This is the story of a fierce and adventurous 13-year-old girl called Ainbo (voice of Lola Raie). Ainbo lives deep in the Amazon rainforest, but she’s a little different from the rest of the tribe. She was orphaned as a young child and grew up in the home of the chieftain, along with her adopted sister and best friend Zumi (voice of Naomi Serrano).
One day, Ainbo discovers that her tribe is in danger. Not only are they threatened by the evil spirit Yacuruna, but their habitat is being destroyed by logging and illegal mining. Together with her comical animal spirit guides – an armadillo called Dillo (voice of Dino Andrade) and a tapir called Vaca (voice of Joe Hernandez) – Ainbo sets out to save her tribe.
It’s a perilous adventure that brings Ainbo face to face with the ancient spirits of the Amazon, her long-lost parents, and the evil forces that seek to destroy them all.
Indigenous knowledge; colonialism and invasion; environmental destruction; supernatural elements; nature; magic; orphans; death; greed
Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon has some violence. For example:
- In several scenes, Ainbo and Zumi (both teenage girls) are intimidated physically and verbally by large adult men. In one scene Antok (a warrior from Ainbo’s tribe) captures Ainbo and ties her up. In another scene, Zumi is put under a spell that makes her appear drugged. She’s taken away by the evil logging CEO.
- Ainbo uses a bow and arrow and must shoot someone to release evil spirits.
- Ainbo slaps her friend the armadillo across the face.
Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon has some romantic references. For example:
- There is a complicated romantic history between Antok, a tribal warrior, Lizeni (Ainbo’s mother) and a white man called Will. Antok describes how he was overcome with jealousy and anger when Lizeni fell in love with Will, because he thought that Lizeni should belong to him.
- Will and Lizeni embrace.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There is no use of substances in Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon.
Nudity and sexual activity
There is no nudity or sexual activity in Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon. But some of the animated characters are highly feminised – for example, they have exaggerated curves with unrealistically small waists. And some of them are highly masculinised – for example, they have large, broad shoulders.
There’s no product placement in Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon.
There are some very mild insults in Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon, including ‘stupid’.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon is an animated adventure that’s told from an Indigenous perspective and features Amazonian rainforest folklore.
The plot does get a little confusing, and there are mixed messages about colonialism and destruction of the rainforest. For example, the movie suggests that evil spirits – and not just greed – explain the bad behaviour of industries that are exploiting natural resources and Indigenous land. This tends to deflect their responsibility. The graphics are colourful and engaging but also a little stilted, like a video game, rather than a feature movie.
The complex storylines and scary scenes mean that Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon is best suited to children aged over 8 years.
The main message from Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon is that our connections to nature and communities give us strength and protect us.
Values in Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon that parents you could reinforce with your children include:
- protecting the environment and natural resources from exploitation
- being brave and independent.
Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like the:
- effects of colonialism and capitalism on indigenous populations around the world.
- damaging consequences of logging and mining in the Amazon and other important ecosystems.