"Just Another Cute Animation"
What You Need To Know:
THE WILD LIFE has quality animation, some good messages about friendship and loyalty, and even a scene where Robinson Crusoe pauses to give thanks before a meal. The struggle for survival on the island has its cute moments, its scatological jokes, and lots of chases and action. What’s missing from this movie is originality. THE WILD LIFE isn’t as fresh, lively or exciting as it could have been. It may remind moviegoers too much of other, better animated movies, such as RIO and HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON.
(BB, C, VV, A, MM) Strong moral worldview with kindness and friendship encouraged in opposition to greed and selfishness and a prayer of thanks before a meal; no obscenities or profanities, some mild scatological humor; considerable animated violence as mean, ugly cats chase and attack animals and people, explosions, fires, storms, and extensive damage; no sex; partial upper male nudity; sailors make reference to alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, cats lie to animals to get them to help with evil scheme, ship’s captain threatens death if man does not serve him, obvious greed displayed by villainous pirates.
THE WILD LIFE, an animated comedy adventure from Belgium dubbed into English, tells the story of Robinson Crusoe but suffers from a more-of-the-same problem. Its cute characters, wild chases, fires, and explosions no longer seem fresh and exciting.
THE WILD LIFE begins with Robinson Crusoe being “rescued” from an island by some pirates leading to a flashback of Crusoe’s story. The flashback opens with Crusoe looking out of place on a ship full of experienced sailors. On a tiny island a group of friends face extreme boredom, especially the island’s parrot, Mac, who longs to explore the world beyond the island. A big storm brings Crusoe to the island along with his faithful dog Aynsley and two very mean cats, who make life difficult for everyone.
The struggle for survival on the island has its cute moments, its scatological jokes, and lots of chases and action. What’s missing from THE WILD LIFE, and many more movies in 2016, is originality. Mac is reminiscent of Blu, the macaw in RIO, and Robinson Crusoe comes across as similar to Hiccup in HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON.
TOY STORY, SHREK, RATATOUILLE, THE INCREDIBLES, and DESPICABLE ME each offered a new world with very fresh characters and stories. It’s hard to be wildly original, but if you’re a studio hoping to compete with Pixar, Disney, Illumination, and DreamWorks, you need a movie that stakes out new territory that hits a home run with a wide family audience.
THE WILD LIFE has quality animation, some positive moral messages about friendship and loyalty, and even a scene where Robinson Crusoe pauses to give thanks before a meal, but it needs a lot more “oomph” to challenge the top animation studios. The opportunity to reach huge family audiences exists for newcomers, but they must excite audiences with tremendous new stories and characters.