Just because you have not heard of an animated film or that it isn’t produced by Disney or Pixar Studios does not mean you should not watch it. Adventures in Zambezia totally flew under the radar in this part of the world. Produced in South Africa, it is now getting a change on DVD to gain an audience. It totally deserves that chance.
Young falcon Kai (Jeremy Suarez – Brother Bear, The Ladykillers) and his father Tendai (Samuel L. Jackson – Pulp Ficiton, Django Unchained) live alone in a remote desert area. Kai has grown up isolated from other birds while being taught by his father how to hunt and be always careful. He loves his father, but Kai longs for more.
One day after a fight with his father over allowing visitors to spend the night in their nest, Kai decides to strike out on his own. While flying away in a huff, he meets up with a group of birds heading towards Zambezia. After learning that Zambezia is a community near the Victoria Falls of different species of birds living together harmoniously, Kai decides to go there.
While setting off after his young son, Tendai happens upon two vultures, Cecil (Richard E. Grant – Corpse Bride, Penelope) and Morton (David Shaughnessy) talking to a giant lizard. They are hatching a plot concerning an attack on Zambezia. Tendai is discovered and taken prisoner by the evil lizard.
Once in Zambezia Kai strives to become part of the Hurricanes, a group of elite fliers that protects Zambezia. Because of his independent streak (and not because of his flying skills), Kai is kicked out of the Hurricanes. While moping over this he and his new friends Ezee (Jamal Mixon – The Nutty Professor, Gridiron Gang) and Zoe (Abigail Breslin – Little Miss Sunshine, Zombieland) learn of the plot to attack Zambezia by the giant lizard and vultures. It is up to these three young birds to save the entire community.
While watching Adventures in Zambezia I was totally reminded of the film Rio. Same type of animation and plenty of birds. It is dynamic, colourful, funny, and comes with the requisite important life lesson for the younger viewers. Set in a vibrant imaginary world in Africa with all the expected beautiful scenery. Aimed primarily at kids (though parents won’t be bored off their perches…see what I did there?…made a bird reference…) it is filled with fun songs and a story that is easy to follow.
As for the story it is about a parent learning to let go of a child and a child learning their place in the world. Basically a coming of age story, so it is not anything that you haven’t seen before.
-Birds of a Feather
-An African Story
-The Tree City
-“Come And Fly With Me” Music Video by Jewels Jaselle and Benj Heard