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Adventures in Zambezia (3D)

2012-12-27 11:54
Adventures in Zambezia
What's it about?

Frustrated with his isolated upbringing, a young falcon journeys to the bird city of Zambezia, leaving his home and father to make a life for himself. He soon discovers that living in a community can be more difficult than surviving in the wild and it's only when the city comes under threat that he comes to understand that the only life worth living is a life lived through others.

What we thought:

The challenge for anyone wanting to try their hand at a computer animated feature is going up against the standard set by the big daddy of computer animated features, Pixar. Pixar's talent for marrying stunning visuals with solid storytelling means that anyone attempting such a feature faces a daunting task.

Here now, we have local animation company, Triggerfish based in Cape Town, throwing their hat in the computer animated ring with their latest feature, Adventures in Zambezia. And though it doesn't measure up entirely to the standards set by Pixar in terms of story or animation, it still makes for an entertaining hour and twenty minutes and makes a good argument for the talent we have right here in SA.

Kai, a somewhat cocky and brash falcon, and his father, Tendai, lead a quiet existence in a canyon. Kai itches to see the world outside the canyon, but due to a past tragedy, his father is stubbornly set on staying. 

When they're visited by birds on their way to Zambezia, Kai, enthralled by their tales of this avian utopia, decides to rebel against his father and makes the long journey to Zambezia, intent on joining the Hurricanes (an army of birds who protect Zambezia from its enemies). But getting into the Hurricanes will be the least of Kai's worries as he'll also have to deal with the villainous leguaan, Budzo, and his troop of Marabou Storks, who have some ugly plans in store for Zambezia.

Not surprisingly, given its subject matter and its 3D format, this film features more than a few sequences of birds zooming through the air, ducking, diving and climbing the clear blue skies. Particularly impressive is a sequence showing the Hurricane trainees racing around Zambezia, charging down cliffsides and soaring over the water. Also impressive is the actual city of Zambezia, a colourful conurbation which sits just on the edge of a roaring waterfall (which is a lovely location for a home, but I imagination the waterfall makes for quite a racket when you want to fall asleep at night). 

Still, despite these impressive efforts, the animation does suffer in comparison to the textured characters and worlds seen in films like Finding Nemo and How To Train Your Dragon.

Similarly, the story, while showing off good values, is poorly plotted and paced, and much of the humour falls a bit flat. The result is a finale that lacks heft and could have done with a better set-up.

For a local production, Adventures of Zambezia has managed to gather some pretty big names for vocal duties. Samuel L. Jackson, Leonard Nimoy and Jeff Goldblum are just a few of the talents lending their voices here.

This is a fun film. Of course, it suffers in comparison to work coming out of Pixar and Dreamworks Animation. That's a given. And while adults might have a good time with the movies produced by those aforementioned companies, an somewhat lacking script means that they might not feel the same way with Zambezia.

Still, colourful animation and a story that moves with some zip means that its target market, i.e. kids, should have a good time.

Read more on:    south african film  |  movies

Add Your Review

(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Greg C 2012-12-30 07:34 PM
  • Rating:
Why compare it to Pixar or Disney? Their budgets are at least 10 times the budget of this film. It seems South Africans would be overjoyed that they have done this movie that has earned an international audience. Rejoice for them. The film doesn't have the multiple levels of humor and irreverent attitude because it is family friendly. There are millions of families who are looking for a movie without sexual innuendo and inappropriate content. Thankfully, these families can sit their young children down in front of this movie without hesitation. It is a breath of fresh air to those who actually are not tickled or entertained by the scripts of Pixar, Disney or Dreamworks. Rejoice for them too.
The Grem 2012-12-31 10:46 AM
  • Rating:
I have not yet seen the movie, but I agree with Greg C that comparing Triggerfish with the movie giant Pixar, is just ridiculous. Not because Triggerfish are bad, but because they don't have several billion dollars sitting in the bank to throw at making a movie. Well done to the Triggerfish team for breaking out with this movie. I look forward to seeing it soon. PS. I am putting my rating at 5 for triggerfish, they have done brilliant work.
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