It was, however, shown in a flashback in the second movie as having existed for years.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It sure was convenient how the animals landed in the exact same wildlife reserve that Alex's family lived in.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: During her fight with Alex, Nana gives him a titty twister.
    Nana: Come in, Tokyo!
  • Cooking the Live Meal: The New York tourists who have been stranded in the African wilderness and turned feral attempt to roast Alex the Lion by tying him to a wooden spit and turning him over a fire. In a parody of the common gag, Alex attempts to blow out the fire as he faces downwards, only for the fire to blaze up even higher as he supplies it with fresh air. He is saved by his father bursting in and freeing him from the spit, which gives Alex opportunity to assuage the angry tourists by displaying his dance skills.
  • Crotch-Glance Sex Check: When the chimps negotiate with the penguins and demand maternity leave, Skipper looks under the table and claims they won't need it because they are males.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Alex's "dance" fight versus Teetsi. Teetsi owns him.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Even though Nana still clearly has the upper hand, Alex puts up a much better fight than in the first film.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Both Zuba and Alex have a birthmark in the shape of Africa on their right paw. It's how Zuba identifies Alex as his son.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Alex doesn't quite fit in because he's more of a theater performer who loves dancing and really isn't into playing sports. Coming-Out Story, anyone?
    • And in the beginning, King Julien comes out of the cake and says, "I'm a woman! Which one of you is attracted to me?"
  • Don't Think, Feel: This is Alex's advice to his dad when they dance together at the end.
    Alex: Don't think, dad. Feel!
  • Ear Notch: The result of Zuba getting shot by the poachers.
  • Fantastic Racism: When the chimps go on strike angry that Skipper rejects maternity leave for them, chimps are holding signs with one that reads "CHIMP POWER" and another sign with a No symbol with a penguin in it. Hypocrisy, much?
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Each of the main characters gets their own subplot, as do the penguins (as usual), the tourists, and even Mort. They all turn out to be significant. Even Mort's.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The newspaper article briefly seen at the beginning of the movie dates Alex's arrival in New York as April 8, 1972, suggesting the modern day plot takes place some time in the 80s. note 
  • Funny Background Event: When Alex is trying to find Marty in the middle of a herd, one of the zebras really wants Alex to leave his Carmen Miranda-style fruit hat.
  • Glass Smack and Slide: Mort the mouse lemur tries to follow the rest of the gang as they are about to take flight. However, just as he's jumping toward the plane, King Julien closes the door and Mort smacks flat against its small window, before sliding down.
  • Gossip Evolution: The monkeys' relaying of Alex's message changed from "She's got a gun, let's get out while we can" to "Let's have fun and take out the dam" and "No, pull up. They'll kill us. There's gotta be another way." to "No pull up. Kill us. There's no other way." And both times, "pass it on" gets turned into "basset hound".
  • Growing Muscles Sequence: During the battle, Teetsi bulks up considerably, in contrast to his rather meek appearance.
  • Gullible Lemmings: The desperate animals of the reserve, when Julien proposes making a sacrifice to a supposed nearby volcano god, solely so he can take some kind of power.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Siding with Gossip Evolution. When the zoosters and penguins rescue Alex and Zuba from the tourists, Alex suggests they get out while they can, which was misheard as he wants to take out the dam. The result: the water was returned.
  • Groin Attack: Alex was kicked "right the batteries" (as Marty put it), at the end of the fight with old lady. She kicked Makunga in the crotch as well, at the end of the movie, when he took her bag.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Gloria sleeps through all the racket the plane makes and only wakes up when it crashes.
  • Identical Stranger: Marty and another zebra, who looks, sounds, and behaves just like him. He is insulted when Alex can't tell one from the other, even if the differences between both simply don't exist.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: When Melman sees Gloria on her date with Moto Moto, he says something like, "You don't know how lucky you are. You've found the perfect woman, so you better treat her like a princess." Then he goes on to describe in depth what he would do if he were in Moto Moto's shoes.
    Melman: And breakfast in bed, every morning. Her favorite is six loaves of wheat toast, buttered on both sides, no crusts.
