Adventures in Zambezia

image for Adventures in Zambezia

Short takes

Not recommended under 5, parental guidance to 8 (Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Adventures in Zambezia
  • a review of Adventures in Zambezia completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 8 April 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Not recommended due to scary scenes
Children 5-8 Parental guidance recommended due to scary scenes
Children 8 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Adventures in Zambezia
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length: 82 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Adventures in Zambezia is the animated tale of Kai (voiced by Jeremy Suarez), an adolescent falcon eager for adventure.  Kai’s overprotective father Tendai (voiced by Samuel L Jackson) has other ideas and places firm boundaries on his son’s adventures, in fear that he may become harmed as his mother was years earlier.  Frustrated by his father’s restrictions, Kai rebels and runs away from home.

The naïve young falcon travels to the infamous bird metropolis of Zambezia which dazzles him.  Meanwhile, Kai’s father stumbles upon Budzo (voiced by Jim Cummings), a menacing large lizard who is plotting with his allies to a find a way to Zambezia in order to gorge on the birds that live there.

While in Zambezi Kai finds many colourful friends and has many adventures.  He also meets a pretty young bird called Zoe (voiced by Abigail Breslin) who catches his eye.  However when trouble begins to brew, Kai discovers a hidden secret about his past and is forced to grow up in order to protect those that he loves and cares for.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Death of a parent; running away from home; cruelty to animals; animals killing and eating other animals

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including the following examples:

  • A stork attempting to save a family of baby birds in the midst of a storm is chased by a number of menacing birds.  One of the birds chasing the stork is confronted and a fight ensues.  The attacking bird is pushed off a cliff and is seen falling to his death.  His brother is distressed by this.
  • Cute and helpful weaver birds are captured and forced to weave a bridge for the evil Budzo.  They are kept captive in cages and in a dark cave where Tendai is also kept.
  • An army of lizards enter Zambezia and try to eat all of the birds.  A fight breaks out between the birds and the lizards with punches and creatures being thrown around. 
  • There is a verbal reference to Budzo eating Kai’s mother when Kai was a baby.
  • At the end of the movie Budzo and Zoe fall from a cliff and everyone is shocked and upset.  However Zoe is rescued at the last minute by Kai.  Budzo is not seen again.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Budzo is a very scary and menacing character.  He treats those around him very cruelly.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be scared by Budzo and upset by the imprisonment of Tendai.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Nothing of concern

Thirteen and overinfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

None of concern

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Mild flirting between Kai and Zoe
  • Ezee chats up two female birds at a hairdressing salon and refers to their beauty.  The two birds, however, leer at Kai and ask who the new boy is.

Nudity and sexual activity

None of concern

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

None of concern

In a nutshell

Adventures in Zambezia is the animated tale of a young bird intent on adventure who finds more than he bargained for when he stumbles upon Zambezia, a place that holds secrets from his past and endless possibilities for adventure. Although the film has a G rating, there are scenes and characters that are likely to disturb children under 5 and some older children, so parental guidance is recommended for under 8s.  The evil Budzo and his associates may be particularly scary for young children and the 3D version of the film makes the violent and scary scenes more intense.

The main messages from this movie are about the value of family loyalty and standing by those you love.

Other discussion topics arising from this film include:

  • How birds really live.  What sort of behaviours shown in the movie are true to real life?
  • The food chain and the eating of birds by large lizards