Riki the Rhino Image

Riki the Rhino

By Benjamin Franz | November 2, 2022

Animated jungle adventures have been a thing since 1967’s The Jungle Book. However, tales of animals and humans cavorting in the rainforests of Asia have abounded since then. The latest entry I have had the pleasure of reviewing is Riki the Rhino, directed by Erwin Budiono. A basic fable of learning compassion for others, this CGI-animated film is geared toward young children. The animation is soft, with bright, vibrant colors. The environments are about as well crafted as any CGI environments viewed in PBS’ animated offerings.

In Riki the Rhino, the titular Riki (Jennifer Castle/Hamish Daud) loses his horn to Mr. Jak (Zack Lee), a poacher who meant to take Riki’s entire head. Aided by his best friend Beni (GE Pakmungas/Paul Reynolds), a duck, the rhino receives a replacement horn filled with all of Beni’s feathers. They then embark on a quest to provide Riki with an authentic replacement horn. Along the way, Riki and Beni encounter a great many fellow jungle critters in need of assistance. Helping them grants Riki all sorts of abilities.

From aiding tigers against poachers to assisting elephants afflicted with a poisoned pineapple, Riki experiences many adventures which enable him to expand his worldview beyond his self-centered needs. Screenwriters Cassandra Massandri, Jony Yuwono, and Tim Clague teach young viewers a great lesson about learning to help others in need. While we are all selfish creatures and principally concerned with our survival, it’s good to provide help to others in need. At the very least, they might turn around and help you, as several do for Riki.

“…Riki and Beni encounter a great many fellow jungle critters in need of assistance.”

The actors are well selected for an animated film geared toward young children. Everyone uses soft, brightly tilted voices. The roles on display are all geared towards gently educating the audience on how to be a good person. This is an earnest production. While I can certainly appreciate the values and messages the film wishes to impart to its audience, I must admit I am not the audience for this.

Riki the Rhino is perfect for my 6-year-old niece and her brother, my 2-year-old nephew. They would take quite a lot of good lessons away from this production, and the animation style is so basic it would not terrify them or give them nightmares, which has been known to have occurred even with Disney films. For the parents in the audience, this will be a little droll and will likely bore them slightly. While the film aspires to Looney Tunes quality humor, it does not quite hit that hallowed mark. However, if you, as an adult, can enjoy corny jokes, then a moderately good time will be had while your child devours this.

If you need a 90-minute film to entertain your 6-year-olds (or younger), seek out Riki the Rhino. This Indonesian production will give your child a clear sense of what animals exist in that region’s rainforests, from rhinos to ducks to komodo dragons. It will also teach some quality lessons about the value of helping other people out and the good things that come to you when you do.

Riki the Rhino (2022)

Directed: Erwin Budiono

Written: Cassandra Massandri, Jony Yuwono, Tim Clague

Starring: Hamish Daud, Jennifer Castle, GE Pakmungas, Paul Reynolds, Zack Lee, etc.

Movie score: 7/10

Riki the Rhino Image

"…the animation is soft, with bright, vibrant colors."

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