    • This becomes his reason for a planned Heroic Sacrifice when Melman offers himself up for Julien's crazy plan to sacrifice to the Rain Gods. He believes he's dying anyway, so he figures he might as well go down trying to get Gloria some water.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Gloria interrupts Melman's attempted sacrifice in the volcano because she returns his feelings.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gloria discovers that Moto Moto is a pretty shallow guy, as he only asks her out because she's the fattest girl he's ever met. Moto Moto is still a pretty friendly guy, however, takes part in the search for water underground and seems to still be friends with Gloria even after she rejects him.
  • Jump Scare: The shark popping out of the water and onto the beach to chase after Mort.
  • Karma Houdini: The poachers who captured Alex as a cub. The last we see of them is them driving away in their truck, with Zuba in hot pursuit. Zuba says that when he eventually caught up with the poachers, he couldn't find Alex, and thought the poachers had killed him. It is unknown what happened to the poachers. (One can only hope that Zuba tore them to pieces off-screen).
  • Kiss of Life: Used as a diversionary tactic by Private when he pretends to get hit by a tourist jeep and plays dead. While the tour guide is administering CPR, the penguins steal the jeep.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Makunga eventually meets his downfall when Alex tricks him into taking Nana's purse, then unleashing Nana to attack him. Then Nana drags Makunga away as the other animals cheer. The commentary confirms that Nana brought Makunga back to New York in a kitty cage!
  • Lava Pot Volcano: There's a volcano that always has lava ominously boiling in the water and erupts if things are thrown into said lava.
  • Leitmotif: Africa gets the BornFree theme.
  • Logo Joke: During the DreamWorks Animation logo, one of the penguins peeks out from behind the moon, slaps the boy and drags him behind the moon to beat him up with the other penguins. Once the boy is taken care of, the penguins come out and claim his place.
    Skipper: Well done, boys. Looks like ice-cold sushi for breakfast.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the first film (despite remaining mostly comedic in tone) wields markedly disturbing elements of psychodrama (particularly in its third act, in which Alex undergoes a Sanity Slippage transforming him from a neurotic, uptight showman into a savage apex predator with a visible desire to devour his lifelong friends as per his natural instincts), this instalment hews closer to a broader ensemble comedy, with any potential predator-prey tensions between the film's coexistent lion and herbivorous characters neglected almost entirely instead of deconstructed.
  • Love Interest vs. Lust Interest: A variant in which the target character is pursuing the "Lust" interest while they're pursued by the "Love" one. Gloria initially has an interest in the Chick Magnet Moto Moto, who in turn finds her attractive for her body fat, but that's all he has for her. Gloria's friend Melman, on the other hand, has a crush on Gloria for her personality and status as a person, and experiences a Heroic BSoD the moment he sees her with Moto Moto just when he decides to confess his feelings for her (although not without interrupting their date to tell Gloria anyway and also call out Moto Moto on his behavior), prompting him to volunteer himself for a sacrifice hosted by King Julien (which Julien proposed in an attempt to restore the river adjacent to the African animals' land after it was dammed by the lost tourists) shortly afterwards. In a fortunate coincidence during the sacrifice ceremony, Gloria realizes Melman's crush on her was genuine, and dumps Moto Moto to go to the event and spare Melman from his attempted death. Since then, Gloria and Melman remain an Official Couple for the rest of the Madagascar series.
    Gloria: Melman, I gotta know... Did you mean those things you said about me?
    Melman: Of course I did.
    Gloria: That's crazy.
    Melman: It is?
    Gloria: It's crazy to think I had to go halfway around the world... to find out the perfect guy for me lived right next door.
    Melman: Then it's you and me, neighbor. You and me for the next 18 hours.
    Gloria: I'll take whatever you got.
  • Loving Details: Melman recites a lot of minor details about Gloria when he interrupts her date with Moto Moto, including her favorite flowers and favorite meal. This convinces Gloria that Melman really loves her, while Moto Moto is only interested in her because of her bulk.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: Melman is in love with Gloria but she doesn't know yet. By the time she finds out, Melman attempts to sacrifice himself to the volcano for the others safety and then Gloria realizes she has feelings for him too.
