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Movie Review

The Wild

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray

Better than Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family, Kids
Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family, Fantasy
1 hr. 34 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
April 14, 2006 (wide)
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures

Lions in the Bible

Animals in the Bible

click for Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to childrens' questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.

Visit the wild!…

The Rainforest: People, Animals and Facts
Learn about the rainforest by meeting some native peoples, seeing where and how they live, and more! A cross-cultural photo-rich journey that will leave you with a lasting impression.
Featuring: Kiefer Sutherland, Eddie Izzard, James Belushi, Janeane Garofalo, Richard Kind, William Shatner, Patrick Warburton, Greg Cipes
Director: Steve “Spaz” Williams
Producer: Clint Goldman
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures

“A whole new breed of tourist.”

Copyrighted, Walt Disney Pictures

As scripture tells us, “The glory of youth is strength” and “The Wild” puts that into perfect perspective. We all must find our “roar.”

What I expected was a re-do of “Madagascar”, but I came away much more impressed and with a renewed respect for the animators of today’s CG wonderlands. The fur on the animals depicted in this animated flick was so realistic, I had to fight the urge to go up to the screen and pet ‘em! Anyone who watches the special features on DVD’s like “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles” knows these CG animators say that hair and fur are the hardest aspect of their computer animation job.

Samson (the warm, deep voice of Kiefer Sutherland) is the star “king of the beasts” attraction at the New York City zoo. He loves to tell his young son/cub, Ryan (Greg Cipes) inspirational tales of his own courage back in the days when he was growing up in the wild, digging deep within for the blood curdling roar to end all roars that scatters each and every would-be predator.

Young Ryan, on the brink of his “lionhood,” can’t seem to manage anything more than a pathetic squeak. He is laughed at by the zoo animals, “Look at him. He’s sulking cause he lives in his father’s shadow and he roars like a school girl!”—can’t seem to fit in with the bigger “cubs” and is painfully disappointed in himself. He also mistakenly assumes his father is disappointed in him too, and spends much of his time up in a tree watching mysterious containers called “The Green Box” pack up zoo animals to be carted away, never to return.

When Ryan impulsively stows away in one of these green containers on its way to the docks, Samson puts together a rescue crew consisting of his best friends Benny the squirrel (Jim Belushi), Larry the snake (Richard Kind), Nigel the koala (Eddie Izzard), and Bridget the giraffe (Janeane Garafolo).

Everyone ends up going all the way to Africa, where they have to rescue themselves and Ryan from various wild life, would-be predators, and a very ominous-looking volcano.

Half the fun is getting out of New York, fighting off a posse of dogs who’s rabid leader is a puffy white Poodle, and the flushed-down-the-toilet variety of sewer alligators. So, learning to captain a tug boat and fend off dung beetles is the least of their worries.

As you might guess Samson with his band of unlikely heros, saves his son whilst proving his great love for him and learning to follow his own instincts. Everyone gets in plenty of gags, jokes and quips and Ryan ultimately finds his roar.

Some jokes may go over the heads of younger children. The humor is mild even though there is a spattering of kid-friendly potty humor: passing wind, a character lands on a fence (with references to his crotch) and the inevitable reference to bathroom functions. There is the usual cartoon violence like characters getting bonked on the head, falling out of trees, sliding across ice, etc.

The sequence where a character is being treated like a god by the natives made me a bit uncomfortable and you may want to discuss this with your kids. The character does get a bit “puffed up” by the attention, but later learns that he is not a god and could never be. In this tribal ritual sequence characters chant “holey moley” and although meant to be in good fun, parents may not find that acceptable humor and might want to take the opportunity to discuss the harm of sacrilegious attitudes and what true holiness is with their families.

The running theme is launched by Benny the squirrel, “Best friends should stick together,” and sets the foundation for “The Wild”. It is for kids 8 years old and up and I can say it is one of the few movies I’ve seen lately geared towards kids this young, that I would feel safe sending to the theater without parental supervision. But go with them, there’s something playful and amusing here for everyone.

In some ways, this film is better than “Madagascar”, but its thunder has been so definitively stolen, it may go unfairly unnoticed this season. I encourage parents to take your kids to see it now before all the summer blockbusters come rolling in, so you and your family can truly appreciate “The Wild”.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—The animation in this film was fantastic. My children enjoyed the characters and the plight of the father/son relationship. I did like the way the “dad” finally told his son the truth.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Renee, age 40
Positive—This is to all parents who are offended by this movie: I think you need to put things into perspective. Yes, there is bathroom humor, but there is nothing sinful about “eucalyptus wipes.” If your kid thinks this is funny, what’s the worst that can happen? Most kids think that bathroom humor is funny, and they’re going to laugh about the bathroom whether they see this movie or not. Yes, there is “idol worship,” but children are not going to become interested in the occult because of a few mislead jungle animals. Please, parents, don’t ruin this movie for your kids.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Christa Quillin, age 50
Neutral—I took my 2, 5, and 6 year olds to see this, we walked in just as the movie was starting during a “scary story” that the lion was telling. My 2 yr old was slightly scared but did not cry and was soon laughing at the next scene. There was some adult humor that I think went right over their heads. I was suprised at the sexual overtones to this G rated movie. It was a cute story line.

