DVD Review and GIVEAWAY: Ava and Lala, ends 10/22

*Disclosure: I received a copy of Ava and Lala for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

I don't watch many childrens movies, but I was surprised (in a good way) by Ava and Lala.

This film seems to have slipped under the radar a bit, because the voice cast is full of A-listers: JK Simmons, George Takei, Mira Sorvino, and Tom Arnold. If you Google the movie, it comes up on a few websites, but its IMDb listing is sparse, too.

Official synopsis: Ava is a mischievous young girl and martial arts student who really knows how to pack a punch! One day she meets Lala, a cuddly and kind creature, a cross between a tiger cub and a Teddy bear, and they discover they can talk to each other. She runs away from her village, and her home, to join Lala in a mystical kingdom of wonderful animals, all specially chosen to live there, safe from humans. They befriend a huge bear who has a heart of gold, Uncle Bear, who tells them that Lala must leave the kingdom in three days, before the fierce Tiger General finds out they’re there. If not, she’ll turn into an animal, herself. Uncle Bear is determined to help Ava escape, but they find out it’s not that easy, especially when the other animals discover that Lala has an extraordinary magical power. It seems a tattooed tiger wants to take over the universe and enslave all humans, transforming them into harmless animals. When Lala is captured, it’s up to Ava and Uncle Bear to rescue him in time to get Ava safely back home.

First off, the animation in this movie was great. I almost wish I could have seen it in 3D in the theater. It reminded me of a cross between Kung Fu Panda, as the characters in the movie were constantly in motion, and Despicable Me, because Ava looks a lot like one of the little girls in that movie.

The plot was a little all over the place, but the gist of it is that Ava runs away from home, and ends up meeting Lala - a liger (lion + tiger, and the most adorable liger EVER, in my opinion). Ava and Lala end up in a kingdom full of animals, but they find out that humans can only exist there for three days before turning INTO an animal. Lala must get Ava home, but before that, Lala runs into some trouble with the "Tiger General," who runs the kingdom.

credit: thatwassomething.com

The animal characters in this movie (all of whom could talk) were so cute. Ava and Lala managed to hold my attention more than most kids movies do, because the plot was intricate; kids will appreciate the colorful landscapes and varied animal characters, too.

I'd recommend this movie for kids 7 or 8+, as it's rated PG and not G. There's a lot of action, some of which includes mild violence, but overall the film has good themes about friendship and the value of family. Ava and Lala become fast friends, and they each "have each other's back" near the end of the movie, as well.

3 stars out of 5.
{click here to rent or buy Ava and Lala}


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