Animals United (U) ***

Diane Keaton and Brendan Gleeson in Hampstead.

Cinema and TRAILER: Keaton brings the common touch to the Heath in tale of London life

Inspired by children's book The Animals' Conference, Reinhard Klooss and Holger Tappe's computer-animated safari marshals an army of creatures, great and small, to rouse mankind from its slumber about global warming and pollution.

There is nothing subtle about Oliver Huzly's screenplay, which loudly bangs the ecological drum.

Thankfully, the animals will not stand by as we destroy the planet.

Klooss and Tappe open with a whistle-stop tour of the globe, introducing their protagonists.

In the Arctic Ocean, a polar bear called Sushi (Bella Hudson) watches as the ice caps melt while in the galley of a passing ship, French rooster Charles (Andy Serkis) escapes from a knife-wielding chef.

On the Galapagos Islands, turtles Winston (Jim Broadbent) and Winifred (Vanessa Redgrave) celebrate their 714th wedding anniversary as an oil tanker runs aground, while in Australia, kangaroo Toby (Jason Donovan) and a Tasmanian devil called Smiley survive a bush fire.

This ragtag band of critters ends up in the Okavango Delta, where the local wildlife waits every year for the waters which nourish the valley.

When the deluge fails to materialise, Billy the forgetful meerkat (James Corden) and his best friend Socrates the lion (Stephen Fry) embark on a quest to find water and prove to Billy's son Junior (Mischa Goodman) that his old man is just as valiant as the larger animals.

En route, Billy and Socrates befriend the exiles from other continents and together they search for the source of the water that is the very lifeblood of the Kalahari Desert.

Animals United lacks the visual sophistication and breathtaking realism of Pixar and DreamWorks' recent animated offerings. Humour, what little there is, skews towards younger audiences including a protracted sequence in which Billy plays a version of golf with a ball of sun-hardened 'hyena poo poo'.

Vocal performances lack energy.

Back to the top of the page