August 13, 2008

The Wild (2006)

For anyone who knows the difference between Disney•Pixar movies and “just Disney” movies, it’s no secret that the Disney•Pixar films are far superior. It’s like this: Disney•Pixar films (Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL•E) are made by Pixar; Disney only distributes them to theaters. “Just Disney” films (Chicken Little, Meet The Robinsons) are actually made by Walt Disney Pictures.

In Disney’s third CGI-animated film The Wild, Ryan (Greg Cipes) is a zoo lion who wants to go to the wild, where his dad Samson (Kiefer Sutherland) once ruled. When he gets himself shipped to Africa, Samson and his zoo friends work together to bring him back. In Africa, they encounter all kinds of danger, including an active volcano and a herd of wildebeests whose leader is determined to reverse the roles of lions and wildebeests on the food chain.

The Wild does nothing to help Disney get closer to the Pixar pedigree. It’s a lightweight, pop-culture-injected experience that feels like a subpar mash-up of Nemo, Madagascar, and The Lion King. It’s not great, it’s not horrible…it’s just forgettable. There’s a near-zero attempt at character development, and barely a moment without lots of talking or an overbearing musical score. In short, Disney needs to step up to the Disney•Pixar level of filmmaking, and fast. (This fall’s Bolt will be Disney's next attempt to do so.)

And to support my claim that this film is “forgettable,” I offer this closing argument: At my day job, I mentioned to a coworker – a hardcore Disney and Pixar fan who goes to every opening weekend – that I watched The Wild with my son.

She had no idea what I was talking about.

I rest my case.

Rating: 2 stars (out of 5).

Will your kids like it?
When I asked my 5-year-old what he thought of The Wild, he said it was “good” and that he ”liked it.” And I can see how it could be entertaining to a child who doesn’t discriminate the way a cynical adult would. For me, I spent most of The Wild mentally naming all the other, better Pixar and Disney films we could have watched.

Will your FilmMother like it?
I would think she would tolerate it for the sake of your children, though if she loves Pixar and classic Disney the way most adults do, she would probably agree there’s better stuff out there.

The Wild
* Director: Steve "Spaz" Williams
* Screenwriters: Mark Gibson, Philip Halprin
* Stars: Kiefer Sutherland, Eddie Izzard, James Belushi, Janeane Garofalo, William Shatner
* MPAA Rating: G

Buy this movie for less at >>


Kristin said...

Are you serious??? The director's name is really Steve "Spaz" Williams??? ;)

FilmFather said...

Sadly, yes, that's how he credits himself. And it's quite indicative of the spastic, ADD-style of direction he brought to this film.

Gemma said...

Spaz, eh? 'Nuf said, methinks. Would like to watch this one w. the boys. Curiously, I think Dad would like it!


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