9 September 2004 | bob the moo
Fun for kids, amusing enough with good animation whilst avoiding the usual sickly sentiment that comes with this sort of film not much for adults though
As we all know, Eliza was blessed with the gift of talking to animals when she freed an injured animal who turned out to be a shaman. On safari with her family, she goes out to play with her lion friends when poachers pounce and steal one of the cubs. Eliza is determined to get her friend back but first has to escape from the English boarding school that her Grandmother has insisted she attend to make her more ladylike.
In my defence it is my inability to sleep on airplanes during the day that led me to watch this film not just my desire to see a cartoon. I am vaguely aware of the series but have never cared enough to actually ever watch an episode nor will I ever be likely to! However, as a way of passing 90 minutes, I was happy to have it and quite surprised to find that, although not aimed at adults, I was not put to sleep by it. The plot is very simple but has enough going on to keep the interest and keep the screen busy. It is rarely funny but it is quite amusing all the way through. It is simple stuff but I did enjoy it.
The animation is not that impressive but it is professional and colourful and I never felt that corners had been cut it all looked big and fun. The cast and characters are good hardly difficult or complex but still good enough to do the job. The main family are funny enough with their mix of accents (love that monkey!) from Curry, Chabert, Kane etc and the support cast is good with enjoyable little roles for Woodard, Redgrave, Tomei and Everett- who takes to the role with a bit of relish and his tongue in his cheek.
Overall, hardly a great film but one that I'm sure many parents will have to watch due to their kids watching the series. As such it is actually OK. The plot is simple but not simplistic or dull, the film is busy with a good amusing tone and the whole thing works well throughout. Young children will enjoy it and, while there is not much for adults in the way that Pixar delivers the goods, parents will not be bored senseless by it and may, if they are in the mood find it enjoyable if childish.