Kids movies can so often go one of two ways: they’re either nauseously sanitised, or layered with subtle innuendo it’s hoped only adults will notice.
Thankfully the new animated flick Jungle Beat finds a way of teaching kids mature principles about leadership, identity and trust without being overly saccharine or falling into inappropriate territory.
Debuting on Heritage Films’ newly minted ‘Premieres’ online video platform, Jungle Beat tells the story of a homesick alien who crash lands in the African jungle. Fneep (the alien) has to decide whether to conquer the newfound planet – as his Dad would expect – or learn about a different way of life from its inhabitants.
Not one to let plans for world domination get in the way of a new friendship, Munki the monkey and Trunk the elephant welcome Fneep into their fold, forcing him to confront his own feelings about home and what it means to belong.
Letting Go of His Need to Conquer
As the locals try to help Fneep find his damaged ship and return home, Fneep begins to see how his planets’ view of the outside world might have been wrong, and why not everything that is different needs to be ‘conquered’.
In some ways, Fneep is the schoolyard bully certain that everyone’s out to get him, shunning affection and defaulting to ‘attack mode’. However, Fneep also can’t deny the care he’s been offered or the good feeling he gets when Munki and Trunk offer to help.
Given its storyline, Jungle Beat could easily reflect on issues of colonisation and how indigenous populations have been treated – but instead focuses on the power of friendship to cross dividing lines, and shows how love can heal even the hardest of hearts.
Jungle Beat is perfect for young kids finding their way in the world, and will leave them wanting to embrace people who don’t feel like they fit in, and be everyone’s friend.
Jungle Beat is available now on Premieres.