Madagascar 2-

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Madagascar 2-

Post  Emily on Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:15 pm

Emily Simmons

The film Madagascar 2: Escape to Africa is a continuation from the first movie Madagascar. The animals Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the Hippo, Melman the giraffe and four fugitive penguins are trying to get back to New York’s Central Park Zoo after being stranded on the island of Madagascar. In the second film the penguins build a plane and attempt to fly all the animals back to New York but instead they crash land into Africa. Alex reunites with his parents. His father is Zuba who is the Alpha lion, and Makunga is an evil character who wishes he were Alpha lion. Upon Alex’s return, Makunga insists that Alex partake in the coming of age battle in order for him to be a part of the Pride. When he loses, Zuba does not have the heart to banish his own son so he withdraws his role as Alpha lion and Makunga takes over. He than banishes Alex from the Pride. When the watering hole for the animals dries up Alex goes off the reserve to find the problem so that he can save the animals, be accepted back into the Pride and get his fathers job back. He succeeds and everything returns back to its original state.

In the film there are certain associations made to Jungians symbolic archetypes such as battle between good and evil and water versus desert. Within the pride of lions the Alpha lion, Zuba and his opponent Makunga are constantly in a battle between good and evil. Makunga wants to be Alpha lion and not for the right reasons. He can also be seen as an evil character archetype. His reasons are “I’m better looking, I have better hair, I’m deceitfully smart and I want everyone to do what I say.” In the beginning of the film Makunga challenges Zuba to a fight for his spot as Alpha lion and while competing in this fight, Alex gets captured by poachers. When Alex unexpectedly returns back to the pride, Makunga insists that Alex go through the coming of age challenge that he missed in order to become part of the pride, which is to fight another lion and win. He than proceeds to trick Alex into picking Teetsi as his opponent for the initiation battle knowing that he would have no chance in beating him. When Alex does lose, Makunga forces Zuba to banish his son or give up his role as Alpha lion, as those are the rules. Makunga quickly assumes the role as Alpha lion and banishes Alex from the Pride. When the watering hole dries up, Makunga tells the Pride that if they want water they must go off the reserve to get it, and that the little bit of water that remains belongs to him. Alex goes off the reserve and takes out the dam that was holding off their water supply with the help of Zuba and they end up defeating Makunga, taking their place as Alpha lions. Therefore good defeats evil.
When we first see the wild animals in Africa they live in and around a huge watering hole. This watering hole represents the life of the Pride. The state of the pride changed when the Alpha lion changed. When Zuba was in charge the Pride was full of life, happiness and water. When Makunga takes over the state of the Pride goes downhill. The watering hole dries up and there is no other source of water for them. When the water returns, Zuba returns and the Pride is full of life once more.

Character Symbolism
Alex follows the pattern of the hero in Jungian’s theory. When Alex was a baby he was taken by hunters. He was able to get away but ended up in a zoo where he was taken care of by zoo keepers. We do not know much about his childhood except that he was taking away from his home. After escaping from the zoo to Madagascar and from there to Africa, he reunites with his family and his kingdom. He becomes an outcast when he fails to win his coming of age challenge and Makunga banishes him from the Pride. As I said before Makunga appears to play a devil like character. Alex is determined to prove himself and be accepted back in. He does this by risking his life to find out what happened to their water supply. Since he succeeded in his task he ended up defeating Makunga who was king or Alpha lion and took over. Although the hero follows the pattern of having a mysterious death, this does not happen to Alex but for all we know it could happen in a future film.

Alex goes through three situational archetypes, the initiation, the fall and the journey.
The initiation would be the coming of age challenge that Alex must go through. The fall would be when Alex loses his coming of age challenge and gets banished from the Pride. He descends from a higher state of being to a lower one. The journey would be the group of New Yorkers on vacation who get lost in Africa. They make do with what they have and build a society out of what they find. In doing so they build a dam to conserve the water in one area but this now stops the water from getting to the Prides watering hole. I think this shows the effect of society on the environment.


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Post  Mr. C on Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:03 pm

Emily - a very good analysis of this sequel. Funny - I have never seen it. I saw the first one, and assumed I had seen the second, but when I read your plot summary I realized I hadn't. Sounds like there could be a lot of comparisons with The Lion King, eh? I particularly liked how you demonstrated that Alex moved from Hero to Outcast and the significance of Water vs. Desert symbolism. Well done!
Mr. C

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