I don’t care who owns this shit
Hello, Spongey here.
Time for another requested review! This one comes from none other than Norty, that guy I helped do with a review once, and then did two reviews as. …That was a strange month. Anyway, the film he request is…an interesting one.
If you’ve ever scrolled through Neflix, than I guarantee you’ve seen one of…those movies. You know what I’m talking about. Those incredibly cheap leaking animated films made on pretty much no budget.
These are mostly Direct to Video affairs but I mostly bump into them on Netflix. There are the films so poor and obscure that there are forced to mostly live on in Netflix. For the most part, no one is brave enough to watch one of them because they are just that bad.
But there comes a time in every man’s life where they must a cheap animated film off of Neflix. I’ve had so many options, but now I am being forced to do a certain one. I had never even bumped into this one but I guess Norty somehow found it.
Allow me to tell you everything I know about it: It was released in 2013. …That’s it. Like a lot of these movies, no information can be found at all. No one important or interesting made it. It’s another movie the internet has pretty much rejected.
Although I found out through doing research that The Weinstein Company disturbed this. You know, the same company that churned out Hoodwinked 2 and Saving Santa.
I’m a…little bit scared, I’ll admit. Mostly because Norty ends to enjoy these kind of movies for how bad they are, but said this one genuinely pissed him off, which I think is why he’s making me to do it.
Keep in mind, he saw Legends of Oz as So Bad It’s Good. Now I’m really scared. But I’m also excited because no one else has reviewed it, so I’ll at least be original in tackling it. Now, this must not be confused with a 1994 film called Leo the Lion (which itself should not be confused with that other 1994 Lion movie…) which features Andrea Libman.
….Why can’t I be watching that one?!
So without further ado, let’s just get this over with and just hope it’s quick and painless.
This, is Leo the Lion
The movie opens with narration over the opening credits. Shouldn’t you wait for us to stop reading the names before you butt in? He tells us that the titular Leo is a Vegetarian unlike the others in his pride.
And right we’ve got an insanely cliché premise. That was fast. Also, thanks for the clunky exposition, my friend.
We go through the next scene through Leo’s POV as we see that lip sync is predictably bad. The animation is poor too but that’s no big shock.
Leo’s Mom takes him out for a hunt but she ends falling into water, and instead of calling her help since the rest of their pride isn’t too far away, he runs out to the “heart of the jungle” because she told him to.
Then she falls down the waterfall and dies. ….Okay, first off, that’s some pretty bad pacing since we’re only 3 minutes in and we barely know these characters.
2Nd, that’s the lamest death ever because she only fell in water, and the way her going down the waterfall was animated, it did not seem like she died.
Something tells me things only get worse from here.
After that, Leo becomes afraid of the water and because his Mom isn’t around to protect him, he starts being bullied. What, everyone else in his pride is an asshole who doesn’t see that he lost his mother?
Leo still manages to make a friend in the form of the narrator, who is this goat looking thing. I’m sure it’s something else though. Since he happens to be the kind of animal lions hunt, Leo must protect him from his buddies.
“Savanna had always wanted a baby”
…Uh, good for her? Who the heck is this? What does this have to do with anything? Why the sudden transition to this random other character? Leo bumps into her but why not introduce her arc in a natural way instead of the narrator randomly bringing her in?
“I am a lion, Leo the Lion!”
Leo was unfortunate enough to bump into as she is about to have her baby. Don’t you have it when that happens?
“I hoped I wouldn’t be alone”
“That’s more of a husbands problem than mine”
Wow, you’re a dick.
‘I had a husband. Eli Phant”
…Really. She then randomly goes into her backstory. At least 9 months ago, she and Eli were happily married but one day some humans in helicopters showed up and killed him. You know, being dark won’t automatically get you respect, especially if it’s this sudden.
Oh wait, he was just knocked out and taken to a zoo. ….The animators clearly did get that memo. This would be more tragic if it was paced better and I actually cared about anyone.
Then the narrator adds onto the backstory, as this other elephant randomly pops up after he is shot and says now he’ll marry Savanna. The hell did this come from? Now we have a really cliché villain out of nowhere?
