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Film Review – The Adventures in Zambesia

Director: Wayne Thornley
Screenplay: Wayne Thornley, Kiel Murray, Andrew Cook, Rafaella Delle Donne.
Voice Cast: Samuel L Jackson, Abigail Breslin, Jim Cummings, Jeff Goldblum, Leonard Nimoy, Jimmy Suarez, Jennifer Lewis
Genre: Adventure animation
Venue: Ster Kinekor, Maerua Mall, Cine 2
Rating: ***

The movie takes us on an adventure of Kai (Jimmy Suarez), a young ambitious falcon who wants to live a carefree life amongst other birds but his father Tendai (Samuel L Jackson) won’t let him because of a past experience that robbed him of a wife and left Kai without a mother. Kai argues with his father and leaves their nest in search of freedom.
The film is set around the Zambezi river, on the Victoria Falls where a community of birds live together in perfect harmony in a huge baobab tree that serves as a restaurant, hair salon, hotel, school and massage parlour. It is here that Kai learns that not all battles are won single handedly but often by the combined effort of a group, and that greater goodness can only be achieved by listening to the advice of the wise.
The birds work together for the greater good of Zambesia except for the marabous (Jim Cummings)   who are in cahoots with a giant lizard, Ajax (Jeff Goldblum). The lizard is the villain in the film and is responsible for the death of Kai’s mother. Together the marabous and the lizard plan a coup to take over Zambesia. Not all is truthful between them and when the marabous realise that the lizard is a traitor they change their ways and help the other birds defeat Ajax.
The film is filled with a lot of characters. There is Gogo (Jennifer Lewis), a loony stork, a wise falcon is Sekuru (Leonard Nimoy) and the bitter Tendai who does not want his son suffering the same fate as his wife. Then there are the free-spirited and free-willed Zoe (Abigail Breslin)and the dumb attention seeking marabous. They all work together to make this a wonderful adventure filled tale. The animation is good with vivacious colour and good graphics, especially the flight scenes.
Overall the movie is not really something to get hyped up about. The plot is paper thin and the fact that there is a lack of focus on a central character makes the film a little bit dull and confusing. Too many characters are added in the mix justifying that indeed to many cooks spoil the broth. It is one of the typical movies where the parent have difficulties in letting go of their child.
However, there is one good thing about the movie, it has an awesome music score. The very basic storyline makes a good moral lesson for a family, culture and respect for children and adults alike. The story of the marabous helps one realise that we all have to accept others despite their differences. Doing so helps a community grow not only in number but in strength as well. It’s no Rio, or the Rise of the Guardians, but it makes a great watch for kids.

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