Back to the Outback is a sweet story with a pleasantly surprising ending



The movie poster for Back to the Outback featuring all the main characters

I am still very much a child at heart; there’s no doubt that I’d choose to watch movies or TV shows that stray far away from the horror or sci-fi genres. Disney movies, cheesy Netflix comedies, and other comfort shows are much more my speed.

That being said, over winter break, many of my nights were treated as movie nights where my family and I would claim a comfy spot on the couch and the fireplace would be melting warmth into the room. Once Christmas was over and our marathon of solely watching Christmas movies came to an end, we explored new options. 

The preview screen on Netflix showcased the movie Back to the Outback started playing, and I was very hesitant at first to go any further than that once I had seen that the movie was rated PG. I usually don’t go immediately for a PG-rated movie, but I wasn’t really opposed to the idea as I was just looking for something light and comforting to watch. 

Back to the Outback proved to be just that. 

Ignoring the overall predictable–but loveable–plot, it was a cute, feel-good animated movie. 

Taking place in an Australian zoo, the movie highlights the redundant life of four “ugly” animals who feel that their only job at the zoo is to be gawked at and how the zoo has intentions of using them to amaze and revolt guests, making them marvel at their “ugly” features. Maddie the snake (Isla Fisher), Zoe the thorny devil (Miranda Tapsell), Frank the funnel-web spider (Guy Pearce), and Nigel the scorpion (Angus Imrie) have heard tales of the wild outback of Australia and desire to live a life apart from their cages in the zoo. 

You could probably guess what happens next–the animals get tired of this life and vow to escape the zoo. 

The lengthy journey gets a little tiring for the viewer, but there are plenty of meticulous plot twists and interruptions that make it worth the view. 

The lengthy journey gets a little tiring for the viewer, but there are plenty of meticulous plot twists and interruptions that make it worth the view. 

Throughout the film, the animals wrestle with the idea of being ugly versus being adorable–like their accidental tagalong, Pretty Boy the koala (Tim Minchin) who is known all over Australia for his cuteness–and come to the realization that they are not ugly, but beautiful in their own ways. Yes, that is about as cheesy as it can get, but really, all the other elements far outweigh that obvious theme. 

Going into the movie, I really wasn’t expecting to be impressed; I thought I’d end up scrolling on my phone by the second scene while the movie plays as background noise. But ultimately, I was enraptured by the warm plot and amused by the events that took place. 

My favorite part was probably the end because the movie revealed a detail that I don’t think anyone would’ve expected. It rounded out the movie very well and was a sweet way to tie it all in. I won’t give it away–you’ll have to see for yourself. 

Definitely don’t give this movie too much thought if you’re looking for something thrilling or suspenseful for your next movie night, but if you’re going for a movie that brings comfort and is filled with lighthearted elements, I say Back to the Outback should be on that list.