  • Love Triangle: Melman/Gloria/Moto Moto.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: As a tribute, the film starts off with Alex, Marty, Gloria and Melman as kids.note 
    Young Melman: (to Young Gloria, dismayed) You think he's [Alex] cute?
  • Marilyn Maneuver: King Julian's grass cheerleader skirt momentarily goes upwards from jumping out of a cake before fixing it to congratulate the four.
  • Mean Boss: Skipper becomes this to the chimpanzees. Some time before the gang needed the plane to go and rescue Alex, Skipper refused to give the apes maternity leave (even though they're all male), which made them go on strike, and even then, Skipper says that he would only do it if they busted up the union. And the reason why he gives is because Mason and Phil are in possession of pictures of him and his doll that they use for blackmail.
  • Medium Blending: King Julian's in-flight entertainment is actual live-action footage of plane crashes from old-timey films.
  • Meeting-the-Parents Sequel: The protagonists end up in an African savannah where they end up meeting Alex's parents.
  • Offscreen Airplane Pull-up: A plane is launched off a slingshot and into the forest. The plane tumbles below the tree canopy, and a bunch of nervous onlookers edges closer to get a better view. Then the plane reappears, having recovered from the tumble and is now flying perfectly.
  • "Pan from the Sky" Beginning: The boy in the moon logo dissolves into a blue sky, from which then the camera pans down on the African landscape until it stops at baby Alex playing with his dad.
  • Parental Bonus: "Maternity leave?" (glances under the table) "You're all males!"
  • Pec Flex: Moto Moto does this a few times.
  • Planet of Copyhats: Apparently, all hippos are sassy like Gloria, all giraffes are neurotic and hypochondria-prone like Melman, and all zebras are laid-back and wise-cracking like Marty (as well as look and sound exactly like him). Averted with Alex, who's an odd one out of his species with his flamboyant mannerisms and love of dancing.
  • Planet of Steves: Every zebra acts and nearly looks the same as Marty (not to mention that like Marty, they're all voiced by Chris Rock). Alex is only able to tell Marty apart from the others because of the teeth marks on his butt from the previous film.
  • Pop-Star Composer: co-wrote and performed the songs and music of this film.
  • Previously on…: The flashback at the beginning of the film is followed by a cut to the premise of the first movie recapped in the form of a couple of news broadcasts. It also makes a point of including the scene of Alex getting beat up by Nana, which turns out to be significant.
  • Real Is Brown: Compared to the other two films (especially Europe's Most Wanted), Escape 2 Africa has a rather drab color palette, this is justified due to most of the movie taking place on the African savanna, which is often that dull in Real Life.
  • "The Reason I Suck" Speech: Alex tells Marty he's been a great friend while the former wasn't a much as a good friend like the latter.
    Alex: You've helped me so often to see the bright side of my problems that I never think of you as having any. I wasn't there for you when you needed me. Just like back at the zoo. What kind of friend does that make me? A pretty lousy friend, I guess.
  • Retcon: A few plot elements are introduced as if they have always been there:
    • Alex's birthmark is the most notable example, being rather prominent in size and location, but not seen at all in the first movie.
    • Melman's crush on Gloria did not come up in the first film at all, but here it is introduced as if he has been in love with her since childhood.
    • While Alex was shown to be fairly energetic, there was never any indication that his performance at the zoo consisted of anything besides posing and roaring. Here he's known well enough for his dancing that New York tourists are able to recognize him by it.
  • Savage Piercings: Spoofed - when the other giraffes make Melman their Witch Doctor, they present him with the requisite nose bone: "Don't worry, it's a clip-on."
  • Scene of Wonder: The zoosters have this kind of moment when they look over the African plains and see others of their own kind for the first time.
  • Sexy Surfacing Shot: Moto Moto is introduced rising out from the water and strutting to Gloria to flirt with her.
  • Shown Their Work: The flashback to Alex as a cub arriving in New York City has the Twin Towers in the background, making it one of the few post-9/11 movies to feature them. This lines up with the scene taking place in 1972, according to the newspaper.
  • Shout-Out: Alex being frightened when he sees Mort outside the plane wing and then momentarily mistaking him for a gremlin.
  • Stupid Question Bait: Subverted when Skipper is organizing the newly recruited (by Phil and Mason) monkeys to repair their plane.
