Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa (or simply just Madagascar 2, known in early development trailer as Madagascar: The Crate Escape) is a 2008 American computer-animated comedy film written by 'Etan Cohen, and directed by Eric Darnell and Tom McGrath. This film is the first sequel to the 2005 film Madagascar and continues the adventures of Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, and Gloria the Hippo. It stars the voices of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer, and Andy Richter. Also providing voices are Bernie Mac, Alec Baldwin, Sherri Shepherd, Elisa Gabrielli, and will.i.am. It was produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Paramount Pictures, and was released in theaters November 7th 2008. The film starts as a prequel, showing a small part of Alex's early life, including his capture by hunters. It soon moves to shortly after the point where the original left off, with the animals deciding to return to New York. They board an airplane in Madagascar, but crash-land in Africa, where each of the central characters meets others of the same species; Alex is reunited with his parents. Problems arise, and their resolution occupies much of the remainder of the film. The film won the 2009 Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Animated Movie. The film was released after the death of Bernie Mac who voices "Zuba The Lion." The movie reads: For our friend Bernie Mac, thanks for all the laughter in the final credits.
As a cub, Alex the Lion was called Alakay and was the son of Zuba, the alpha lion. Though Zuba tries to teach Alakay to be a hunter, the cub is more interested in dancing, and is captured by poachers when Makunga, Zuba's rival, challenges Zuba to a fight for the position of alpha lion. Alakay is forced into a crate, and taken away despite Zuba's attempts to rescue him. The crate falls into the ocean where it drifts to New York. There, Alakay is renamed Alex and sent to the Central Park Zoo where he grew up, meeting Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe and Gloria the Hippopotamus. Most of the events of the first film are then described through a series of news flashes. In the present time, after the events of the first film, Alex, Marty, Melman, Gloria, the Penguins Skipper, Kowalski, Private, and Rico, the Chimpanzees Mason and Phil, and even the Lemurs King Julien, Maurice and Mort board a repaired airplane to fly back to New York. The plane takes off, but crash-lands in continental Africa. In Africa the animals are amazed to find more of their kind. Alex is reunited with Zuba and his mother. Marty fits in with a herd of zebra who all look and sound exactly like him. Hypochondriac Melman becomes a witch doctor. Gloria attracts the attention of a smooth-talking hippo named Moto Moto. Meanwhile, the penguins set about repairing the plane. They carjack several jeeps under "Operation Tourist Trap", leaving the tourists stranded in the jungle. Nana, a tough old woman known for beating up Alex in the first film, takes charge of the group. Unfortunately, life in Africa is not as wonderful as it first seemed. Makunga, still determined to take the position of alpha lion, reminds Zuba that Alex must complete a traditional coming-of-age challenge that he did not complete. Alex, thinking that the challenge is a dance contest (it is actually a fight) competes against the strongest lion, Teetsi who was recommended by Makunga and loses quickly. To avoid banishing his own son for failing, Zuba relinquishes his title as Alpha lion. Makunga immediately takes the position and banishes Alex and his family. Marty, meanwhile, begins to feel upset because there is nothing unique about him. Melman is happy until he learns that he has the same symptoms that apparently caused the previous witch doctor to die. Melman is also forlorn about Gloria dating Moto Moto, as Melman has secretly loved her for a long time. Gloria goes on a date with Moto Moto and quickly realizes that he only loves her for her large body. The next day, the animals panic when the watering hole dries up. Determined to make up for his earlier failure, Alex and Marty leave the reserve to investigate. They discover that the stranded New Yorkers, under the instruction of Nana, have dammed up the river and built a primitive civilization. Alex is captured by a trap, forcing Marty to abandon him to seek help. Meanwhile, Zuba hears from Makunga what Alex did and goes to assist him. Back on the reserve, King Julien suggests that the animals offer a sacrifice in the volcano, Mount Kilimanjaro, to appease the water gods. Believing that he will die soon, Melman volunteers to be sacrificed. Gloria stops him just in time and tells her he loves her. Marty arrives to tell them about Alex. The trio, the penguins, and several chimpanzees use the newly fixed plane to execute a rescue. However, Alex has already managed to rescue both himself and his father by dancing for the New Yorkers, who fondly remember him from the zoo. The other animals arrive to pick them up with the plane (redesigned as a helicopter), and together they all destroy the dam, freeing the water. Meanwhile, back at the volcano, Mort turns up after being chased through the jungle by a shark. The shark falls into the volcano, completing the sacrifice and causing King Julien to think that he brought back the water. As the watering hole fills, Makunga angrily makes a stand for control. However, Alex manages to remove Makunga from power by tricking Nana into attacking him. Zuba gives the alpha position to Alex, but Alex refuses, resulting in both father and son becoming co-leaders. The movie ends as Skipper marries a bobble-head hula doll from the plane and leaves on a honeymoon in Monte Carlo with the chimpanzees, and a huge tub of diamonds and gold, leaving Alex, Marty, Melman, Gloria and The Lemurs to happily remain in Africa with Alex's parents.