Parents' Guide to

Magic Journey to Africa

By Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Vivid, dreamlike Africa adventure is offbeat but inspired.

Movie NR 2013 49 minutes
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MAGIC JOURNEY TO AFRICA has an exciting premise: Kids can experience lands only seen in books or movies by retreating to the richness of their imaginations. Here, the landscape and shots are gorgeously filmed in vivid color, and the CGI animals who talk and tell their stories, although a bit off-putting, add another layer of magical realism to this tale that involves flying around on toys that become full-size winged horses; talking to lions; and galloping along on zebras.

There's not much for plot, and the dialogue is a bit heavy-handed for kids. The chattiness is increasingly far-out, and the spiritual nature about the things hidden in dreams, talking to animals to understand their feelings, and divining with plant life to understand the universe sometimes borders on nonsensical. That aside, it's a neat movie that celebrates the real power of imagination, no matter how offbeat or silly, something a lot of children's fare could use more of. Worth being ready for: There's the implication in the outset that the kid in the beginning of the film has died, and what follows may be an exercise in communing with the deceased. However, this is handled with great subtlety, so this may or may not be something kids -- especially those who've lost loved ones -- pick up on.

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