Sandcastle Studios’ “Jungle Beat: The Movie”, made in collaboration with Sunrise Productions, is a new animated film available on VOD starting this Friday, June 26th. It’s written and directed by Brent Dawes, who created the “Jungle Beat” TV series nearly 20 years. The show has been an international success for the past two decades and is now ready to expand the franchise with the feature-length movie.
One of the big positives of “JB:TM” is that this is a rare, major G-rated animated feature. They don’t come around too often these days. Usually, the MPAA gives-out PG ratings because of a little language or a little violence. In fact, there have only been a handful of narrative G movies I’ve seen and reviewed over the past several years – and most of them are in the animation genre: “Toy Story 4”, “Cars 3”, “The Peanuts Movie”, “Rio 2” and “Monsters University”.
I had the chance to interview Dawes, who feels it’s important to have “Jungle Beat” be appropriate for everyone: “One of the things we really tried to do is pick our lane and stay in it. We knew we weren’t trying to compete with the massive blockbusters. And we had no aspirations to try and be that. We knew what the brand was. We knew where we were targeting it, and we were like, “Okay, let’s be faithful to that. Let’s not try to be something we’re not.” And that’s one of the secrets for why it holds together so well. We let it be what it was meant to be.”
“Jungle Beat: The Movie” offers bright, colorful animal characters (who can now speak – a first for the franchise) and strong messages about acknowledging others for their strengths and that friendship is so much better than being alone. Munki, Trunk & Co. are curious about their new alien friend Fneep (who arrives looking to take over Earth). But they soon discover, and hope to bring-out, Fneep’s warmth and heart hidden deep inside.
Dawes: “I’m a father of four kids, and I’ve really paid attention… my oldest is now 15… from when he was starting to watch things. My wife and I really paid attention to what he watched. We wanted it to be wholesome and inspirational to them but also we’ve wanted to enjoy it as well. With parents of young kids, you end up watching what they watch. With “Jungle Beat”, I wanted to make something that parents would actually enjoy watching if they were watching it with their kids. But parents would also really appreciate that at the heart of it is a genuine kindness and acceptance of other people. It’s a genuine desire of mine that this brand is something that parents will look at it and say, “Jungle Beat – that’s safe.” And more than safe – it helps kids to actually believe the best in someone even if on the surface it feels like they shouldn’t.”
Be sure to check out the “Jungle Beat: The Movie” website for fun activities and Movie Night ideas.