A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Adventures in Zambezia should appeal to most kids who like animal characters with personality and humor, and a story with some suspense. Set in Africa, the movie introduces bits of the geography, language, and melodies of the continent, as well as many native birds and creatures. Best for kids who can distinguish cartoon violence from real violence, as there's plenty of action (chases, captures, a vicious monitor lizard) to go with the bright, colorful animation and a mostly conventional story. At the heart of the tale is a young peregrine falcon who, in the course of the film, learns about the death of his mother. In addition, one villainous marabou falls to his death as his brother watches. There are lots of positive messages about teamwork, inclusiveness, and growing up.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Though little Kai (voiced by Jeremy Suarez) has a dad, Tendai (Samuel T. Jackson), who wants to keep him close by and safe from harm, the young African peregrine falcon desperately wants to explore and experience the world. So in ADVENTURES IN ZAMBEZIA, Kai takes off on his own, headed for the island of Zambezia where all species of native birds live in a bright-colored paradise.
When he meets the lovely young kite Zoe (Abigail Breslin), her dad, the island leader Sekhuru (Leonard Nimoy), and the comical stork Go-Go (Jeff Goldblum), Kai is astonished to learn that he was born on Zambezia, and that his mother died there while saving Kai's life. Soon the little falcon joins The Hurricanes, the island's elite warrior squadron, when both Zambezia, and his father are threatened by Budzo, an evil monitor lizard and his band of outrageous marabou.
Is it any good?
Though the story isn't terribly original, the storytelling is. Kids will like Kai; they'll root for Zoe, Sekhuru and company; and they'll be moved when Kai and his dad are re-united. Characters are well-defined (even the villains have distinctive personalities), the music and sounds of Africa add charm and a degree of authenticity, and there's enough action to keep adventure-lovers happy.
Going straight to DVD in the US, even with A-list actors, engaging characters, and colorful, upbeat animation, this movie may be overlooked by home viewing families. That would be a shame, because it's a funny movie, with good messages and enthusiastic performances.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can discuss differences between being protected and safe and being over-sheltered and isolated. When it comes to safety can families agree about what is enough and what is too much? Take a look at the issue from the both the parent's and kid's point-of-view.
What were some characteristics of the movie that told you it took place in Africa? Talk about the music, the birds, and the settings. Create your own vision of Africa in a drawing; what other native animals might you include?
Who were the "outsiders" in this movie? What did the outsiders learn about belonging to a community?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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