Is The Wild Life a fun adventure or totally played out? Read on for the movie review:The Wild Life is a movie that seems to be at odds with itself, struggling to decide between an enduring tale of survival and a standard talking CGI animal movie with slapstick. It’s as if the filmmakers were so worried that the adventures of Robinson Crusoe would be too boring for the child audience that they sugared it up with cookie-cutter characters and frenetic action sequences.
I will give the movie credit in that the child audience I saw this with at a Saturday morning screening were very well behaved. My four-year-old daughter didn’t squirm, whine or ask too many questions as there was enough going on in the movie to hold her attention. She also didn’t laugh at the jokes or cower at the danger. When I asked her about the movie afterwards, she responded “silly, but also boring.”
It’s an understandable reaction given the meekness of Robinson Crusoe and the bland characterizations of the island animals. They’re not very interesting given how they appear as lesser clones of other animated characters. The parrot, Mak, narrates this story with the same nervousness as the bird Blu in Rio. A tapir, Rosie, has all the mannerisms of the hippo Gloria from the Madagascar movies. These may be unfair comparisons, but the movie makes very few attempts to sway one away from thinking about these other movies that had more thought put into them. This is the price you pay for relying on the easy route of animated characters.
Causing trouble on the island where the animals reside and Crusoe is shipwrecked is a pair of evil cats. Their motives are simple in that they just want to eat and they have enough reason to be desperate. One of the cats is pregnant and desperately requires food when they birth a plethora of kittens to feed. Realizing they can’t survive on bugs forever, the cats and their kittens stage an assault on Crusoe and his band of animal friends that learned to work together.
“Silly, but also boring.”
-Reviewer Mark McPherson’s daughter
This is a rather interesting conflict because the cats appear to have a real need for hunting and finding food. Unfortunately, the cats do little more than provide an obstacle for our protagonists to battle in which cats are flung off cliffs, slammed into trees, shot at across their faces and even caught in an explosion.
All of this is played up for supposed laughs and excitement, though most of the laughs came as pity chuckles from the parents that were desperate to find something to react to in the movie. When the death of one of the friendly animal creatures made me feel nothing, I knew this movie had misfired greatly.
Read more to get the rest of the movie review and check out the trailer for The Wild Life: