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Animals United

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Animals United Movie Poster Image
Kids might enjoy eco-friendly, Madagascar-like tale.
  • PG
  • 2012
  • 93 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.


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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 year old Written bybugmenot October 19, 2012

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... Continue reading
Parent Written byXxConcernedParentXx February 5, 2015

it was dumb and one swore

I heard I think the elephant say damn
Kid, 10 years old October 15, 2014
Teen, 14 years old Written byOneboyreviewing January 12, 2019

Insert forced environmental message here

This movie was made with good intentions and its heart was in the right place. The problem is that the environmental message was pandering and repetitive. Als... Continue reading

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?

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animals

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