Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: José Zelada, Richard Claus
Starring the voices of: Lola Raie, Rene Mujica, Naomi Serrano, Alejandra Gollas, Bernardo
De Paula, Joe Hernandez, Thom Hoffman, Dino Andrade, Yeni Álvarez, Susana Ballesteros,
Gerardo Prat, Rico Sola
In cinemas August 27th
With environmentalism at the forefront of most people’s minds at the moment, this animated family-friendly release seems timely, so I’m surprised it hasn’t received much fanfare.
It tells the story of 13-year-old Ainbo, who lives in a remote tribe in the Amazon. Although she is an orphan her life is blissful until she discovers that there are other humans in the world besides her people and that they are threatening her homeland. As loggers and miners move in she calls upon the spirits of the amazon who tell her that she is the only one who can save her village before it’s too late.
The metaphors and messages in this are so in your face here they may as well be written on the characters’ foreheads – in a nutshell, developers bad, natural resources good. Its uber green message is wrapped up in the fantastical myths and legends of the Amazon. The jungle setting allows for some colourful and engaging animation although many of the characters are too similar and indistinct from each other and at times this is confusing.
The story is sweet although the first half does drag a bit – that said I’m not the target audience. It seems to be trying to be all things to all young people – unfortunately children and YAs rarely find the same things engaging so it is unlikely to have the broad appeal it seems to want. There also isn’t really enough here to engage adults and most will find it tedious. However, it should help parents discuss environmental issues with their children.
Being so exposed to huge budget animations from the likes of Pixar means that this will probably appear unsophisticated to some which is a shame. It has a lot of heart even if it is a bit jumbled. It has sweet moments and although the environmental message somewhat overpowers it is a nice film that is worth watching.