A disappointing big-screen outing for the French cartoon series, this feels like a dated echo of better films like ‘Madagascar’ and ‘Kung Fu Panda’. The animals even have American accents in this version: Maurice (Kirk Thornton) is a fighting penguin raised by retired tiger hero Natacha (Dorothy Fahn). When evil koala Igor (Keith Silverstein) returns from exile to threaten his jungle home, Maurice must defeat him, but he will need the cooperation of his mother and team.
What follows is nonsensical but not in a fun, absurdist way; it lacks internal logic and relies on the audience’s familiarity with its cartoon serial source. This is the sort of jungle world where bamboo jet-packs and mine carts are a thing but clothes are not. Worse than that, it’s the sort of jungle where action scenes and gags happen but there’s no sense of progress or character development.
It’s been a lacklustre summer for kids’ movies and ‘The Jungle Bunch’ does not correct that downward spiral. The animation here is technically fine, but who cares when it’s used to depict terrible gender politics and a gorilla who speaks dialogue that makes no sense at all. Even tiny little ones will raise an eyebrow.