Set in Africa's Okavango Delta, meet a meerkat named Billy and a lion named Socrates. The annual flood has failed to arrive in the Delta, water has become scarce and the native animals fiercely fight over it. Billy and Socrates set out to find more water and during their quest they meet a rag-tag group of animals from across the world: a polar bear, a kangaroo, a Tasmanian devil, a Galapagos tortoise and a rooster, all of whom have had their lives ruined by humans in some way and have travelled to Africa.
The animals soon discover the reason for the lack of water in the Delta: a dam has been constructed to supply energy for a luxury resort. When humans kidnap Socrates and hold him captive in the resort, Billy leads the animals in a plan to free Socrates and break the dam to bring water back to the Delta.
We watched this yesterday my two boys and I. My five year old is an animal enthusiast and was immediately drawn to the dvd cover and started asking questions. His younger brother followed his brother's lead. They liked the fact the animals could talk and the five year old became sad when he saw a lion shot.
The boys were interested from beginning to end asking a lot of questions and immediately related to the bad guy human versus the poor defenceless animal themes and it really made my boys ask questions about what was happening in the film and why. 'Why did the people take all the water, that was greedy?" "Why doesn't the hunter man like animals?" I was able to make them understand it was just a movie and explain some of life's realities. Some people are greedy for money and they don't care who they hurt along the way. I was also asked if lions eat people, is that why the Hunter doesn't like them?
There is comedy in the movie which was understood by my four and five year olds so as well as a few tears in the sad parts there was lots of laughter. I actually enjoyed it too and thought there were plenty of positive messages for the kids and it wasn't just a junk movie, it had a good plot and relatable characters, there was a message, a lesson.
Immediately after showing the boys the movie they started roll playing the characters for the rest of the afternoon. My five year old wants to go to the toy shop to see if we can find "Billy" toys and toys of the other main animal characters. The questions about what happened in the movie and why went right up until bed time and I was asked if they could watch it again tomorrow.
I can see a lot of ways of extending my children's learning about the world and showing them real world things that we saw in the movie. I am sure we will watch it again today and beyond.
We sat down to watch this movie this today. I popped some popcorn and then put the DVD on. My youngest was enchanted by the DVD cover. She spent 15 minutes or so, looking over the cover art happily while waiting to watch the movie. She pointed to each animal, and made lots of "ohhh!" noises and roaring happily to herself. Meanwhile my oldest got upset that she couldn't watch something else. She declared the movie boring, without knowing anything about it and then stomped off upstairs.
Once the warm buttery popcorn smell moved into the lounge and the movie went on though, I noticed her slowly slinking downstairs. Within 1 minute of the movie starting, she was sitting with me on the couch. The voice talent in this includes many of my favourite people - Stephen Fry, Dawn French and Jim Broadbent to name a few. That made me a happy viewer.
The story itself is quite confusing at first. We start out in Africa, and then suddenly we are taken all over the world to various islands or countries where animals are having a bad time due to human kind. Eventually though, it all makes sense as the animals come together.
This movie was entertaining enough, but there are a few things to watch for if you have sensitive kids. This is a PG rating and it does say on the cover that some scenes may scare very young children. There are a few things which really shook my daughter. She is not normally very worried about that sort of thing, but this time it did affect her. Also it is really quite anti-human. I appreciated the eco-warrior, look after the world message, as did my daughter but it really drove the message home multiple times very forcefully I thought.
Lastly, my daughter is very into animals but she is very detail orientated. Where there are inaccuracies with how the animals behave, it really irked her. However, my youngest daughter really seemed to enjoy the movie and didn't care about the details. So I guess there is a happy medium there.
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Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962)