The Wild is a 2006 American-Canadian 3D computer animated comedy adventure film directed by animator Steve "Spaz" Williams, and written by Ed Decter, John J. Strauss, Mark Gibson and Philip Halprin. It features the voices of Kiefer Sutherland, Jim Belushi, Janeane Garofalo, Greg Cipes, Eddie Izzard, Richard Kind, William Shatner and Patrick Warburton.
Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Feature Animation (in Australia only), Hoytyboy Pictures, Sir Zip Studios and Contrafilm, it was animated by C.O.R.E. Feature Animation. It was released to theaters on April 14, 2006 in North America, by Buena Vista Pictures.
When zoo-dwelling lion cub Ryan wanders off and accidentally gets shipped to Africa where animals are being released into the wild, his father Samson rounds up some animal friends and embarks on a journey to rescue his son. Their rescue mission is fraught with danger, both from natural phenomena like volcanoes and from animals, and as they continue their search for the missing cub they rediscover long-dormant survival instincts.
Why It Sucks
- Unoriginal, weak and cliched story that heavily obviously steals elements from Finding Nemo, The Lion King (ironically, both being owned by Disney), and especially Madagascar.
- Overly-detailed and uninspiring animation that flies straight into the Uncanny Valley™. The animation in Samson's story in the beginning is also very ugly and outdated, sure it's look pretty cartoon-ish, but still.
- Unfunny and nonsensical jokes that barely get any laughs, and the slapstick humor in the film is appalling. The film also includes some potty humor and farting such as the scene with the hyrax as well as most of the forced pop cultural references.
- The film's tone is inconsistent and lacks direction.
- The characters are bland, unlikable, occasionally annoying, and have no character development.
- Some of them don’t even serve a purpose to the film as well and are only there just for filler such as Eze the hippo and Duke the Kangaroo, Victor the penguin, the rabid street dogs, the alligators, the hyrax, the German dung beetles, and the chameleons.
- Excessive amount of product placement during the "Clocks" scene for McDonald's, Toys R Us, Best Buy, ABC, Quaker, etc.. The advertisement of the Broadway musical of The Lion King (which makes a cameo) even doesn't help matters either.
- The film ends with Nigel saying "Do carry on", implying that there is still some time left in the film for an aftermath, only to immediately cut to the credits.
- Uncomfortable close-up shots on some of the characters' faces.
- Samson is a cowardly lion midway through the film as he and his companions choose to hide in the sewer instead of fighting off three rabid street dogs like a real lion in the New York alley scene. He never chooses to fight or acting like a real lion until the movie's climax
- Making Kazar, a wildebeest, the main villain is not only bizarre and weird, but his motivation by making prey the predators and vise versa is completely stupid.
- The film is filled with massive plot holes such as:
- How did Samson and his friends survived on a boat without food or water while traveling all the way to Africa and back again?
- The zookeepers are going to ask a lot of questions on how and where the Wildebeest came from that Samson and his friends brought back at the end of the movie.
- They said that all animals can talk to each other, yet when the cast is in the city they encounter three dogs who just attack them but they don't speak.
- After escaping the dogs, all the animals are able to fit into the manhole leading down to the Sewers, even though Samson and Bridget are way too big to fit.
- The Hyrax knows of Nigel's species, even though Koala's are not native to Africa like Hyraxes are.
- The film uses way too much stock cartoon sound effects, which doesn’t fit the film’s style and theme.
- Most of the animal designs are very unsettling to look at.
- Bridget and Benny's relationship side-plot isn’t needed and just feels unnecessary.
- The film includes several ethnic stereotypes such as the German dung beetles, the Italian alligators and the Indian pigeons.
- Seeing the flamingos beating up Nigel is not only loathsome and mean spirited, but they had a very poor reason for doing so, it's all because of the annoying koala doll even though Nigel clearly hates the dolls as much the flamingos do, and it's clear that he didn't ask to be merchandised in the first place.
- Speaking of mean spiritedness, Benny blames Nigel for throwing him off the garbage truck, but actually it was Bridget who unknowingly knocked him off with her tail.
- For some really dumb reason, Nigel has a British accent despite being a koala.
- During Kazar's flashback, the three lionesses don't make sounds like a real lion should but rather instead a cougar/mountain lion/puma.
- The film has a few revealing mistakes that can easily be spotted:
- If you watch very closely the edge of Larry's mouth during the first scene in the garbage truck drifting through New York, Larry opens his mouth, and there is a very visible bright line where the interior of his mouth should line up with his lips, but doesn't. It's a tear in the CG model, and should have been fixed before the character was animated. What you're viewing through the tear is the New York city scape.
- After Benny has landed on the boat and Larry asks Samson if they're going to the wild, Larry pulls the throttle backwards. This would put the engines in reverse, yet in the film the boat continues going forwards and picks up speed.
- False advertising for two reasons:
- In the poster (as seen above), it implies that the alligators are the antagonists, but they were actually helpful but hardly contributed to the plot. The poster also implies that the animals came from the African wilderness to New York, but the effect in the film's final result was vice versa. Larry the Snake also does not appear on the poster, despite being one of the main characters of the film.
- Despite being called The Wild, there's very little wild-ness.
- Decent voice acting, despite talents being wasted.
- Some funny moments like the scene with Ryan and the adorable baby hippo.
- Samson's backstory is pretty emotional.
- While uncanny, the animation is surprisingly good.
- Amazing soundtrack, especially "Really Nice Day".
- Eddie Izzard's performance on Nigel the Koala can get a good laugh or two, and Nigel could possibly be the most tolerable character.
- Despite lying to his friends and son about being born in the wild, Samson tries to be a relatable character at times.
- It's nice to see a movie like this have the roles reversed with the main hero and villain, because in most media they make the carnivores look like psycho serial killers who kill just for fun while they make the herbivores look like heroic goody two shoes.
The Wild received generally mixed-to-negative reviews from critics and audiences, who compared it unfavorably to Madagascar and criticized the story and animation. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 19% based on 111 reviews, with an average rating of 4.49/10. The site′s critic consensus reads: "With a rehashed plot and unimpressive animation, there′s nothing wild about The Wild." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 47 out of 100 based on 24 critics indicating "mixed or average reviews."