Does this movie know how proper pacing works at all?
Lope, the narrator conveniently saw this and kept to himself, because it’s not like they would be interested to hear that.
“Let’s focus on a wonderful thing that happened”
The movie ended?
She successfully gives birth to two baby Elephants…and then she tells Leo to get a Doctor. Shouldn’t you do that BEFORE you give birth? Of course the path to the doctor involves water so Leo has to act like a pussy.
Here we see that it turns out someone I know is actually in this, as Fred Stoller pops up as a hippo in this scene. On the blog he was in Rebound but outside he’s in everything I watch from Handy Manny to Corey in the House.
He meets the doctor but she doesn’t trust him since he is a lion. Eh, I don’t think a guy who looks like Andy Dick from Lion King 2 will be any danger to you. She trusts when he mentions Savannah though, so there you go.
The doctor cares for her the and babies talk despite just being born. They grow up so fast. And they are voiced by Jimmy Neutron. …Wait, what?
Then it cuts to a field on fire with animals running around. The hell is up with these abrupt cuts to important things?! Leo sees this and follows the fleeing animals. The babies followed up because they see him as their Daddy. That and so they can involved in this “intense” scene.
They run off and end up separated from Savanna, and now they are on a quest to find the heart of the jungle. Well, that’s a very typical plot at all. Sounds like something of a Dinosaur movie.
They randomly bump into a Baby Zebra and agree to help him find his mother. This happens so quickly I can barely register it. If the credits are right, his voice actor was Nelson on Auston & Ally. I didn’t care for his character so this is going to be lovely.
Speaking of random, new characters, they bump into-
…this abomination that they call a monkey. Shouldn’t they add to their party over time, not right away? Back with Savanna, the asshole elephant from earlier offers to find her kids and cuz she doesn’t know of him being a jerk, she trusts him. Good going on not telling her, Lope. After a few minor bits, the evil guy….starts singing.’
…Yeah, this is apparently a musical and it took 20 minutes to have a song. Makes sense to me. At least we start with a villain song. And…honestly, it’s not that bad. It’s not exactly good but I kind of like the beat and I’ve actually heard worse villain songs.
Huh, even this movie can muster up a passable villain song. It’s still kind of weak and has one issue. At one point he’s standing ontop a huge rock overlooking his minions, who start marching step, and everything is all fiery red.
…Gee, does this sound anything like another villain song from a certain Lion movie? This is so original!
This song is really abrupt, by the way. It just happens with no lead in and then cuts to the next scene so quickly it’s like this song was pointless or something! But hey, it’s the only enjoyable thing so far.
Back with Leo, they find a truck holding a baby cheetah and rescue it. Because we clearly don’t have enough goddamn characters being introduced too quickly! Speaking of things happening too soon, we get another song.
It’s pretty lame, mostly because it barely lasts 30 seconds before they just give up and partake in dumb slapstick. Yawn.
They come upon a log they must walk across and I wouldn’t be shocked if they grow old walking across it. That doesn’t happen but Leo does fall and despite being animated in a way where it seems like he’s alive, they still act like he might have died.
With how this movie shows death, it wouldn’t be too far off but the movie isn’t kind enough to end now.
“Come on kids, we have to go on”
…You’re not gonna check if he’s dead?
Maximus pops up and tries to follow them across the log, but a human appear and shoots him. Lamest villain ever.
“We found ourselves in the Elephant Graveyard”
…You’re not even hiding it anymore.
Leo is of course alive and finds himself in a cave with a turtle that we’ll just call Rafiki because it’s that obvious. She basically blabbers on forever about important character stuff I didn’t even pick on until now, and she agrees to help Leo with his heart of the jungle thing.
By that I mean she just helps go out of the weird cave place and says the heart of the jungle is closer than you think. As the wise Guru that gives middle of the movie advice, she fails. Her name is Goo Roo, by the way. I hate my life.
Back with the gang, they are attacked by…Heynas. You’ve got to be fucking kidding me at this point! They even look like the ones from Lion King…except they talk in rhyme for some reason. Leo magically shows up to save the day, making his leave pointless.
