Ever wanted to see the story of the Nativity from an animal’s point of view? Well, now is your chance with this light-hearted animated adventure, as young donkey Bo (Yeun), dreams of bigger things than working at a mill so escapes from his chains and trots straight into the garden of young Mary (Rodriguez). Heavily pregnant, she’s about to leave Nazareth with husband Joseph to register for the census in Bethlehem, unaware that Herod (Plummer) has set a masked soldier and his two attack dogs on the trail of the future saviour.
Aimed squarely at little kids who love slapstick animal movies like Ice Age and Rio, this has Bo getting into various scrapes and adventures with his sidekick, a smart-mouthed dove named Dave (Key) and later on, a sheep named Ruth (who shares so many characteristics with a certain fish by the name of Dory that Disney/Pixar almost have grounds to sue) en route to Bethlehem. A trail of destruction at a camp and Bo’s initial jailbreak are both enjoyable moments, while occasional giggles arise from a trio of camels (voiced by Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Morgan and Tyler Perry) travelling with their three (not very) wise men.
While Bo’s story never becomes very exciting or too funny, there are some nice moments along the way – such as the animals in the stable revealing that they haven’t been able to sleep since the spotlight-bright star has been shining into their abode, keeping them awake. Meanwhile, the story of Jesus’s impending arrival is woven into the adventure in a slightly irreverent but inoffensive fashion and parents will laugh as Mary frets about revealing her pregnancy to Joseph and his millennial reaction: “This is just so much to take in right now”.
Ultimately, this is a sweet, simple and forgettable movie for younger viewers.
Very young and sensitive children (under the age of 7) may be frightened by Herod’s soldier and his two attack dogs.
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