Back to the Outback

These deadly Australian creatures are cuter than this lame script, weak jokes, and annoying koala.

Pretty much the only reason why I would review the animated “Back to the Outback” on Netflix is because of its four deadly Australian creatures, who are cuter than anything else in the actual movie. It’s basically like “Madagascar” or “Homeward Bound,” but without an appeal for adults. This one is more for little kids, who would enjoy a koala getting covered in crap or a human accidentally drinking urine. But to me, there’s nothing really special or original about “Back to the Outback.”

The four deadly animals are the snake Maddie (voiced by Isla Fisher), the cutest of the bunch, who is always feared by everyone at the Australian zoo; the funnel web spider Frank (voiced by Guy Pearce), who dances, because it’s mating season for him; the sensitive scorpion Nigel (voiced by Angus Imrie), who uses a leave to calm him down; and the thorny devil Zoe (voiced by Miranda Tapsell), who knows how to escape from her cage.

Their mother figure is the crocodile Jackie (voiced by Jacki Weaver), who was taken away from the zoo, because the zookeeper Chaz (voiced by Eric Bana) thinks she was trying to eat his son, when really she was trying to save him from drowning. Of course, they can’t understand each other. I’ve seen this cliche so many times.

Despite this little issue, she inspires Maddie to recruit her friends to travel back home to the outback, where they would be accepted. To survive in the human world, they must say the password for the Ugly Secret Society (USS), whose creature members (sharks, spiders, etc.) can get them out of any danger.

Their weakness, and mine as well, is the zoo’s cutest koala Pretty Boy (voiced by Tim Minchin), who is loved by everyone at the zoo that he thinks he can pick on Maddie and her friends. They had to bring him along, because he tried to get their escape plan exposed to the zookeeper, and Nigel has to paralyze him to shut up. All he does, throughout the journey, is complain and insult them. Will this guy shut up? And he eventually does warm up to them, but I’m not that convinced.

There’s nothing more to say about “Back to the Outback,” other than its lack of originality and humor. I’m still distracted by how cute the snake is and how Fisher uses her accent for her, but I wish she was in another movie. The story is lame, especially when Chaz lies to his son about being the wildlife hunter, when really he’s a loser from Tampa, Florida, and before he finds out the truth, the boy recruits him to track down the animal escapees.

If you’ve seen “Madagascar” or “Homeward Bound,” then you’re not seeing much. And if you want a better animated film with a koala, “Sing 2” opens everywhere December 21, and I’m glad I got a special look at it, before I saw this animated nuisance. It’s not a G’Day mate.

Rating: 2 out of 4.

Streaming on Netflix This Friday

Categories: Adventure, Animation, comedy, Family

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