Universal // 2012 // 58 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 27th, 2012
More animated penguins.
Universal's latest stab at CGI kids movie gold arrives courtesy of The Jungle Bunch, a brief tale of dickbag walruses tormenting a tribe of penguins and their only hope is a legendary penguin raised in the jungle and thinks he's a tiger. Maurice, known around the iceberg as "The Great Tiger Warrior," responds to this cry for help by leading a group of misfits through the jungle and into the Antarctic for a final showdown with the tusked interlopers.
That's about all the plot you're going to get in The Jungle Bunch. Clocking in at an economical 58 minutes, this effort feels less like a full-bodied feature and more like an expanded episode of a Nick Jr. show. While you may be missing out on content, I will say a shortened experience is preferable to a long slog. Since this is a mediocre slice of animation at best, the short run time is a blessing.
At its core, The Jungle Bunch -- Hey! Is that a play on The Wild Bunch? Yeah, probably -- is a road movie, the bulk of which finds our waddling freedom fighters wandering through the jungle. Small adventures are had, but nothing stands out as particularly memorable. It's all about the final face-off with the walruses and -- SPOILER WARNING! -- no one gets murdered.
There's nothing here you'll find offensive. The penguins are cheerful, the scenert is a treat to look at, and there's a gorilla. Maurice (voiced by John Lithgow, 3rd Rock From the Sun) is a unique character -- a penguin with tiger stripes? Does that compute with evolutionary biology? Though I wasn't personally transfixed by his charms, kids will enjoy his bombast and pet fish.
The DVD: standard definition 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1 Surround, and 40 minutes worth of animated shorts; a decent little add-on to compensate for the short runtime.
Not Guilty, mainly because I was spared yet another tedious global warming lesson delivered by an animated penguin.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 58 Minutes
Release Year: 2012
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Short Films