What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Koala Kid is an animated adventure that's pretty kid-friendly, but includes several insults hurled at Johnny the albino koala ("midget polar bear," "freak," and "joke"). There are some scary scenes and images including the kidnapping of not one but two koalas, the apparent sinking of two characters in a sinkhole (they're saved), and a climactic confrontation between the koalas and a big crocodile.
What's the story?
Johnny (Rob Schneider) is a rare animal: an albino koala who endures taunts from his fellow koalas until Hamish (Bret McKenzie) a Tasmanian Devil discovers him and pitches him as a possible act for a traveling circus nearby. Johnny is soon a sideshow act called the KOALA KID, but the top act is the Wild Bushman, a Crocodile Dundee-type who shows off his crocodile-wrestling skills and other feats of strength. On the way to another of the circus' stops, Johnny and Hamish's train car crashes into the Outback, where they encounter a billabong where a female koala named Miranda (Yvonne Strahovski) tries to protect her friends from a group of dingoes and the billabong's biggest threat, Bog (Alan Cumming), a huge crocodile.
Is it any good?
Koala Kid is one of an ever-growing number of direct-to-DVD animated movies that will please young children, but probably not parents used to theatrical feature films from Pixar and the like. There's nothing particularly memorable about this movie other than the setting of Australia and the admittedly clever conceit of making the protagonist an albino, so kids can see how "different" doesn't mean "weird." Otherwise, the movie is filled with a rather predictable Madagascar-like plot that sets up Johnny to prove he is braver than he looks.
For a so-so movie, the redeeming qualities are all about the messages concerning Johnny. Kids will see why bullying is hurtful and why you should never judge or pick on someone because they don't look the same as others. There are some laughs along with a dramatic second half full of occasional scares and tense situations, but ultimately there's a happily ever after under the Big Top. This is a decent pick for the kids, especially if they're fascinated with Australia.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Australia and what the movie reveals about the animals of Australia and the landscape of the continent.
How does Johnny rise to the occasion when he's with the traveling circus and later when he's in the billabong?
Why are kids' movies about the circus or carnivals so popular?