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Parents' Guide to

Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon

By Tom Cassidy, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Animated tale has eco message, role models, scary villain.

Movie NR 2022 84 minutes
Ainbo movie poster

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This is not the first animated adventure to tackle the destruction of the environment head-on. Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon joins the likes of Studio Ghibli's Pom Poko and Nausicaa of The Valley of the Wind in highlighting the urgent need to save the environment. But here the message is much more blunt. The machines that tear down the forests are portrayed as demons, and the main villain responsible is even referred to as "the White man." But then the film appears to get cold feet, shying away from its hard-hitting message and instead putting the destruction down to demonic possession and giving the film a happy ending. Tying things up nicely isn't the wrong decision necessarily. It just seems like a missed opportunity for a movie that almost takes it over the finish line but fumbles at the end.

Ainbo herself is a fun, strong character. Her world is full of weird and wonderful creatures who are a joy to meet and animated beautifully. The vibrant jungle feels alive and the gigantic sloth and fluffy bats are nice creations, even if they do resemble characters from other movies -- see Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King. Ainbo's influences are easily spotted, but it draws from the best and uses the pieces well. Ambitious in its story and visually interesting, it should hold the attention of tweens for the duration of its runtime.

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