Back to the Outback Review: Escape for Freedom and Acceptance


Entertaining and has a positive message even though the script does not present much new things.

Back to the Outback” (2021) is the latest animated feature to be released later this year. This animation, directed by Claire Knight and Harry Crips, is made in a computer-animated style with a touch of adventure and comedy. A number of well-known actors were involved as voice actors, ranging from Guy Pearson, Isla Fisher, to Eric Bana and Jackie Weaver.

This film is about four reptiles who run away from a zoo because they are treated unfairly. They are placed in glass cages with minimal facilities, and are often shown to the public as wild animals. In fact, each of them had traits that were far from dangerous.

Outback becomes a destination, where the place is often told by the figure of the crocodile who became their mother, Jackie (Jacki Weaver). At Outback, they hope to find a place where they can be free and accepted as they are. Not only the four of them, they went there with Pretty Boy (Tim Minchin), a spoiled koala who had to be taken away due to an incident.

From the script department, “Back to the Outback” does not present much new. The story idea and adventure presentation feels like another version of “Madagascar” (2005). This film also has the same moral message as “Finding Nemo” (2003), which is to never judge something from the outside.

Even so, that doesn’t mean “Back to the Outback” isn’t worth watching, because there are still interesting things in this film. The adventure presentation is comfortable to follow thanks to the flowing storytelling, excellent visual effects, and a series of soundtracks curated by Rupert Gregson-Williams. Unfortunately, the adventure element in this film is not matched by the comedy, which tends to be hit and miss.

The moral of this film is indeed the same as “Finding Nemo”. However, “Back to the Outback” has something else that is not explored in the film, namely the presence of women as the central figure in the film. “Finding Nemo” does have Dori, but that character is only a supporting role.

There are two female characters who are central figures in the film “Back to the Outback”, namely Jackie and Maddie (Isla Fisher). Both were successfully shown as leaders with their respective roles. Thanks to both of them, “Back to the Outback” was awarded The ReFrame Stamp for the “Narrative and Animated Feature” category. For those who don’t know, The Reframe Stamp is an award for films that raise the issue of gender equality and make women the main characters.

The lineup of voice actors who are mostly famous names are able to fill the voices of each character. Isla Fisher is able to make Maddie a kind-hearted venomous snake through her cheerful voice. The Minchin team managed to make Pretty Boy a koala who looks cute but arrogant through his arrogant and annoying voice.

Chaz the zoo owner who looks authoritative but is actually clumsy and was successfully brought by Eric Bana with the duality of his voice. Eric knows when to bring out his character’s authoritative voice, as well as his character’s lousy, original voice.

Guy Pearce and Keith Urban were able to make Frank and Doug as comic reliefs in this film thanks to their jokes. Don’t forget Jacki Weaver, who made Jackie a motherly and cute female alligator. Only Kylie Minogue who appeared less than optimal when filling the voice of Susan.

Even though it doesn’t present much new in the script department, “Back to the Outback” is at least able to entertain and at the same time give a positive message to the audience. This computer-animated film can be watched on Netflix.