With his help, they fend them off and move on. Maximus ends up here having survived the tranq dart, and acts like a pussy baby. Then he…looks up at a skull, says “I Betrayed you” then falls over.
…Well that happened.
After a scene with Leo, it cuts to the Elephants marching as some big music plays, and they are dancing to it…Then it cuts to the next scene. ….You have characters dancing to music….and no song? The hell was the point of it then!
Netflix has the option to watch it in the original Italian and I switched to see if maybe they muted the song, but they actually ADDED extra noises from them that made me think a song would happen.
Yeah, this is another one that suffers from plenty of Lull Destruction, because kids need constant noise I guess.
“They can smell your scent!”
“But I wore deodorant”
…How do you have deodorant out here when we’ve seen nothing that advanced out here so far?
They find the Baby Zebra’s family and instead of telling the Mom they found her kid, they scare the crap out of her and briefly capture her before telling her the news. …What the hell? Maybe they didn’t want her scared by their presence but why not have the kid come out first?!
“She’s so happy she’s giving us milk!”
With that, they the Zebra has found home and leaves the party. The kid was there for like 5 minutes, got no development, and served no real purpose. Fantastic story we have here.
After they leave, they brave a storm and when it clears, a rainbow appears and opens a path for them. Because why not.
The path leads to a big oasis-ish place where they meet a chameleon known as the Rainbow Shaman. Again why the hell not. Lope is pretty starstruck so I guess she was a well known figure even though this is the first time she has been mentioned.
‘I provide moral support and comic relief”
You suck at both.
She randomly breaks into a song. Okay so if there’s no lead in we get a song but if there is one, we get nothing, got it. It’s better than the previous song and is kind of okay but is cut off too quickly.
Leo tells her that Mom told him the heart of the jungle was a place where he could be safe from ridicule but now he’s more concerned with protecting the kids. Yeah spout your development instead of letting it happen natural!
Also, it would have been nice to see discuss the heart of the jungle instead of dumping it on us later. She is touched by his speech and leads him to the heart of the jungle. It’s gonna be a big metaphor, calling it now.
“The heart is within!”
…That was fast.
She brings up a rainbow that they ride to this big magic cave thing which happens to the heart of the jungle. First of all, what drugs are they taking, and 2nd of all…it’s an actual place? Then what was all that “within” nonsense?!
It’s either a real place or a cheesy metaphor, you can’t do both!
Rainbow Shaman says she will keep the other babies they found and take care of them until they are ready to take on the jungle. I guess finding their respective parents are out of the question.
Leo and his remaining pals leave, but Lope says they must go on without him as he wants to stay with Rainbow Shaman. Eh, good riddance.
With that, Leo finally bumps into Maximus who is a dick a Leo and takes the babies, leaving him alone. Oh yeah we’re up to the 3rd act, we need a forced conflict. Almost forgot.
Leo goes back to Lope and tells him what happened and Lope informs of him how Maximus is a jerk. So letting some babies go with a strange guy you don’t know turned out badly. Who would have guessed?
Maximus is such a jerk he threatens to stomp on the babies and blame Leo. Yes, nothing says family film like threatened baby murder! …God, we still have at least 15 minutes left.
Thankfully, Leo shows up to save the day. Savannah conveniently shows up just in time for Maximus to lie and says Leo is the bad guy. She buys it because she’s an idiot and we need forced conflict.
She and Maximus leave, then Lope shows up to pretty much drop dead. Because this movie has made important things abrupt so far, why stop now? How did he even die anyway? He kind of fought Maximus but it was do damn rushed!
Also, why did Savannah do nothing as she clearly heard his cries? Anyway he gives a lame speech and now he’s dead. Poor Lope, I hardly knew yee…because I didn’t care enough.
The movie then shows us a montage of his antics to make us feel emotional. Yes, they were that desperate to fill the runtime. …Then the Shaman appears, tells Lope to wake up. He does and Leo runs to save his girl.
…WHAT WAS THE POINT OF THAT?! He didn’t die?! Then why the over dramtatic speech? Was he brought to life or something?! WHY DID THAT HAPPEN?!
