Millennium Entertainment is releasing Khumba, a South African animated film that has a little something for everyone. Kids will love the title character of Khumba (Jake T. Austin, (Wizards of Waverly Place), a young zebra who has been wrongfully alienated from his herd because he is different — he lacks stripes on his back half. Khumba is blamed for the drought that is plaguing the Great Karoo, where he and his herd reside. After his mother dies, the sad little zebra goes on a quest to find a mystical waterhole, and he hopes, earn his stripes. Along the way he meets a series of colorful characters, some friendly, some dangerous, and even finds himself before the credits roll.
Directed by Anthony Silverston, the animation is sharp and gorgeous, and looks great on a large-scale high-definition television screen. The Blu-ray/DVD combo pack also includes behind-the-scenes features and interviews. English SDH and Spanish subtitles are available.
While the story arc may be stereotypical, adults will love the look of the film, as well as enjoy recognizing some of their favorite actors in the supporting cast. Laurence Fishburne plays Khumba’s father Seko, Liam Neeson the hungry and menacing leopard Phango, Steve Buscemi (Monsters University, Hotel Transylvania) as the wild dog Skalk, and Khumba’s new-found friends, wildebeest Mama V (Loretta Devine) and ostrich Bradley (Richard E. Grant). Khumba’s journeys take him through beautifully animated South African landscapes where he meets a migrating herd of Springbok and other colorful animal characters.
Back at home, Khumba’s friend Tombi (AnnaSophia Robb, The Carrie Diaries) tries to convince Seko and the rest of the herd that the drought is not Khumba’s fault, and that they need to find a new waterhole as well as their young friend. The film, apart from its skillful animation, also has an important message about diversity and accepting yourself for who you are. While Khumba may at first seem eerily reminiscent of other animated films like Madagascar, it does have its own quirky style and message, and its visual portrayal of the African landscape and many of its inhabitants is top-notch.