Khumba (NR)

Animation 84 December 6, 2013
By Calum Marsh
The youngest children, I gather, are a rather undiscriminating lot—they already want everything, so naturally any action figure or breakfast cereal will do. They likewise give cinema a free pass: From birth to early adolescence, that noisy, shimmering screen seems inexhaustibly impressive. Kids will not only watch but delight in just about anything marketed to them, dross or otherwise, and when it’s done they’ll happily watch and delight in it all over again. I mention this to explain why Khumba, despite being resoundingly terrible, will probably appeal to children anyway, much in the same way that, say, a Lucky Charms commercial or an inflatable bouncy castle would. A computer-animated adventure film about talking zebras in Africa, Khumba seems, to more discerning eyes, like an off-brand sequel to Ice Age or Madagascar—surely a dreary proposition for anybody over the age of 12. You would think, after eight films between those two franchises, that the world would have tired of stories in which talking animals learn about friendship and bravery. But then, I suppose, the kids still go for that sort of thing. Here a young zebra, ostracized from his community for being born with a bare backside, must go on a journey to earn his stripes—because zebras have stripes, you see. Perhaps a 6-year-old would find that funny. Perhaps not. In any case, the adults dragged along to the theater after much protestation won’t. You have to feel bad for them.
Anthony Silverston Jake T. Austin, Steve Buscemi, Laurence Fishburne, AnnaSophia Robb, Liam Neeson, Catherine Tate, Richard E. Grant, Jeff Bennett, Phil LaMarr Raffaella Delle Donne, Anthony Silverston Millenium Entertainment

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