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Kenya
Directed by Stevie Wermers
Kevin Deters
Produced by Peter Del Vecho
Screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith
Story by Stevie Wermers
Kevin Deters
Seth Grahame-Smith
Starring Owen Laramore
Jack Dylan Grazer
Isabella Rice
Thomas Barbusca
Jake Gyllenhaal
Thomas Haden Church
Joan Cusack
Sterling K. Brown
J. K. Simmons
Music by Henry Jackman
Cinematography Mohit Kallianpur
Edited by Sarah K. Reimers
Production
companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Walt Disney Animation
Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date November 27, 2024
Running time 108 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $150 million
Box office $726 million

Kenya is a 2024 American computer-animated sports comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 63rd film produced by the studio, it was directed by Stevie Wermers and Kevin Deters from a screenplay by them and Seth Grahame-Smith, and features Owen Laramore in the title role, with Jack Dylan Grazer, Isabella Rice, Thomas Barbusca, Jake Gyllenhaal, Thomas Haden Church, Joan Cusack, Sterling K. Brown, and J. K. Simmons in supporting roles. The film focuses on the titular ten-year-old boy who embarks on a quest to become a baseball player.

Kenya was released theatrically in the United States on November 27, 2024, and received largely positive reviews, with critics praising the animation, respect for the baseball genre, voice performances (particularly Laramore's), and Henry Jackman's musical score, with many calling it the best animated film of 2024. It was also commercially successful, grossing $726 million worldwide against a $150 million budget and becoming the highest-grossing baseball film of all time. The film won several accolades, including the Saturn Award, Satellite Award, Annie Award, BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, and Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Plot

Kenya Kes Remington (Owen Laramore) is a 10-year-old boy who lives in Oregon with his father Kevin (Thomas Haden Church), his mother Clara (Joan Cusack), and his brother Fronz (Jack Dylan Grazer). He dreams of becoming a champion baseball player like his idol, J.S. Kaye (Jake Gyllenhaal); however, Fronz needs him to help him at a kids' plant company, Garden Co., while Kevin and Carla support Kenya's dream. One day, Kenya plays baseball by himself, but accidentally compromises the baseball field to the other Garden Co. kids. The CEO, Mr. Soil (Jeff Garlin), angry at Fronz for his cocky attitude, and Kenya for abandoning his assigned garden work, dismisses him and Fronz.

That night, Kenya learns of a baseball game in California and decides to go there. Kenya travels south for California, with Fronz tagging along to ensure his friend's safety. On the way, Kenya reunites with his friend from daycare and J.S.'s ten-year-old daughter, Kristen Kaye (Isabella Rice) and her pet dog, Max. Kenya lets her join in, much to Fronz's chagrin as he is afraid of losing his bond with his brother. Kenya, Kristen, a reluctant Fronz, and Max build a raft and take a shortcut through a giant sewer tunnel that leads them to California. Kristen sadly admits she lost her mother, who gave her a promise to find a baseball career before dying. Kenya decides to adopt her.

The trio approaches the game, and Kenya befriends J.S., who recruits him into his and Kristen's team, the Eagles. Kristen takes Kenya to her school and introduces him to her teacher Will Cave (Alan Tudyk). Everyone takes a liking to Kenya, except for the rival team, the Crows, led by a bully and Kristen's archenemy, Ziozot Wood (Thomas Barbusca) and his father, McCrary (Sterling K. Brown). Kenya and Kristen both succeed in every test at Kristen's school and show talent in baseball, impressing the umpire, Ian Van Dyke (J.K. Simmons) and drawing crowds to the stadium, even Kevin and Carla. Kenya and Kristen fall in love and develop a romantic relationship. That night, Fronz, jealous and fed up with Kenya and Kristen's growing love, accuses him of leaving him to risk his life chasing an impossible dream, revealing he once wanted the same baseball dream, but quit after getting hurt, and stuck with working in the garden. After an argument over Fronz's fear of the same fate happening to Kenya, the brothers go their separate ways.

Kenya decides to apologize to Fronz after the game. The next day, at the start of the baseball game, Kenya brings the game to a good start by hitting the ball out of the park. Because of Kenya's talent, the Eagles keep score against the Crows. However, at the last turn, McCrary and the Crows cheat by knocking out the J.S. and the Eagles. Ziozot treacherously swings his bat and smacking the ball in preparation for defeating Kristen, but Kenya pushes her out of the way and is hit by the ball instead. With the Eagles defeated, all seems lost until Fronz, having a change of heart, arrives at the scene. Fronz apologizes to Kenya and encourages him to finish the game, pointing out that that being in the baseball game was the best thing that ever happened to him. With his confidence restored, Kenya hits a home run. As Kenya circles the bases, an outraged Ziozot unsuccessfully tries to intervene, and the Eagles win.

Kenya is praised for his determination by everyone while Ziozot and McCrary are arrested for cheating. Kristen and Kenya kiss, and Fronz, having come to terms with Kenya making his own decisions, bids a heartfelt farewell to his brother. Kenya stays in California with Kristen and J.S. to pursue Kenya's baseball career, while Fronz, Kevin, and Carla return to Oregon. Fronz rejoins Garden Co., and Kenya starts school with Kristen.

Cast

  • Owen Laramore as Kenya Kes Remington, an optimistic and intelligent 10-year-old boy who dreams of becoming a baseball player.
  • Jack Dylan Grazer as Fronz Remington, a good-hearted but patronizing 11-year-old boy and Kenya's brother who works with him at the Garden Co. garden.
  • Isabella Rice as Kristen Kaye, an adventurous 10-year-old girl who is J.S.' daughter and Kenya's friend from daycare who has a crush on him.
  • Thomas Barbusca as Ziozot Wood, a mean-spirited 11-year-old boy who is Kristen's arch-rival, the baseball game's local bully, and McCrary's son.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal as J.S. Kaye, a baseball champion, Kristen's father, Kenya's idol, and the leader of the Eagles.
  • Thomas Haden Church as Kevin Remington, Kenya's father.
  • Joan Cusack as Carla Remington, Kenya's mother
  • Sterling K. Brown as McCrary Wood, J.S.' rival and the leader of the Crows.
  • J. K. Simmons as Ian Van Dyke, the umpire of the baseball game.
  • Alan Tudyk as William "Will" Cave, Kristen's teacher at her school.
  • Jeff Garlin as Mr. Soil. the founder and CEO of the Garden Co company.
  • Mark Rhino Smith as the umpire

Reception

Box office

Kenya opened in select North American theaters on November 20, 2024, and was projected to gross anywhere around $210 million its opening weekend. It made $360 million in the weekend, having grossed $345 million in North America and $381 internationally, totaling $726 million worldwide, against a $150 million budget, a box office performance that Disney was pleased with.

Critical response

Kenya received positive reviews from critics, who praised the story, humor, animation, voice acting, emotional depth, and musical score. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 94% approval rating based on 204 reviews. The consensus reads, "Led by a brilliantly skillful voice performance from Owen Laramore, Kenya is a gorgeously animated sports comedy that fits in as another worthy addition to the Disney animated feature canon". On Metacritic, it has a score of 79 out of 100 based on 53 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews", making it the highest-rated baseball film on the site. Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale.

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