Zambezia Poster

Zambezia (2012)

Animation | Comedy 
Rayting:   5.8/10 6.7K votes
Country: South Africa
Language: English
Release date: 13 February 2013

Set in a bustling bird city on the edge of the majestic Victoria Falls, "Zambezia" is the story of Kai, a naïve, but high spirited young falcon who travels to the bird city of "Zambezia", ...

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User Reviews

TheLittleSongbird 1 October 2017

Despite being one of the biggest lifelong animation fans out there, being practically raised on Disney films and shows, expectations (even with an all-star vocal cast that does bring some intrigue) were low, with the story not being the most appetising seemingly, that it was low-budget (considering the dubious history of low-budget animation) and that the trailer wasn't the most attention-grabbing in the world.

'Zambezia' actually turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It's not a great film and could have been executed better, but it could have been a million times than it turned out to be. Although inexperience does show, understandably and inevitably, and it is rough around the edges, 'Zambezia' was clearly made with good intentions and has a heart of gold underneath its lack of refinement. It does actually try, almost too hard even at times, it doesn't feel like a lazy rip-off of anything and tries to attract a wider audience than its primary target audience (while still appealing to them) by having numerous famous faces, some of which unfamiliar to voice acting, to draw in those not so big on animation but likes any of the actors.

For a debut feature from Triggerfish, 'Zambezia' really isn't half bad and puts low-budget studios that have been around much longer to shame. Primarily Video Brinquedo, Spark Plug Entertainment and Dingo Pictures, companies that produce, or churn out shall we say, low-budget animation, where the only slightly watchable animation between the three of them was Spark Plug Entertainment 'A Cars Life 3' and even that wasn't particularly good.

Back to 'Zambezia', as said it is rough around the edges and inexperience shows a bit in parts. Was impressed by the animation actually most, but there is a lack of finesse in the odd transition and some stiff character designs. At times the story is a bit too busy, things would have been better if there was a little less going on and a few less characters and being dialogue-heavy may have helped a little as well.

Not every character works. Zoe is spirited and likable if also bland and underdeveloped, would have liked more exploration to her character and chemistry with the titular character. Ezee is the standard "annoying" character who gets at times too annoying and his more negative characteristics (like his laziness) goes overboard somewhat and grates.

However, 'Zambezia' does have a lot to like. Its efforts to appeal to its target audience, to all ages, to all the family and to a wider audience is most admirable. As are its good intentions, with some poignantly delivered values and messaging that makes its point but doesn't patronise. It clearly knows what it wants to be and who to aim at, and is not too juvenile or sugary sweet for adults and also not too dark or overly sophisticated for children.

While not all the characters are perfectly executed, most are done remarkably well and have well rounded and defined personalities that stop them from being too standard. There is a likable protagonist who has faults while not being selfish but at the same time he is not made too perfect. The sidekicks are humorous and charming mostly, Sekhuru being the most successful. The more family oriented parts have sincerity and poignancy. And the villains actually pose a threat without being too scary, nothing to give the youngsters nightmares, though Budzo is appropriately pretty sinister, instantly preferable to the bumbling or one-dimensional v

dandebs 4 April 2014

Fmovies: This is Triggerfish Animation's first feature film. It's a pretty good first effort, but the inexperience shows. A particular problem was the shoestring budget which meant some shots had to go through to the finished film with known flaws, and the story was patchy in places. This film could have done with some pick-ups to fill in those holes. The story is pretty generic, but for the most part well told. The animation is bright and sparkly - the shot of the Falls and into the tree is brilliant. Voice acting is generally good. A shout-out goes to the score: this is in a class of its own, and really lifts the movie. Well done to the first-time composer Bruce Retief.

The film could have done with a few more months in post-production: tightening up some of the gags, filling in a few story holes, polishing up the animation... then it would have warranted an 8/10. As it stands it's a solid 6, particularly due to the score.