We cut to Savannah and Maximus’ random wedding, because we have stopped to using romantic comedy cliches. By the way, her kids have not bothered to speak up about Leo. They tried once but stopped there. Ugh.
Leo runs in to set the story straight and NOW the kids speak to vouch for him. They let Leo have the floor and he explains everything, including Maximus being evil. Savannah rants at him because she just immediately believes everything she hears.
She’s just lucky it was all true this time. They all lash out at him and he attacks in return for our epic climax. It amounts to him chasing Leo a lot and it fades to night as he is still chasing him.
Yep, that’s what this all amounts to, Leo tiring him in the course of many hours. Exciting. Then because we can’t anything interesting with Leo happen, some humans in helicopters show up and take him down.
It’s nice comeuppance I guess, but rather anti climatic.
“That’s the last anyone heard of Maximus Elephante. Leo’s courage was celebrated by the elephant tribes throughout the jungle”
Oh dear, are you going to just explain everything instead of letting it happen? …Well, it pans out to reveal that Leo was telling this story…as a full grown adult to some kids. Well, that kind of makes sense but guess what?
We saw bits of older him earlier that I skipped cuz they were short. Meaning not only is this not shocking, but they pretty much told us he survives meaning there’s even less suspense then there already was!
We see that Leo and Savanna had kids…one of which is a Lion Elephant hybrid. It’s so horrifying I won’t even show it. Seriously, what the hell.
“As for Savannah and the kids, Leo stayed friends with all of them’
…We just saw their kids, we know this! Wait, how is Lope still narrating if now we know Leo is the narrator? I’m so perplex I’ll ignore the most rushed romance in movie history. Seriously, they shared one scene earlier and that’s it.
Then some monkeys start singing because fuck you. This is our big ending song …and it’s just Leo saying he’s a vegetation a million times. No other characters, just Leo, trippy visuals, and a Pacman reference for some reason.
It’s…kind of catchy but also really underwhelming. And of course, the movie ends here. Icing on the shit cake, my friends. I don’t even care, let’s just end this with credits filled with clips of what we just saw.
As if I needed a reminder.
While this is far less painful than other cheapo animated flicks, it’s still pretty bad. To be fair, it’s trying a little harder to say something and tell a story, which puts it above other fare that barely tries.
But it hardly makes up for how badly writing it is. The animation is bad, but the movements are least somewhat competent sometimes, making it sightly better than others. But you shouldn’t trust me because I’m desensitized by terrible animation so anything looks better than some stuff I’ve seen.
The lip sync is really bad too, which is sad because even Tentcalino had passable lip syncing. For a musical it’s lame because it has few songs, and only the villain song is memorable at all.
The characters are all one dimensional and only Leo really gets any kind of development. Lope is the support and that’s it. Yet he’s still the better development than everyone else who gets little to nothing to do!
Leo is passable I suppose but pretty bland, while Maximus is really inconsistent. First he’s bland, then he’s incredibly incompetent, then he’s almost too evil. And what the hell was up with that graveyard scene with him looking at the skull?!
Of course it blatantly rips off The Lion King with elements of the story, Leo’s design and other minor things. I’ve seen worse in that regard but it’s still lame.
But the biggest problem is the writing itself. Besides being very cliché, the pacing is shit. We are given no time to let anything sink it before something happens. As a result, nothing really makes any sense and we get a lot of pointless scenes.
Even the more straight forward parts are rushed in and are made stupid by the other writing problems. By the end I was frustrated with how messing the writing is, even by this movie’s already low standards.
Like I said, it’s not the most painful thing ever but it’s still bad due to being lazy, and incredibly poorly paced and written. It’s another cheap kids movie with little effort put into it. It’s bad.
I was curious after Norty’s comments so thanks for suggesting it, although it really wasn’t’; the most anger inducing thing ever. Some bits were kind of “funny” I suppose.
As for next time…well, I want to do one last theme month for old time’s sake. But it should be a sequel as a real throw back. But what? Hmm…i may regret this but next month shall be..
SO BAD IT’S HORRIBLE MONTH 2!