‘King Shakir Recycle’ gives well-worn topic new life


By Lindsay Steele
Now Streaming Column

King Shakir Recycle (Grafi2000, Disney+)

Genre: Family, Animated

Streaming service: Disney+


Rating: TV-PG (cartoon violence)

Summary: Scientists trying to solve the environmental crisis of pollution devise a way to send the collected garbage into space via rocket ships. When this garbage starts to land on alien planets, the outraged aliens head to Earth for revenge. King Shakir and his family, who live on earth, do their best to protect the world from alien destruction.

Synopsis: “King Shakir” is a Turkish TV cartoon series following the adventures of Shakir and his friends and family. The series has tackled a range of sustainable development challenges including climate action, recycling, responsible consumption, gender equality, biodiversity and healthy lifestyles.

Disney+ released an English dub of this King Shakir theatrical release in January. While the production value is lacking in comparison to Disney originals, the producers at Grafi2000 found a way to take a well-worn topic and transform it into something new and exciting.

King Shakir Recycle features a fictional Earth inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. The film begins with a scholarly owl speaking to an anchor on a nationally broadcast news program. The owl warns that Earth will become uninhabitable unless people solve the problem of mass waste. He assumes people can’t be bothered to change their behaviors — the news anchor seems to be proof of this — so the “wise” owl proposes something else: shooting the trash into space. The next morning, “trash rockets” begin shooting refuse into space.

Months later, “King” Shakir (he isn’t royalty but he IS a lion cub) and his family receive a dire warning from a discarded robot that has returned to Earth to warn about an impending alien attack. The robot explains that the trash landed on planets inhabited by aliens — and they’re not too happy about it.

Shakir and his family brace themselves for the attack — but wait! The aliens aren’t actually the bad guys! I won’t spoil it for you, but at the end of the film — with 5,000 trash rockets hurtling toward Earth — Shakir and his sister, Canan, must make the ultimate ecological decision. Do they continue diverting the trash problem or accept the consequences and face it head on?

March 18 is Global Recycling Day. This Turkish animated film might not solve the world’s trash problem, but it might get your kids talking about care for creation, recycling and waste reduction.

Discussion questions:

As Catholics, we have a responsibility to care for creation. Where does recycling fit into that?

The owl believes that small changes among concerned individuals are not sufficient to create significant change. Do you agree or disagree?

What are some ways you can reduce waste in your home or workplace?

(Editor’s note: Lindsay Steele is a reporter for The Catholic Messenger. Contact her at steele@davenportdiocese.org or by phone at (563) 888-4248.)

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