Based on a French cartoon series, “The Jungle Bunch” movie is a soft reboot of possibly the one kids’ property I’ve never encountered before. But if you’re bracing yourself for another artless animated cash grab like “Norm of The North” or “Robinson Crusoe”, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.
When the evil koala Igor is defeated and exiled to an island like the marsupial Napoleon he is by the Champions, a team of heroes who protect the jungle, he reveals his final trap, burning the jungle to the ground. Years later, the jungle has regrown and is under the protection of a new team of protectors: The Jungle Bunch. But Igor is planning his return, and this time intends to destroy the jungle completely.
It’s actually quite good fun, thanks to its cute character design and straightforward story. It may owe a considerable debt to the breakout penguins of “Madagascar” amongst others but it has just enough going on for it to feel like its own thing, and the Jungle bunch themselves are a likeable lot (my favourite being Miguel, the Hulk-like Gorilla). It took a mere twenty minutes of the movie for the littlest Craggling to turn to me and say excitedly, ‘This is a very better movie than “The Emoji Movie”!’. She was absolutely right.
In a way, it’s a shame the voice performances are so unremarkable because there’s some genuine wit and invention in the animation and script where the Jungle Bunch, determined to prove themselves as worthy successors to The Champions go up against a villain whose scheme homages “Superman: The Movie” and “Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom”.
It may not keep the attention of older children, but it enchanted the four-year old I saw it with and amused me enough that it wasn’t a chore to watch. I can’t, hand on heart, say it’s worth forking out full price ticket money for, but it’s definitely one to go and see when it inevitably hits the ‘Kids Club’ showing circuit.