Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

Featured In Issue 139, March/April 2009

WSR Score4
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
DreamWorks Home Entertainment
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Mild crude humor
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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Not Indicated
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Eric Darnell & Tom McGrath
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Dolby Digital 5.1
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The four zany zoo denizens in the original Madagascar prepare to head home to Manhattan in a rickety aircraft piloted by the ever-inventive penguin cadre. But when they crash-land in the African savannah, it's time for a crash course in survival. Now the four friends far from home must answer a question of the heart when Alex (Stiller) finds his long-lost parents (Mac and Shepherd), Marty (Rock) joins a herd of his wild brethren, Gloria (Smith) finds romance with a hippo Casanova (, who appreciates her curves, and Melman (Schwimmer) has one last chance at his truest desire. All in all, Escape 2 Africa is a zany adventure. (Gary Reber)

Special features include filmmakers' audio commentary; the following featurettes: It's A Family Affair: The Cast Of Escape 2 Africa (HD 09:13), The Making Of Escape 2 Africa (HD), Crash Landing (HD 03:40), African Adventure (HD), Jambo Jambo: Swahili Speak (HD 36:21), The Bronx Zoo: Madagascar (HD 08:17), and Alex's Dance Off (HD); the Test Flight Of Air Penguin Game (HD 26:00); an Activision Game trailer; four music videos (HD); The Penguins Of Madagascar (HD 24:17); The Animators' Corner (HD); a trivia track (HD); and BD-Live interactivity.

The 1.78:1 1080p AVC animated picture quality is superb. If there is such a thing as animation-look natural, this is it. Colors are saturated, but not exaggerated, presenting a natural palette of hues. Resolution is excellent. Images are sharp, and textures are finely resolved. Contrast is perfectly balanced, with deep, rich blacks and shadows that are revealing. There is absolutely no noise or other artifacts, for an extremely pristine picture. This is one beautiful picture and exhibits incredible textural depth, dimension, and detail. The picture is reference quality. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby® TrueHD 5.1-channel soundtrack is well produced and often delivers a holosonic® enveloping soundfield, with aggressive directionalized surrounds and pans. Foley sound effects are excellent as well. Dialogue, which sounds a bit forward, is, of course, ADR-produced with limited spatial integration, but then this is an animated feature. The real standout is the music score, which drives this soundtrack throughout. The sound is spacious, with a wide and deep soundstage and an enveloping surround presence. Instrumental timbre is nicely captured, and the dynamics are superb. Sound effects and music often attain high SPLs, but bass extension in the LFE .1 channel, while deep, is limited. At times, the soundfield collapses to monaural, which is a disappointment. Overall, this is a terrific soundtrack with invigorating moments of aggressive surround envelopment. (Gary Reber)