Zambezia is not a movie which will be frequently watched again. What it does signal is intent from the new kid on the block from Africa. There's real potential from this little studio in Cape Town,and their next films look like they are hitting their stride (Khumba, plus the next in development: "Sea Monster" with an almost watercolour animation aesthetic. Looks amazing. Pixar 2?)

margot-a-aerts 10 January 2015

This movie, quite frankly, is one of my favorite movies I have ever seen. Coming into this, I had no expectations. The music was incredible, the vibe of the entire movie was fun, touching, and memorable. I want to watch this movie many times more, and I highly recommend it. I was incredibly shocked to see the reviews of this movie. Honestly, this movie was the best animated film I've seen since Up. My girlfriend and I had so much fun watching this film, and we plan to watch it over and over again. And we're 26. The development of both the father and the son were well done. There were many characters that you felt a sentimental attachment towards. The animation was great, and provided a nice view of this fictional area of Africa. Let's mention again how GREAT the music was.

moritzmeyerautor 29 January 2017

Zambezia fmovies. You can tell if a kids movie just hit the mark, if the young viewers shout "We want to watch this again", immediately after the end credits start to roll. "Zambezia" is a very sweet, well crafted and engagingly told south-African animation, that works very well with its target audience, tells an ambitious story; and ends up being hold back by its budget restrictions.

Director Wayne Thornley aims high with his home grown south-African story of the young hawk Kay, who lives alone with his father at the top of a gorge of the Zambezi in an otherwise deserted landscape. When Kay abandons his home to live in the bird's big city of "Zambezia", where he learns the truth about his origins and has to find his own strength, parallels to "The Lion King", "Finding Nemo" and other genre classics become obvious.

To my surprise, Zambezia fits surprisingly well into the shoes of its predecessors. The animal characters are developed very nicely and with attention to detail. Clearly the creators of this movie know their subjects very well. I always like, when animal characters like these are still rooted in their natural behavior, something "The Jungle Book" or the mentioned "Lion King" do all so well (while annoying movies like the "Madagascar"-franchise don't seem to get this right).

The south-African landscapes are stunning. It is a joy to follow Kay and all the other birds of prey as they race over rivers and waterfalls, through gorges of stone and wood at breakneck pace. These visual treats are accompanied by a simple story with an important message ("Stronger together"), both transported in a very engaging way for the young viewers. The movie is funny and exciting and the main villain is very creepy, so there is a lot to enjoy for the kids.

So, that Zambezia ultimately cannot quite reach the heights of its paragons, has nothing to do with bad story telling or movie making. The creators clearly had a vision of what they wanted to accomplish and it only seems, they have been held back by limited resources. They are some plot points, that would have deserved greater development, such as the relationship between Kay and the female kite "Zoe". Though the story paces along at falcon speed, I would have loved to see some story arcs told with more patience. But these are adult complaints, that surely don't diminish the fun of younger viewers.

Zambezia is a certainly underrated, definitely ambitious and well crafted piece of animation, that deserves to be given greater attention. If you need to kill an afternoon at home with your kids, this one is well worth the time.

in1984 1 June 2013

8.2 of 10. The second awesome film of 2012 Samuel L. Jackson is in (as a key character voice), and it's very different from Django Unchained, although there's an underlying common bond in working together in each film.

Besides making you want to pet birds, maybe not the vulture-like marabous, the animation doesn't get nearly enough credit. The lizards are bordering on life-like and the waterfall and mist (not to mention sand and other colored dusts) simply has never been better outside of actual filming of waterfalls. Even the bird poo is as gross as in real life.

As for the character voices, I was concerned that Nemoy and Jackson would dominate the audio and distract from the story. Instead, they both give surprisingly understated performances where you need to listen closely to identify them. Even Goldblum deserves credit because I still don't know which character he voiced.

Dear Oscars/Academy, you failed us again. Do any of you actually watch animations/cartoons?

Shopaholic35 30 January 2014

I was not expecting to like this movie very much but thought I would give it a go. Turns out I throughly enjoyed this movie as it had a great storyline was beautifully colourful and had a good amount of heart.

I'm not sure when people starting basing a movie's likability on it's level of animation/CGI special effects but they are missing out when they pick every little technical flaw apart. I didn't notice any problems with the animation because I was too busy allowing myself to enjoy the movie. Silly me not documenting every flaw of every movie in a notebook.

I definitely recommend this movie if your looking for a fun way to fill your time. But please leave your jaded adult world views and expectations at the door and just enjoy.

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