BEAST OF BURDEN: Mosley’s son, Rue, is voiced by Leah Atkins.

WRITER-animator Kirby-Atkins’ long-time project is brought to life through collaboration between New Zealand’s Huhu Studios and China Film Animation.

While cute, this story starts out with something of a sad, Orwellian, Animal Farm vibe, which could be upsetting for some.

However, it soon drifts into an otherworldly fantasy adventure, which leaves the viewer on a high note.

The adventure centres around a fictional species called thoriphants – which looks like a cross between an elephant and a goat, but has the intelligence and speech of a human.

The thoriphants are cruelly enslaved by humanity as beasts of burden. Our hero, Mosley, discovers a cave with drawings of thoriphants who stand upright and have hands. He escapes his owner to explore the cave further and meets up with a trio of characters who take him on a mission to find an army to rescue the other thoriphants.

Meanwhile, Temuera Morrison voices the villain in his second children’s movie these holidays, as Warfield, a tracker and thoriphant hunter on Mosley’s trail.

Lucy Lawless, John Rhys-Davies, Rhys Darby, Atkins and his daughter Leah add further Kiwi voices to the mix.

The story carries some sort of moral about standing tall, though I felt it was a little too vague to really warrant the sadness and cruelty of the early scenes for such a young audience.