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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids might learn facts about various wild animals, particularly zebras.
The positive messages include not judging others by superficialities, working together for the common good, and knowing that friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.
Positive Role Models
Khumba's mother never lets him think of himself as a misfit. She loves him as much as her other children. Khumba's sister also is supportive and doesn't treat him like an outsider. Khumba learns to believe in himself and to trust his new friends Mama V and Bradley.
Violence & Scariness
Phango the leopard can be cruel and seems to be waiting for an opportunity to kill and eat the zebras. A character dies after rocks crush him. A mother dies of sickness.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some of the female zebras talk about a male zebra who is "hot."
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Insults include "dumb jock," "sore loser," "funny looking," "hot shot," "an ass," "muscle-headed lame brains," and "skanky."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Khumba is a South African animation feature about a zebra born without all his stripes. The movie has a positive message about finding your place even when you feel like an outsider. There's some violence (a character is crushed by rocks, a mother dies of sickness) and language ("ass," "dumb," "lame brains"), but ultimately there's a feel-good 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?
Kids who like animal films should enjoy this straight-to-DVD release. With the exception of the masterful Studio Ghibli productions, it's always difficult to judge foreign animated films on the same level as American-produced ones, because our animation studios tend to have higher budgets and greater resources. But this sophomore feature from South Africa's Triggerfish Animation is enjoyable and sweet, although some of the language is surprisingly strong for a kiddie flick. Khumba's story will resonate with any kid who has ever felt different, and even very young viewers will understand why he feels like an outsider in his own home.
Although the movie's not exactly The Lion King, there are some similarities in Khumba's themes and motifs. Both films follow an heir who feels guilty about something bad happening, a dead parent, and a period of escape when the main character comes into his own with the help of two unlikely friends. Devine and Grant are amusing as the wildebeest and ostrich that team up with Khumba once he's outside the zebra commune in search of water. Liam Neeson is naturally formidable-sounding as Phango, the zebra-hungry leopard.
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.
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