Animals United

  • Review Date: April 10, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Kids might enjoy eco-friendly, Madagascar-like tale.
  • Review Date: April 10, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 93 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

Some clear lessons about how humans impact the environment, though young kids might miss some of the information.

Positive messages

There's a strong environmental message in Animals United. The animals explain how humans have made a lot of decisions that have hurt animals, the climate, and the environment in general. The movie's main message is that we all share the same Earth.

Positive role models

The ancient tortoises preach the message of environmental awareness and the need for humans to be more attentive and protective of the Earth and their fellow animals. The group of animals, led by Billy the meerkat and his friends, band together to save Socrates the lion and rescue the water they desperately need to survive.

Violence & scariness

The buffalo and the rhinos butt heads (literally). Socrates the lion recalls when his brother was shot and killed by a hunter. An elderly tortoise dies peacefully ("She has taken her last breath," her partner says). A hunter maniacally tries to kill a bunch of animals. A group of animals descends upon a resort, wreaking havoc and scaring the guests.

Sexy stuff

Winnie and Winston have been together for ages and talk about how much they love each other.

Language

Some insults, including "idiot," "dumb," "thief," "hell," etc.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

During the end credits, a koala bear is seen drinking beer in a bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Animals United is a standard wild animal adventure with some gun violence -- a lion remembers when his brother was shot and killed by a hunter -- and some animal-on-animal skirmishes (the buffalo and rhinos go head to head). Language includes some insults like "dumb," "idiot," and the word "hell," and if you stay through the credits, there's a short glimpse of a koala drinking a beer in a bar. But the movie's messages are positive and encourage viewers to be more environmentally aware and attempt to help endangered animals and protect natural resources.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

The animals in an unspecified African location await the annual flood to provide them with water. When it's later than ever, Socrates the lion (voiced by Stephen Fry) discovers that it's been cut off by a nearby resort, where he's then trapped by the hotel's in-house security. Meanwhile, Socrates' friend Billy the meerkat (James Corden) -- along with a motley crew including giraffes, an elephant, a Tasmanian Devil, a displaced polar bear, two ancient tortoises, and a French rooster -- all attempt to unite the various animal factions to descend on the resort, save Socrates, and subsequently crash a global climate-change summit.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Despite an outstanding voice cast, ANIMALS UNITED often feels like a sub-par copycat of a bunch of animated animal adventures, from The Lion King to Happy Feet to Madagascar. Originally a German-language film, Animals United was quite popular overseas but has been released straight to DVD in the United States. There's a reason for this. The songs are forgettable, the storyline a bit muddled, and the characters a lot less endearing than they are meant to be -- at least for adults.

Even the movie's one redeeming aspect -- the environmental message that cautions humans from assuming that the world is their playground -- is heavy handed. As a 700-year-old Galapagos tortoise, Academy Award winner Vanessa Redgrave delivers an over-the-top diatribe about why man is the reason the Earth is slowly turning into a dry, black puddle of a mess. While it's lovely to hear her distinguished voice, surely kindergartners don't need that much sermonizing in a children's film. Although younger kids might not notice Animals United's derivative nature, older children and parents will likely be bored by the story.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why animal-centered movies are so popular with kids. Animals United is reminiscent of many other animal movies, like Madagascar. How does the story contain elements that are similar to those other films?

  • How can people take the movie's message to heart and be more mindful of the environment? What animal and ecological causes can young kids help? How does your family help the Earth?

Movie details

DVD release date:April 10, 2012
Cast:Jim Broadbent, Stephen Fry, Vanessa Redgrave
Director:Reinhard Klooss
Studio:Arc Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Wild animals
Run time:93 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:mild thematic elements, some action and peril, rude humor and brief language

This review of Animals United was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Educator Written bybugmenot October 19, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

Worst movie I have EVER seen! (and that says a lot!)

Seriously overhanded on the animals are perfect / humans are bad message. The only point of this movie seems to be to brainwash your kids into believing the non-thruths of this movie. You'll need to bleach your brain after watching this one.
Parent of a 6 year old Written bymadsmooney1214 October 24, 2012
AGE
18
QUALITY
 

animals united

Families can talk about why animal-centered movies are so popular with kids. Animals United is reminiscent of many other animal movies, like Madagascar. How does the story contain elements that are similar to those other films? How can people take the movie's message to heart and be more mindful of the environment? What animal and ecological causes can young kids help? How does your family help the Earth?
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byXxConcernedParentXx February 5, 2015
AGE
2
QUALITY
 

it was dumb and one swore

I heard I think the elephant say damn
What other families should know
Too much swearing

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