The Wild is the story of a lion and his cub, kind of like The Lion King. Well, the cub is living in his father’s shadow, like The Lion King, only they live in the zoo, sort of like Madagascar. The poor cub, under the societal pressures of his life runs away from the New York Zoo and ends up getting shipped to Africa, like in Madagascar. So the lion and friends, (which included a giraffe like in Madagascar) set off on a rescue mission. They come to find out that the wildebeests from The Lion King have accidentally become the kings of the wild and even though they are diurnal herbivores, just for the sake of ambiance, have taken up residence inside a volcano. I don’t know why they live there, but they do and like to dance. Surprisingly enough, it looks just like the hyena caves in The Lion King.
For my tastes, The Wild is poorly written with very little thought for lasting characters, believability, connection with the audience, or the fact that the audience should, theoretically, be children. (Not to mention that most of the film feels ripped off from other recent movies.) Who would have even thought that a Disney film (once the source of those classic, magical, family entertainment films) would only make it fourteen minutes and five seconds before a turtle farts. Sure, if bodily functions were the name of the game in Walt’s day Snow White and the Seven Dwarves would have been a lot funnier, but that wasn’t the point of his children’s movies. I’ll admit that before the 14:05 mark I was willing to dismiss the fact that a squirrel had already gotten its head stuck up the lion’s nose, but after the reptilian gas—that’s where I had to draw the line.
Second, there’s a little bit of unfounded, oddly placed racism in this movie that really makes no sense. For some reason the pigeons at the zoo are Indian with paranoia and gambling problems and the dung beetles in Africa come off like little Dutch girls. Why?
Aside from these odd characters, most of the characters in the movie are unnecessary. The beginning of the film is set in the New York Zoo, but the audience is only in the zoo for about twenty minutes and the multitudes of characters and funny voices seen there are never seen again. Frankly, it’s a waste of time to invest in these bit part animals when the screenwriters know they won’t be revisited. Besides that, the weakly built story strictly follows the lions and makes even the “friend” characters extras instead of enhancing and bringing a spirit of comradery to the script. By the end of film we don’t know any of the characters.
The koala character (voiced by Eddie Izzard) is just okay and sometimes funny, but mostly offers the kind of humor where when your kid says the same funny line a few days later you want to smack them. These type of one-liner characters are all too common anymore and movie producers, especially Disney, should know that, while kids are sponges, they are also repeaters. The only truly funny part of the movie is when the father lion meets some chameleons. Sadly, even then the chameleons are covert agents kind of like the penguins in Madagascar. Not to mention that the characters also dance during the end credits, like in Madagascar.
The Wild is visually frightening to children, and uninteresting for their parents. When a child likes a movie, it’s natural for them to want to watch it over and over. Hell, I still do that. But if the film is truly horrible only a sadistic parent would let them see it more than once on the off chance that their offspring liked The Wild. This is one to rent, but only if your child is able to handle the look of huge, dark, mechanical wildebeests charging the screen with green flames flaring from their nostrils and a lack luster story of a cub finding his roar. What could be truly wild is an adventure to the library and get your kid a book. I can guarantee more fun for the both of you.
The extras for The Wild are just as pitiful but to be expected for a Disney DVD with the fast play features. Some of these things are the stuff that the little kids might enjoy, but it’s not very likely. There’s the Everlife ‘Real Wild Child’ music video which really has nothing to do with the movie except that there are clips from The Wild in it and she sings the word “wild”. Wow, breaking the bank on this disc.
There are some deleted scenes with an optional audio commentary, although there is no commentary available for the full-length movie. The deleted scenes are rough scenes with little to no finished CGI shots and some of the readings of the script aren’t even cast with the final character’s voices yet. You can definitely see why they were cut, because no one cares that the squirrel is in love with the giraffe, but I don’t even see why they were included on the disc.
There is also a “Backstage Disney” part, but it has nothing to do with going behind the scenes with the actors recording or watching the over 400 Canadian animators work on the film. There’s a “Eddie Izzard Unleashed” segment and a “Meet Colin: The Rock Hyrax” part. Neither of these are terribly interesting or humorous. It seems to be because of movies and extras like The Wild that Disney cut it’s movie production in half. Maybe, if we click our heels together three times we’ll start getting decent quality films out of the Disney factory that used to be so magical.