    Skipper: (addressing the Monkeys) Stop lollygagging, and let's get to work. We'll divide into three groups. Group Alpha, you're in charge of sheet metal fabrication. Group Bronson, you'll handle assembly. Group George Peppard, you'll handle craft services. Any questions? (Mason is about to say something, but Skipper interrupts him) Good! Now let's get to work!
  • Summon Bigger Fish: How Alex and Zuba ultimately dispose of Makunga. Specifically, they sic Nana on him.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: Both the shark that chases Mort, and the fish in the dried-up water hole.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The shark which manages to flop very fast across an unclear distance of land and right into a volcano in pursuit of the very small lemur Mort.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: Melman saying Gloria has a beautiful laugh as she snorts happily causes Alex and Marty to look at each other, and give frozen smiles.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Gloria stops Melman from foolishly jumping into the volcano and sacrificing himself to bring water after she finds out about his feelings towards her.
  • Tastes Like Chicken: According to Nana, this is how lions taste like. We don't know where she got such an idea, but it's probably best not to think about it.
    Tour Guide: We can't eat a lion.
    Nana: Don't worry, it tastes like chicken.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Alex, on his quest to save the watering hole. Marty disagrees.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: When the penguins get the airplane ready for take-off:
    Skipper: Lights.
    Kowalski: Check.
    Skipper: Flaps.
    Kowalski: Check.
    Skipper: Engine.
    Kowalski: Check.
    Skipper: Coffee maker.
    Kowalski: Check.
  • Threatening Shark: Exaggerated with the shark who attacks Morty. It's so determined to eat him that he chases him all over the African continent!
  • Trailers Always Spoil: In the teaser to Escape 2 Africa, Melman admits that he loves Gloria. At first, this seems to be a gag based on the fact that their plane is falling out of the sky (especially given the characters' reactions), but it turns out that it's the driving point of Melman's plotline in the movie.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm:
    • Makunga manipulates Zuba into surrendering leadership of the pride and the reserve, and takes power.
    • However, Julien also more or less takes over the reserve when he convinces the desperately thirsty animals of the reserve to make a sacrifice to the volcano god.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: In the film, Melman loves Gloria but Gloria doesn't know and dates Moto Moto. By the time she finds out and realizes she has feelings for him too, Melman decides to sacrifice himself to the volcano.
  • Wedding Bells... for Someone Else: About at the end of the sequel, we're lead to believe that Melman and Gloria are getting hitched. Then it pans down to reveal that it's really Skipper marrying Lola, a bobble-head doll, which was an even weirder coupling.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: After Teetsi defeats and humiliates Alex in combat, he is never once seen afterwards. Odd, since he was seen talking with Makunga beforehand, implying they were in cahoots.
    • We never get to find out what happened to Nana and Makunga after the former delivers a beat-down on the latter and takes him off-screen. Word of God says she took him home as a pet, implying the other tourists, who were last seen a couple minutes ago, returned home as well.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Julien: "Which of you is attracted to me?"
  • Wiper Start: The penguins' first attempt at Rico hotwiring the safari jeep results in this.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: The gold and diamonds the animals dig up at the watering hole while desperately looking for water. The penguins, who are from New York and are well aware what gold is worth to humans, take it all for themselves (the loot comes back in the third film, although the trope is no longer in play). Marty and the Zoosters are also aware of its value in civilization, but they have greater concerns. Justified, as the animals of the reserve really have no use for gold or jewels, while animals that intend to be among humans can use it.
  • Would Harm a Senior: Alex is more than willing to get in a one-on-one fight with the little old lady who beat him up in the first film. Despite Alex being a fully grown male lion, the old lady still wins the fight.
  • You No Take Candle: Alex, while trying to explain his plane crash to the animals in Africa.
    Hippo: he dancing about a plane crash?
  • "You!" Squared: Alex and the old lady who beat him up in the first movie recognize each other in the safari:
    Nana: I know you.
    Alex: You.
    Nana: Bad kitty! [beats him up again]


Young Alex

Introduction showing how Alex ended up in New York City as a cub.

How well does it match the trope?

4.91 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / AMinorKidroduction

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