Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) have enjoyed their time on Madagascar, but they decide that it is time to go home to New York’s Central Park Zoo. Their resourceful penguin friends build an aircraft that can barely fly. It launches them all into a turbulent, terrifying and short-lived flight. Along for the ride are Madagascar lemurs King Julian (Sacha Baron Cohen), Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) and Mort. When they finally crash land, they discover they are in their mother country, Africa.
After a few more misadventures with some intrepid New York tourists, the animals meet the local wildlife. Alex reunites with his mother and father, Zuba (Bernie Mac), from whom he was separated as a cub. Alex discovers his father is the king of the lion pride, and is also tricked by his father’s rival, Makunga (Alec Baldwin), into participating in the lion rite of passage. Alex’s misunderstanding of the tradition results in his failure, his family’s subsequent banishment from the protection of the animal reserve, and Makunga’s wrongful succession to the kingship.
Meanwhile, Marty, Melman and Gloria are also thrilled to reunite with their own kind. But they too face identity crises, which place a strain on their relationships with each other. When the animal reserve suddenly loses its water supply, the four friends overcome and value their differences in order to hatch a plan to save their new extended family.
Separation from a parent; animal distress
There is some violence in this movie. For example:
- Mort gets jumped on by security when he tries to board the plane leaving Madagascar. He is hit and punched by the guards, but emerges largely unhurt. He then rushes to the plane, but the door is shut on him and he hits the window.
- Alex’s father (Zuba) and Makunga fight with each other for the right to be king of the pride. They roar fiercely during this fight.
- To wake Teetsi (to participate in the Alex’s rite of passage), the other lions drop a boulder on his head. He wakes up and roars.
- During Alex’s rite of passage ceremony, his challenger Teetsi roars loudly and then launches himself at Alex. Alex is thrown backwards into a rock, which splits in two. Alex is briefly unconscious and sustains a black eye.
- When Alex questions the penguins’ authority as leaders in Africa, one of the penguins pulls a knife.
- Marty threatens to kill Alex after he confesses he broke Marty’s iPod. They then start punching and hitting each other.
- When Moto-Moto, a large hippo suitor for Gloria, arrives to meet her, he tramples over two smaller animals who yelp.
- Makunga kicks a smaller animal for being an upstart.
- When Alex and Marty leave the safety of the animal reserve, they are attacked with spears by the lost tourists, who want food.
- In a mad plan to commandeer tourist vehicles, the penguins set up one of their group to be ‘run over’. The penguin is uninjured, but the tourists are shocked and surprised. While taking over the vehicle, the penguins encounter difficulties with a tenacious old lady. They toss her out of the moving truck, and turn around asking, ‘Is she dead?’ She jumps up uninjured, so they reverse towards her and knock her down again. She gets up and appears angry.
- Zuba rescues Alex, but a tourist holds a gun up to shoot him. Alex jumps in front of his father. He stops the shooting, but an old lady grabs the gun and fires. No one is injured.
- The very angry old lady tourist gets into a fight with Makunga. The outcome is unknown as they punch away in the background.
- A monkey throws a spanner at another monkey’s head.
Content that may disturb children
In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of eight. For example:
- Alex is lured away from his distracted father by hunters. He is then captured and trapped in a dark box and shown scared and alone, calling out for his father, who is unable to help him. He is tossed onto a truck. As the truck leaves, Zuba gives chase, roaring fiercely. A hunter turns to shoot Zuba, who falls to the ground and we see a bleeding injury on his ear. Alex’s box falls off the truck into a river and drifts out to sea. He is uninjured and ends up floating to New York.
- When the animals leave Madagascar, they are ‘sling shot’ into the sky for take off. After a brief period of relative calm, the engines fail and the plane hurtles towards the earth. The passengers are very scared, screaming and panicking, but the scene is depicted humorously. They eventually crash land, but no one is injured.
- A stowaway lemur, Mort, finally makes it to land in Africa. His delight at being safe is shattered when a giant shark leaps out of the water to eat him. He escapes but is seen fleeing up the beach while being chased by the shark. This scene is depicted comically. Later Mort is chased by the shark up to the edge of a volcano. He dodges, and the shark falls into a hot lava lake.
- Alex practises fighting with a ‘punching bag’, which turns out to be a nest full of birds. The birds leave the nest and attack Alex. He yells and runs away from them, and is uninjured despite the attack.
- Alex and Marty are attacked by the tourists. Alex is captured and tied over a fire for a spit roast, to make a ‘lion casserole’. He appears scared.
- Melman offers himself up as a sacrifice to the gods to get water for the village. He walks on a narrow ledge over the mouth of a volcano. As Gloria tries to stop him, her weight causes the ledge to crumble, leaving Melman scrambling to get to safety. Gloria rescues him at the last moment.
- When escaping the tourist camp, Alex, Zuba and an old lady tourist hang from a rope from the plane the penguins have built. They fly directly into a dam, knocking it down. They all disappear, but are shown later to have survived.
Younger children in this age group could also be disturbed by some of the scenes noted above.
Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.
None of concern
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
This movie contains some use of substances. For example:
- King Julian and Maurice are seated in First Class in the plane, where champagne is to be served. They are not seen drinking.
- King Julian has a cocktail and is later seen to be staggering around, before collapsing unconscious (briefly depicted only).
Nudity and sexual activity
This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example, a monkey kisses a penguin on the beak, much to the surprise of the penguin.
This movie contains a reference to iPods.
This movie contains some very mild coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a light-hearted animated comedy that will have broad appeal, although some scenes may be disturbing for younger children.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include:
- friends and family sticking together through good and bad times
- finding your true identity, not being defined by other people’s expectations, and being proud of your own abilities and qualities
- true courage and bravery.
This movie could also give you the opportunity to discuss with your children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:
- using violence as a means to resolve arguments
- lying and being deceitful to manipulate people.