Khumba 3D (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Animation
Director: Anthony Silverston
Distributor: eOne

Khumba 3D (DVD) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Good pace, nice scenery
Bad: Lack of detail in animation
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(1 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

A zebra that travels around with his animal friends and that acts a bit different as the other zebras? What is this, Madagascar? No, as a matter of fact it is Khumba, a totally unrelated movie that really has nothing in common except the presence of a weird zebra and his talking animal friends. Alright, let’s find out what Khumba is about then!

khumba_bannerKhumba starts with the birth of the titular character, aptly named Khumba (Jake T. Austin). He is born into a zebra herd that lives isolated from the rest of the animals in a nice little sanctuary, complete with private waterhole. The only problem for Khumba is that, unlike all the other zebras, he is born without stripes on his backside. This makes him the joke of the herd, with all the other zebras mocking him as being “a half zebra”. Only his father Seko (Laurence Fishburne), his mother Lungisa (Anika Noni Rose) and Tombi (AnnaSophia Robb), a female zebra that also doesn’t really fit in the herd accept Khumba into the tribe.

It becomes worse when a drought threatens to endanger the herds water reserves. The zebras, a superstitious bunch, blame the stripeless zebra for this, which adds to Khumba’s feelings of loneliness. When he receives a signal from a mysterious grasshopper, Khumba starts to wonder if there is a way to get his stripes back, and at the same time save his herd from the drought. Sadly, his quest for his stripes will bring him in direct danger, as Phango (Liam Neeson) is stalking the plains for easy prey. Luckily for him, he gets the help of a wildebeest named Mama V (Loretta Devine) and a flamboyant ostrich named Bradley (Richard E. Grant).

khumba2Khumba places a lot of detail in the background. You can clearly see that the production house that made the movie is situated in South Africa, because a lot of the scenery is very pretty and well made. Especially the scene where Khumba ends up on a salt plain really converses how the environment feels like and how troublesome it is to wander through it.

Unfortunately, the detail that is put in the background is sometimes missing from the actual characters. The animation at times feels off, and it really becomes obvious when we see Phango running. It is a jarring difference between the seemingly unfinished run animation and the great backgrounds.

As said before, Khumba is a South African production, made by Triggerfish Animation Studios. This allows a certain love for the country to appear in the movie. The soundtrack also has elements of the country embedded, adding to the authentic atmosphere and the feeling that you are watching something great.

The story itself sometimes lacks a clear goal, but the movie is more about the journey than the goal of getting the stripes back. Khumba meets a lot of interesting characters during his quest to get his stripes back, the one more interesting and funny as the other. The herd of Gemsbok were a particularly good find, but the makers were smart enough to keep their screen time limited so they wouldn’t overplay the joke. The director, Anthony Silverston, knows to keep the pace high enough to never bore, but this also leads to the fact that sometimes the story moves too fast for its own good.

khumba2It’s also interesting that some of the small roles have quite the famous actors behind them. For the English humor lovers: the voice of Nero the sheep is played by Catherine Tate. Behind Stalk, the wild dog, is another great actor: Steve Buscemi. These two really put a lot of quality in their little roles, which really helps to appreciate the movie.

The DVD doesn’t offer any special features or making-ofs. It does however come with 3D goggles. You know the blue-red goggles from back in the early days of 3D movies? Well, it are exactly those that come shipped with the box. The 3D also works pretty good, so it’s definitely a great add-on.


Khumba is a movie made with love, but has some problems with properly finishing the quality of the work. This results in a very detailed world, but with sloppy animation to go with it. While the quality of the animation might be somewhat awkward, the story is still interesting, but funny moments and some touching moments. Thanks to the high pace you won’t be bored, but some parts feel rushed as well. The voice actors aren’t just collecting a paycheck, but put the movie up to a higher level. The 3D goggles are also a nice touch to offer.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Khumba 3D (DVD) - Movie Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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