61Gg16goZnL._SL160_“Welcome to your new home. Tomorrow you will become one of us. Until then, stay safe.”

The animated film Ava & Lala turns out to follow the GU archetype fairly closely, although I wasn’t sure at first, as the protagonist Ava is somewhat purposeless and annoying in the beginning. (I would have been more convinced had I seen the tagline on the DVD cover, which references Wizard of Oz – a sure sign of a GU story is referencing another GU story!)

Ava is a bit of a troublemaker for her single father. One day, she follows a strange looking cat (actually a liger named Lala) into the belly of a flying whale that has magically appeared, and is whisked off to Cloud Land with a bunch of other animals. There, an evil tiger is set on finding the “anointed one” whose power he will subvert to destroy the human world (he also has a fox minion). Ava is told that if she stays in Cloud Land for three days, she will become an animal herself.

At first she just explores and has fun and causes trouble, but as things progress (and as she accumulates both companions and enemies), she begins to pursue not one but several typical GU goals – she decides she wants to get home again, she must save one of her companions (who turns out to be the anointed one), she must save humanity from the adversary’s plans, and she must not lose herself in animal form.

When she risks her own wellbeing to rescue her friend (facing the adversary alone in the process), she manages to save the day and herself.

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