The Wild

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Starring: Kiefer Sutherland, John Cleese, William Shatner, Janeane Garafalo
Directed By: Steve “Spaz” Williams
Rated: G (not Gee as in “Gee This looks like Madagascar!)
Review Posted: April 29th 2006

Final Grade:

As I looked back on my review of a similar film, Madagascar, I noticed that I gave the film a B for a grade. I have since seen the film and realize while I did enjoy it and it was a great kids movie, It was good for a one time view. I don’t want to see it again. Therefore, I’d like to lay claim now that those pesky penguins skewed my view of the movie the first time around. Aside from them, Madagascar was fun, but just barely treads “B grade” territory.

And now for what you all have been waiting for, my review of the new Disney Animated film, “The Wild.” The film has been hailed by critics as “Badagascar” and worse calling it a low blow by Disney, trying to rip off Dreamworks. What many people and critics fail to realize or note in their reviews, both projects were in progress at the same time. The Wild is being called a rip off because Dreamworks beat Disney to the punchline and released their zoo animal adventure film before Disney had completed theirs. Had it been the other way around, Those critics viewpoints would have been singing a different tune.

The Wild is the tale of a Zoo Lion, Samson (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland), and his young cub named Ryan. Ryan hasn’t grown into is “roar” yet and so he is mocked by the other zoo animals for not being able to someday fill the shoes of his father, the king of the beasts. Ryan decides in order to find his roar, he should run away and ends up trying to stow away on a cargo ship to Africa. Samson and his friends, a Koala bear (John Cleese), a snake, a Giraffe and a squirrel find their way to the wild as well, trying to save Ryan and bring him back to the zoo.

I think what I really liked about The Wild was it was a visual treat. Unlike Madagascar where the animals looked blocky, cartoonish and at times amateurish, Disney took extra time to give the animals realistic features yet still giving them lovable features. Details were important to the production of this film. They took the time to make fur and facial features look realistic, and technical geeks can drool at the way the fur blows in the wind and at times how realistic the backgrounds and jungle looks. However, truth be told, kids don’t notice that and the early bird catches the worm, so despite looking great, Madagascar is going to have the one up on this film.

The film also pulls in a ton of talent for the voices of their zoo flick. The always intense sounding Kiefer Sutherland does an outstanding job as the in control, commanding king of the beasts. Co staring with him was John Cleese who plays a lovable, yet Stuffy British Koala bear. Cleese does a fantastic job of bringing the little lovable bear to life. Also lending their voices to the project are actors, Janeane Garafalo, William Shatner, Jim Beluchi, and Eddie Izzard each creating some eclectic, memorable characters.

The story is something we have seen before (a la Madagascar again) but it has enough noticeable differences to make it just different enough to not feel redundant. The tale has a good message behind it and does a nice job of entertaining kids for a few hours. There are a couple of adult themed jokes in there as well for those of us who enjoy watching movies with the wee ones as a way to pass the time. All in all, it’s a solid film.
All in all, I can find myself easily falling in love with this film. It’s fun, lighthearted fun for the whole family and visually the film looks great. It has a great cast, colorful cast and a great story. You can break the cycle of the old phrase, “The Early Bird Catches the Worm.” Go check out The Wild in theaters or pick up a copy for your family on DVD. Show them that the phrase “Good Things come to those who wait” is also still true.

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