x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Outback is quite innocent and will delight younger viewers

The animation is basic compared with those American contemporaries, but throws up the occasional impressive moment.

The animated movie Outback 3D.
The animated movie Outback 3D.

Outback 3D
Director: Kyung Ho Lee
Starring: Rob Schneider, Bret McKenzie, Alan Cumming
***

Outback 3D is the latest from The Animation Picture Co, maker of the recent Garfield adventures. The story centres on Johnny, an outcast white koala who joins the circus, where he soon finds fame as a "fearless hero" thanks to his friends, Hamish and Higgins.

However, when a fellow koala is kidnapped by an evil crocodile, Johnny must become a real-life hero to prove himself to the world. Right from its sweeping opening, panning across a vast animated Australian skyline, it's clear that Outback is ambitious, although perhaps more interested in emulating the child-friendly Ice Age movies than the world of Pixar.

The animation is basic compared with those American contemporaries, but throws up the occasional impressive moment.

The real strength of the film, however, is the comedy, evoking a lot of the simple hilarity of old Warner Brothers cartoons, and distracting from what is a very familiar plot (an outcast hero proves himself by performing a daring rescue).

A number of voice-over regulars make up the cast, including Tim Curry in a typically dastardly role, and the comedian Schneider in the central role as Johnny, but it's the Flight of the Conchords actor (and recent Oscar winner) McKenzie as Hamish who wins most of the laughs.

Visuals take centre stage over wacky voices, however, making a relatively simple film seem more varied. It's all quite innocent, and never really impresses beyond the odd successful gag. Still, Outback will delight the younger viewers.