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'The Wild' Offers Fun, but Familiar Territory

  • Dec 9, 2006
Rating:
+1
It is hard to criticize Disney's animated feature 'The Wild'. With so few G rated movies about, I would hate to even touch such a film. Nevertheless, 'The Wild' is a worthy adventure with a few entertaining moments that accentuate many elements of familiar film territory.

Ryan is a cub lion who suffers from an inferiority complex. He has yet to reach adolescence and his roar is just one notch above a kitten. His father, Samson, shares stories of his glory days with yarns that recall an earlier life outside the confines of the zoo. They have their share of friends, including the independent female giraffe, and, uniquely, a squirrel who has one of the oddest crushes in movie memory. There's a goofy python and a koala bear, who seems more like an English twit than a rugged Aussie. There's a lot of random slapstick that doesn't add up to much, until the moody lion cub goes off on his own and needs a place besides a tree to have some quiet time. He ends up in the back of a truck where he sleeps until morning. Then, his father and others discover to their horror that he's being shipped back to "the wild". They make it their mission to help the father and end up on the jungle island where they are outnumbered by some frightening wildebeasts trying to bridge their stature in the food chain. There's also a volcano that works like a ticking time-bomb.

Clocking in at just less than an hour and a half, 'The Wild' has enough character--or at least characterization--and a fun enough story to be a worthy viewing adventure. I take exception to two key elements from the 'Star Wars' franchise, however: One is a very familiar scene in a garbage truck where the giraffe is a key player, and the other is where the koala is made king of the wildebeasts, a little more than remiscent of C3-PO in 'Return of the Jedi'. Otherwise, despite some random hijinx that doesn't integrate as well as 'Over the Hedge' and slapstick that is inserted haphazardly, 'The Wild' is a fine, family film that won't bore adults.

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More The Wild reviews
review by . September 05, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
More Fluff than Substance
   The talking-animal genre of the computer-generated animation scene is more than a staple, it’s an empire.  And while names like Open Season, Over the Hedge, and Madagascar have earned their fair share of attention, don’t count Disney out when it comes to the concept of realizing a potential market.      At 94-minutes, The Wild is actually one of the lengthier animated features on the market.  The plot, while in no danger of being mistaken …
review by . November 01, 2008
Chorus:   A little Madagascar   A little Lion King   A little Finding Nemo   Not enough of anything     Lion, Giraffe, Koala, Snake   A squirrel they call Benny   I asked my son which one he liked   He said to me "Not any!"     Escaping from the NY Zoo   Inside a garbage truck   I begged my son to watch this one   But sad to say - no luck     Repeat …
review by . January 24, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
In THE WILD, Ryan (Greg Cipes) is a young lion who lives in a New York City zoo with his father Samson (Keifer Sutherland). Fueled by stories of his father's adventurous youth, Ryan yearns to leave the zoo and travel to the wild to live the way his father lived. The trouble is that Samson is a creature born in captivity and only told Ryan those stories to keep him interested and make him proud of Dad. After a bitter dispute between father and son and purposefully disobedience, Ryan finds himself …
review by . October 17, 2006
I really enjoyed "The Wild," but I watched it feeling as if something was missing. It lacked the magic that I've come to expect in Disney's theatrical releases. Unlike "The Lion King" and "Cinderella," it lacked the "epic" aspect. Where "Hercules" and "The Emperor's New Groove" were laugh-out-loud funny, "The Wild" came across as a lukewarm comedy. It has a wonderful cast of voices including Kiefer Sutherland (who has the warm, fatherly voice downpat), Jim Belushi, Eddie Izzard (who almost steals …
review by . September 19, 2006
I wanted to see this movie since the day it came out but lost the chance like some others. I wanted to see it for Eddie Izzard and for the fact that Madagascar stole their idea and got their film out first. How is this film going to be any different from Madagascar? Disney and Dream Works are in direct competition. The Wild was in production for quite sometime due to the fallout of Pixar and the discovery of a new animation team to finish the film. It just so happens that Madagascar was rushed and …
About the reviewer
John L. Peterson ()
Ranked #100
I am a substitute teacher who enjoysonline reviewing. Skiing is my favorite pastime; weight training and health are my obsessions;and music and movies feed my psyche. Books are a treasure and a pleasure … more
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A cuddly koala who wants to be fierce, a squirrel in love with a sarcastic giraffe, an addle-pated anaconda, and a lion with a secret set off from their cozy zoo to rescue the lion's adolescent cub from an accidental kidnapping. After braving the dangers of the big city and stealing a boat, they find themselves in the African jungle, where a renegade herd of wildebeest have decided they want to change their position on the food chain (understandable, really).The Wildis hodgepodge--it's never clear why these mismatched creatures are friends and plot elements seem haphazardly plucked fromFinding Nemo,Madagascar, andIce Age: The Meltdown(though the latter two were made at the same time asThe Wild, so it's just unfortunate for this movie that they came out first). Despite a general air of manic desperation,The Wilddoes have its strengths: The animation is richly realistic, leading to some gorgeous depictions of light (not exactly a selling point for kids, but adults can appreciate it). Several characters pop out--a pair of sewer crocodiles sound like NPR's Car Talk guys; William Shatner (Star Trek,Boston Legal) is effectively scary as the cult-leader/choreographer of the wildebeest; and comedian Eddie Izzard lends some of his trademark smart and silly humor to Nigel, the disgruntled koala bear. Successful bits and pieces don't make for a great movie, but they keepThe Wildfrom the brink of disaster.--Bret Fetzer
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