Wed
Nov 19 2008 5:22pm

Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa

Why?

Why are all the tourists, from all the car-jacked jeeps, New Yorkers?

Why does only one group of tourists have a guide and a weapon?

Why don’t they follow the same road/path they took into the preserve to get back to wherever they came from instead of wandering off into the bush, off the preserve (with only one guide and one rifle)?  Why are there no communities along the river?  Why do the tourists dam the river?

Why does no one come looking for them?

Why doesn’t the lion ask a single question about the rite-of-passage ritual?  Why doesn’t the lion take off the funny hat?

You will undoubtedly have noticed that most of the questions above have to do with the human parts of Madagascar 2.  I was willing to buy the talking, dancing animals, the genius penguins, and the not-real-never-was-real version of the Central Park Zoo.  But once people became part of the story, it was hard to maintain suspension of disbelief.  My 12-yo was having the same trouble; at least three of the questions above are hers.

A G-rating is no excuse for a bad story, as Pixar proves fairly consistently. 

6 comments
Sean Fagan
1. sef
While we saw more than two captured cars, we only saw two groups. That each group was from one particular location didn't bother me -- I figured it was booked that way. I don't think they ever stated that the second group was from NY, but I may have missed it.

The lion asked lots of questions. But he had absolutely no context for it to be anything other than a show, and so that was the kind of questions he asked. His father had no context for it to be anything other than a fight, and so he assumed it was widely known. This is called a "culture clash," and is the basis of many fictional and real troubles.

We don't know no-one came looking for them -- we're only talking a couple of days here, and if they weren't expected back for a while, nobody would have gone looking. And if they had gone looking, the tourist groups were way, way off the beaten path by that point, and so wouldn't've been found.

I had my own set of problems with the movie, and some of them are the same as yours.
R O T
2. rogerothornhill
You're right, the people were the weakest part. But if I were going to start poking holes in the story, I'd probably start with the giraffe/hippo romance , which . . . I don't know. All this rash of hunky brooding vampire/teen potential blood donor love in recent TV, movies, and books is almost easier to buy. So many practical considerations left to be worked out, up to and including living quarters.

I saw the movie with two 7 year olds and a 9 year old (and two other adults) and I think it was actually pitched about right for that age. The kids didn't follow the plot in detail the way they do when I'm reading Tolkien or Rowling to them. They were just digging the moments as they came--but they also had the good sense to know that Wall-E or even The Ant Bully was a better story. Basically, I'm currently thinking that movie existed so my son could spend a suprisingly large chunk of the past few days saying "BAD KITTY!"
Derryl Murphy
3. Derryl Murphy
And yet, I was laughing so hard I was crying, and trying to repeat to Aidan (my 12yo) the line about the chimps wanting maternity benefits and the penguin checking under the table just resulted in me choking up with more laughter.

The movie was completely loopy, and that insanity explains why the lion kept wearing the hat. No, it wasn't Wall-E, and to tell the truth, I was dragged to it against my will (never saw the first one), but I came out satisfied and still laugh over that line and a couple of others.

D
Amy Paul
4. redtailedhawk
My kids thought it was great. They're five and four, respectively. And considering that the theater was packed with the under seven set and their exhausted parents, I don't think the target audience is much above that.

And even my kids thought Wall-E was the better movie.
Melissa Ann Singer
5. masinger
The thing is, I think that just because a movie is rated G, it doesn't have to be stupid. There's been a growing trend to have G = children's movie and filmmakers seem to feel that if they're making a movie for children, especially young children, they can ignore both internal and external logic, provide poor characterization as long as things look pretty, and not worry about storytelling if they can make kids laugh. Then they toss in a few winking jokes for adults and figure they're done.

I think it's shameful to behave as if, because you are working for children, you can lower your standards.
Torie Atkinson
6. Torie
@ 5

This basically sums up my feelings on not just children's films, but a lot of children's books.

Kids aren't stupid. I get angry when books and movies treat them as such.

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