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What to know: Worthwhile message and quality animation.
Recommended age 5-12
85 minutes
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This movie is by Nickelodeon. It is a cute, adorable and well-written family-friendly movie. My favorite character Eliza Thornberry has a secret power. I cannot say what it is or she will lose it. I wish I could have this power to. She finds herself in Africa with her family because her father Hosts a nature show and her mother films it. Eliza has three wild cheetah cub friends. Talley one of the cubs gets kidnapped by poachers. She tries to find the poachers with her friend Darwin the chimp and recue Talley. Should young girls be raised in the Savanna in Africa? Her parents decide that is a bad idea and send her off to boarding school with her Grandmother. She has to live and stay at school 24-7.

There are funny scenes with her new friends and roommates. School is a much different experience then being in Africa and she escapes to continue looking for Talley. Her new journey begins with plane and train rides. The big problem is that she doesn't know who the poachers are and trusts everyone. Her older sister Debbie is jealous and wishes she could go back to London. Instead she goes on her own journey to find her sister Eliza. She is very funny and entertaining as she meets various people and tries to learn to drive. Trouble would be a better name for the wild jungle boy who has a bunch of funny moments.

The Thornberry parents and grandparent are also trying to find Eliza. The reason they were all in the Savanna in Africa was to see if the solar eclipse would have an effect on elephants. There are stories that the elephants all gathering a specific place if there is a solar eclipse. The main poacher played by Keith Szarabajka who I have had the pleasure to meet and work with is evil and wants to capture all the elephants. Will Eliza be found by her family? Will she break her promise and lose her powers? Do elephants really show up for the eclipse? Does Debbie find her way out of the jungle? Will Talley be saved?

The animation and music are great and make you feel like you are really in Africa.

The all-star cast includes Lynn Redgrave, Lacey Chabert, Tom Cane, Tim Curry, Flea, Kimberly Brooks, Melissa Greenspan, Danielle Harris and Keith Szarabajka. The ages are six and up and anyone who loves wild animals. I give this movie 5 twinkling stars because I learned a lot by watching it and I laughed a lot. Morgan Bertsch, age 7, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic.

Worthwhile message and quality animation. Fantastic music. Cooperative and respectful behaviors, realistic relationships between kids. Brings the issue of endangered animal conservation to young level of understanding. "Great ride for the whole family."

Check it out all month on HDNet - kidScene, October 2012. Originally released in 2002.

While on an African safari, a young girl with the ability to speak to animals must stop a vicious poacher from killing an elephant with the help of her chimpanzee friend.
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