Leo the Lion (2013)

The depths of the jungle hold many wonders, with animals frolicking and species intermingling, if you are looking for non-human drama, it might just be the first place you’d start. In 2013 (possibly, depending on who you ask) an animated tale of courage, adventure and believing in yourself found its way onto Netflix and told the tall tale of Leo the Lion.

After the success of the likes of Lion King, I can see why one would want to capitalise on it.

Leo is a lion who is a vegetarian. His mother rules the jungle and encourages her son until she dies in a river, making Leo afraid of the water. Tutored by his antelope uncle Leop, life seems pretty contented for the young monarch until some baby cubs get lost in the depths of the jungle. He must face his anxieties as he escorts animals on the quest to the heart of the jungle, out of harm’s way of a Machiavellian elephant, as he journeys onward on the tale of Leo the Lion.

Leo is a fine prince and protagonist of this film.

Leo the Lion is an emotionally rich film, barely three minutes in, it hits you with the feels, as It is not afraid to pull any punches, dolling out sobering moments of sadness among the frequent moments of levity. Leo is a fine young prince, with Daniel Amerman, capturing the role.  Although he isn’t as young as the character himself, yet that certainly won’t stop the majority of the audience from feeling sympathetic to his plight. But some of those moments will be joyous, especially with the comic relief of Uncle Leop (get it?) played by John Cygan in a memorable performance. The villain in this tale is none other than Matthew Mercer. Voicing the role of this elephant, Maximus, is quite frankly a real jerk in his unrelenting pursuit of power, but this is par for the course of children’s villains.

Maximus Elefante is a jerk, but a fun one nonetheless!

The writing particularly caters to its audience, The animals have cute puns that will get a giggle from any age. Drawing inspiration from other successful films, Leo marries the African jungle with catchy songs. Such as the evil Maximus, who has his anthem that impressively touts his wickedness, as well as Leo’s ode to vegetarianism, which is equally infectious, especially with his music-video-esque rendition towards the end. Sarah Dietrich did the lyrics and props should go to them for crafting these specific earworms, and the cast does well in bringing these tunes to life.

Uncle Leop carries a lot of the comedic current of the film.

Combining emotion and entertainment in a nice, lightweight package, Leo the Lion is an approachable-animated adventure. That allows young and old to enjoy some animated antics for an hour. Good for a couple of sing-alongs, that teach pleasant messages along the way. Colourful, charming, and a good way to spend an hour of entertainment, especially if it comes free with your streaming subscription. Leo the Lion may not be king of this jungle, but he’s a mighty fine prince.

Leo’s ode to vegetarianism gets the music-video treatment!

If you want more positive reviews delivered to the e-mail box of your choice, you can click on that little text bubble at the bottom of the screen. Do you agree or disagree? or have a suggestion for another pop-culture artefact that needs a positive light shone on it? Leave a comment in the comment box below! But remember to keep it positive!

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