Australian Council on Children and the Media

Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa

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Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 due to violence and scary scenes.

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
  • a review of Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 December 2008.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild animated violence
Length 85 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Alex the lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), Melman the giraffe (David Schwimmer) and Gloria the hippo (Jada Pinkett Smith) have had an enjoyable time stuck on Madagascar, but they decide that it is time to go home to New York’s Central Park zoo. Their resourceful penguin friends put together a barely flight-worthy aircraft, which literally launches them all, including Madagascar lemurs King Julian (Sacha Baron Cohen), Maurice (Cedric the Entertainer) and Mort, into a turbulent, terrifying and shortlived flight. When they finally crash land, they all 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 (Bernie Mac), from whom he was separated as a cub. He discovers his father is the King of the lion pride, and is then tricked by his father’s rival, Makunga (Alec Baldwin) into participating in the lion’s 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 Kingship.

Meanwhile, Marty, Melman and Gloria, while thrilled to reunite with their own kind, also face identity crises, placing 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.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Separation from a parent; animal distress

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • 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.
  • 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 own 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 and 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 punch up fight with Makunga. The outcome is unknown as they punch away in the background.
  • A monkey throws a spanner at another monkey's head.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • A young cub Alex, is lured away from his distracted father by hunters. His 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 and as the drivers make their getaway, 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 toward the earth. The passengers are shown to be very scared, screaming and panicking, however 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 brief ecstasy of being out of the water is shattered when a giant shark leaps out of the water to eat him. He escapes but 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 rebuilt. They fly directly into a dam, knocking it down. They all disappear, but are shown later to have survived.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be disturbed by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Reference to iPod

Sexual references

None of concern

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • A monkey kisses a penguin on the beak, much to the surprise of the penguin.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • King Julian and Maurice are seated in First Class in the plane, where champagne is to be served. They are not seen drinking.
  • Kind Julian has a cocktail and is later seen to be staggering around, before collapsing unconscious. (Briefly depicted only).

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Kick your butt, butts, Geez, doggone

In a nutshell

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 parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • friends and family sticking together through good and bad times.
  • finding one’s true identity; not being defined by other people’s expectations, and being proud of one’s own abilities and qualities.
  • true courage and bravery.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their 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.

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