A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Jungle Bunch is a short, comic animated film best for younger kids who are comfortable with make-believe action, though older kids might appreciate some of the jokes and clever characterizations. There's some mild cartoon violence in which the heroes face danger from bad-guy walruses, an aggressive snake, and sometimes their own missteps. Characters fall, are punched and captured, and sometimes fear for their lives and the lives of their offspring. No one is seriously hurt or killed, but a couple of knockout blows are delivered -- the victims then quickly revive.
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What's the story?
As a herd of walruses overpowers a peaceful penguin village at the South Pole, one egg falls into the sea. The egg floats to a faraway jungle where it hatches, and Maurice (voiced by John Lithgow), the baby penguin who emerges, is adopted by a loving tiger. Maurice grows up believing that he, too, is a tiger; in fact, his belief is so strong that all the other animals are convinced that he's the King of the Jungle. Back at the South Pole, two young penguins who've heard the legend of the Great Warrior Tiger escape from their cruel walrus overseers to find the hero. When they meet Maurice, they're sure the legend is true. They ask him to return with them to rid their village of their walrus captors. So the brave Maurice, with a fresh coat of painted tiger stripes and a band of seven oddball freedom-fighter friends, sets out to save the penguins.
Is it any good?
Light and upbeat but neither very memorable nor original, THE JUNGLE BUNCH is a pleasant enough diversion for little kids.
An occasional misfire (i.e. a warthog who who speaks in annoying rhymes, a weak musical number) doesn't spoil the overall charm of the penguin with delusions of grandeur and some of his off-the-wall compatriots. At 58 minutes, though, this feels more like a TV series episode than a feature film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Maurice's belief that he's a Great Warrior Tiger. How did his belief in himself convince the other animals that he was King of the Jungle?
Gilbert is a "tarsier," a rare primate that looks like a large mouse. How could you find out more about tarsiers?
Maurice's role as a leader is very important. What qualities make a good leader?
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