Ava & Lala on DVD
by Phil Boatwright

Entertainment: +3
Content: -2

Available on DVD 10/7/14 from Arc Entertainment. 80 min. Tom Arnold, JK Simmons, Mira Sorvino, George Takei. Animated adventure. Rated PG

FILM 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.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I’m mixed. I did find this kid-toon creative, and I think the age range it’s aimed at will be pleased with its adventure and the engrossing imagery. That said, I found it a bit too violent. Oh, the action is handled within the PG limits, but my question is, aren’t kids of in that age range being bombarded by constant battling in their cartoons? Some of this action is downright scary.

No other reviewers seem to mind the violent excesses. It was even given a seal of approval by an organization that normally considers itself the official content detective.

The messages worth noting concern self-sacrifice and friendship. But the Eastern Philosophy interwoven within the production may frustrate parents who think this DVD is faith-based. It isn’t. The characters are seeking the “anointed” one, but we soon find this chosen leader to be in need of saving, himself. The martial arts battles and the Asian mystic who quotes Kung Fu-isms give the production a strong sense of Buddhist ideology.