And I don’t know why it is necessary to have any sex jokes at all, after all I was at a kid movie. As an adult I don’t always have to be entertained at my children’s expense. I found it to be slightly confusing for my 5 yr old as there was a lot of characters talking at once and lots of action. The story was fine, but it could be cleaned up a little for the “G” rating.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Amanda Collins, age 33
Neutral—Little bit like “Madagascar” and “Finding NEMO” all in one. …
My Ratings: Average / 3
Thomas Dickensheets, age 44
Neutral—I was disappointed in “The Wild”; I went to see this movie hoping to see something new as the previews promised, and something funny to laugh at, much like the “Incredibles”-type movie. Instead, I was disappointed with a sad combination of Madagascar and the Lion King with a bit of Star Wars and Wizard of Oz humour thrown in for good luck. While this movie might be okay for very, very young children, anyone over 5 years old will be annoyed at having wasted their money on yet another animal cartoon movie with the same old plot.
My Ratings: Average / 3
Maria, age 18
Neutral—I thought this movie was very well made, but very badly written. It was almost as if the animators at Disney just pulled ideas out of a hat for their characters and then said, 'let’s make a movie that is a cross between “Finding Nemo” and “Madagascar”.' The movie was not as funny as “Chicken Little” and it was no where near as funny as the Pixar films. Did I mention that the character development and chemistry stunk. You can take your kids to see this movie and not have to worry about anything objectionable with the exception of some very, very mild potty humor. However, adults should be warned to be well rested, drink plenty of coffee or take a No Doze if they want to stay awake through this movie. Disney is definitely not living up to their normal standard.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 5
Robert Dietrich, age 34
Negative—Why can’t Disney make a real kid and family movie? This is not it. Was this really a G rated film? They deal with idol worshiping. Animals hitting each other and calling each other names. and that’s the short list. They do talk about honesty and giving it your best reaching deep inside yourself along with bad family senerios.

I brought my 4 and 6 year old to the movie to join up with more younger friends. We almost walked out. This movie was not the fun, light-hearted kid film we were after. Maybe they should take some cues from the makers of “Curious George”. The movie was great for the first 30 minutes until it began chasing after Ryan the lion cub, and it took a wrong turn, and it turned into something terrible. Skip this one. There just has to be something better to do with your children for an hour and a half.
My Ratings: Very Offensive / 4
Jayne, age 37
Negative—I took my five year old to the movie and we ended up walking out after an hour. Although rated G, the film has some scary moments, especially for younger kids. It had several instances of bathroom humor as well, which I don’t appreciate, though some may disagree with me. I didn’t feel its necessary for the Koala to say “I need some eucalyptus wipes” in reference to the fact that he got scared and (though unseen) defecated or the multiple times the koala passed gas or when the animals walked into a clearing and one of the jungle animals was using the bathroom. I am a Disney fan and enjoy most of Disney’s classics and newer movies, but I wasn’t really impressed with this one except for the excellent special effects. If you’re looking for a lighthearted film that will lift your spirits, don’t spend your money on this one. There are a lot of movies like “Curious George” that are definitely more worth your money and time and certainly have a positive message to say.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Tim, age 36
Negative—I did not like this movie. I could not believe it was G as it had a lot of violence, cartoon violence, but violence nonetheless. I thought the wildebeast scenes were scary and they appeared devilish. Some of the humor was sexual in nature, and although it did go over my children’s heads, it just seemed gratuitous and unnecessary to the story. I felt the message was to be yourself and not try to be something you aren’t, but the delivery just fell far short. If there were other messages, they weren’t clear amongst all the violence. I was a little worried going in it would be Madagascar redone but it definitely was different and not nearly as good. My children, ages 5, 7, and 9, as well as a neighbor’s child age 7 really liked it. They most remember the scene where the koala jumps on a fence and hurts its crotch. Another Disney disappointment.
My Ratings: Average / 3
Sandra, age 41
Comments from young people
Positive—This film was a lot funnier than I thought it would be. I thought at first that it would be another cheesy kid’s film (especially considering I was one of the only teenagers in the theatre), but I obviously turned out to wrong. First, I realized from the film: Koala Bear + english accent = instant comedy, the koala bear was probably the funniest character in the whole movie. I also enjoyed the voice casting of Kiefer Sutherland (a big surprise for me), Jim Belushi, and Eddie Izzard who I had never heard of but who did a great job as the koala bear. I also thought the animation was great, it was probably one of the best animated movies I had ever seen (just like the reviewer said).

There were some negatives, like the wildebeests worshipping the koala bear, and some of the bathroom humor kinda got out of hand, but besides that, it was great for me and my little 5 year old sister (and my dad liked it too).
My Ratings: Good / 5
Kurt, age 15
Positive—This movie was very funny. There is a little bit of questionable scenes. But in my overall opinion it was good. My little brother could not stop laughing. I myself found it very funny. It is a good kids movie, and if you enjoyed Madagascar, you will enjoy this also.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
Sarah, age 15
Movie Critics
…The movie has a lot more action than “Ice Age: The Meltdown”… some of it maybe too intense for the youngest kids …” [3/4]
Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert
…recycled situations and characters…
Orlando Weekly, Steve Schneider
…“The Wild” is smoothly animated, serviceable as a Disney cash cow and as nourishing as the whipped cream propping up the maraschino cherry on a hot fudge sundae. …” [2½/4]
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Ed Blank
…Directed in ultra-frenetic style by the aptly nicknamed Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams, the film is a relentlessly loud and ultimately exhausting exercise only partially leavened by the usual heavy doses of wisecracking humor and visual gags. Despite numerous clever touches, the film isn’t entertaining enough to lift it above its general air of familiarity, though tykes with short memories should find enough to amuse them. …
The Hollywood Reporter, Frank Scheck
…a fun movie with weighty themes. The writers are not afraid to tackle relevant issues like the crucial influence of the father in a child’s life and the need for honest family communication…
Crosswalk, Lisa Rice
…a lot of dialogue, yet very little is being said. Well, very little amusing. …
Preview Family Movie and TV Review, Phil Boatwright