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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie has a message about looking after the environment, although it gets watered down toward the end. Kids may be inspired to learn more about the Amazon Rainforest and the people that live there.
Young teens display courage, perseverance, and forgiveness. Characters show good teamwork. A young leader is assertive and decisive.
Positive Role Models
Ainbo is a 13-year-old girl who dreams of being a hunter. She is confident and forgiving. Atok is a man who behaves badly because of jealously. He admits he was wrong and asks for forgiveness. Spirit guides Vaca and Dillo show good teamwork and ensure Ainbo learns the lessons she needs to complete her quest. Under the influence of an evil spirit, Cornelus DeWitt tricks a village into showing him where to mine for gold and he plans to destroy the village to make a mine.
The movie is set in an Amazonian village with the main characters belonging to an Indigenous tribe. The villain is referred to as "the White man" and is responsible for deforestation and destruction, but under the influence of a demon.
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Violence & Scariness
The villain is a human whose eyes turn red and black veins trace their face while smoke comes out their mouth. They grab a character by the throat and throws them. They later transform into a scary demon. A character finds their mother dead in bed and the corpse is shown, then again at the funeral. Threat includes a character kidnapped and tied up, another is grabbed by a giant bat. A threatening character carries a dagger. Characters fall from height, one hits their head on a rock.
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One use of "idiots."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon is a fantasy animated adventure with plenty of positive messages and young role modes, but also some threat. Ainbo (voiced by Lola Raie) is a 13-year-old girl living in the Amazon Rainforest who is tasked with ridding her village of an evil curse. It features a villain that might be visually scary to young viewers -- his eyes turn red and he breathes smoke, before later turning into a demon. Ainbo and her friend Zumi (Naomi Serrano) are positive girl role models. They are confident, assertive, show perseverance, and good teamwork. There are scenes of death, with a character finding her mother dead in bed and the corpse is shown, and again later at her funeral. One character has a vendetta against Ainbo and he regularly brandishes a dagger. The movie tackles some complex themes and has a vague eco message but it's lost during a confusing ending. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.