protectedimage-1.phpDirector: Wayne Thornley

Starring: Jeremy Suarez, Abigail Breslin, Jeff Goldblum, Samuel L. Jackson, Leonard Nimoy and Richard E. Grant.

Certificate: U

Running Time: 79 minutes

DVD Extras: “Come Fly With Me” music video by Jewels Jaselle and Benj Heard and four featurettes.

Any animated effort made outside the realms of Disney-Pixar is always going to struggle to make an impression with critics. The beauty in their storytelling, along with their glorious and faultless computer animation, show the studio team-up with the House Of Mouse has the smarts to appeal to both children and adults. Consistently churning out genuine masterpieces. Few others have made an indelible mark but Dreamworks’ first two SHREK movies, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON and DESPICABLE ME mark highlights in the (Pixar-less) genre, while Anime house, Studio Ghibli’s hand-drawn efforts continue to impress away from Hollywood. Not forgetting the charm of the UK’s very own Aardman Animation.

From a kid who grew up watching Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons (do we still call them that?), and now having a child of my own, I find it difficult to criticise any title that tries to keep the kids quiet with big-eyed, colourful characters and cheap ‘n’ cheerful laughs. Sadly (or gladly), South African-based Triggerfish Animation’s first film, ADVENTURES IN ZAMBEZIA, has fallen way short of Pixar-esque expectations and tries to  hammer home moral messages  of ‘selfishness’, ‘sharing’ and being part of a community to the little blighters.

The all-star cast do their best but it’s hardly inspiring when Jackson’s thunderous and unmistakeable voice work dominates as the father falcon to relative unknown Suarez’ young Kai. The film marks co-writer and director Thornley’s first effort behind the camera following a rather varied, yet short career as an actor in the like of JERSEY SHORE SHARK ATTACK. The film hardly made a dent in the international box-office but being released so close to another high-flying blue bird adventure in RIO, seems to have come as a serious disadvantage.

Still, like the weaker franchises MADAGASCAR and KUNG FU PANDA, ADVENTURES IN ZAMBEZIA is sure keep the kiddies happy if only for a short time but will most likely be ultimately forgotten about rather quickly. I doubt it will be a constant on the television and enjoy multiple viewings alongside the likes of TOY STORY or MONSTERS INC. My own little one didn’t appear too impressed and left me to finish it alone after 10 minutes.

2 Star NewADVENTURES IN ZAMBEZIA is out March 18th on DVD and Blu-ray and can be ordered via this link.