The Wild

The Wild


Reviewed by: Sobhano

Hot on the heels of DreamWorks' animated hit Madagascar comes Disney's lame imitation. While Madagascar's exaggerated 2-D CGI was not in the same class as Finding Nemo, or Toy Story, at least it had an inventive edge. The Wild's sepia-toned cuddly toy fur effects lend the whole enterprise a soft underbelly that even the best efforts of the (actually well spoken) voice cast (Kiefer Sutherland, Eddie Izzard, William Shatner at al) fail to overcome.

Let's start at the beginning.

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Hey - it's New York Zoo! Why? - looks just like the New York Zoo in Madawhatsit. I'm getting to know the place quite well now. With all those animals to choose from I wonder why the main character is always a lion. It does make it easier to wrap a lot of references to The Lion King and The Wizard Of Oz (see under "lion" and "courage - lack of"). Sidekick/travelling companion is usually a giraffe - plenty of slapstick opportunities with bendy neck and chase scenes in awkwardly sized vehicles.

So far, so Madagascar.

After being introduced to a menagerie of eccentric, basically cheerful Bronx furry things, who whoop it up at night as soon as the paying public departs, we are quickly hoisted aboard another plot trail with remarkable similarities to the aforementioned Mad. For "animals in packing crates ditched on desert island" read "animals on tugboat chasing animal in crate to be ditched on desert island."

And so it goes on.

The main protagonist of this familiar tale is Ryan, an extremely annoying preteen lion cub, whose voice hasn't broken. Samson, his dad, has a nice roar on him, but an invented past. Nemo-like, he plunges after his progeny, who, after a prolonged sulk, has gone AWOL before being crated and shipped out. When the rescue party arrives on the island, Samson discovers his nerves fraying after too many comfy years in the simulated surrounds of a well-tended zoological garden.

To wrap up this schmaltzy tale, we must first rescue a power-crazed koala bear (Izzard on vocals) from the clutches of a psychotic tribe of wildebeests - yes, I know it's absurd. Ryan must find his roar and Samson his courage. And they all must find the tugboat to get off the island before the volcano explodes...

The reality of The Wild turns out to a dreary, cynical exercise in the marketing of cuddly toys.

Reviewed on: 26 May 2006
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The Wild packshot
Zoo animals escape to the wilds.
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Director: Steve Williams

Writer: Ed Decter, Mark Gibson, Philip Halprin, John J. Strauss

Starring: voices of Kiefer Sutherland, James Belushi, Eddie Izzard, Janeane Garofalo, William Shatner, Richard Kind, Greg Cipes, Colin Hay, Miles Matsico, Jack De Sena

Year: 2006

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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