I’ve seen roughly 15 new animated films this year. Some were good and others were.. not so much which you can see in my mini review post. But upon seeing teasers for The Wild Life, I felt that same familiar dread before I went to see Norm of the North. Take a peek at the trailer below and see if you know what I mean.
The film is actually titled “Robinson Crusoe” made by the Belgium-French animation studio, nWave, with it being marketed in the United States as The Wild Life (I’m having Tangled flashbacks over here). The concept of the movie sounds interesting enough on paper; the tale of Robinson Crusoe (minus the cannibals and slavery bits) told from the perspective of the animals that inhabit the island he gets shipwrecked on. Unfortunately it doesn’t have much substance beyond that initial idea.
One thing that was glaringly off about the trailer, besides the bad editing and unnecessarily modern song, was it leads you to believe most of the movie will focus on them fighting off pirates. Just kidding! The real enemy is a pair of scruffy cats that seek revenge on Crusoe and his dog for.. not letting them eat the chickens on the ship?? You’re probably thinking.. okay what can two mangey cats do? Apparently get pregnant and have a litter of 12+ kittens to form an angry cat army was this movie’s answer to that. They also threw in an awkward sexist pregnant joke when they revealed the cat was pregnant…
“If you missed that it, she is pregnant, which didn’t help with her mood.” – Mak the Macaw
The movie is playful for a majority of the time but there’s a lot of non-slapstick violence towards the domestic animals in the film that I was surprisingly uncomfortable with. For example, even though you’re supposed to hate the cats as villains, they’re kicked and thrown around pretty aggressively by some of the sailors. Oh they also killed off Crusoe’s dog to try and illicit emotion but we barely got to know that character so… I didn’t care?
Speaking of not caring, I didn’t care about ANY of these one dimensional characters. It’s like they’re personalities were whatever stereotype you associated with their 101 voice acting type of accent. Goat is hillbilly. Dog is Scottish. Pirate is pirate. There was no growth or change in any of the characters. The voice cast wasn’t necessarily terrible but most of the characters lacked depth. I did find it interesting that Crusoe was voiced by Yuri Lowenthal who is most known for his voice roles as Ben from Ben 10, Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto and the Prince from Prince of Persia.
I will give the movie credit for looking really nice. The animation was smooth and quirky with some pretty impressive water effects. So kudos to the animation team!
It is pretty telling when the only laugh that was garnered throughout the entirety of the film was when the goat said “I’m a fierce coconut.” Couple that with a bored child seated in front of my hitting herself repeatedly in the head with an empty water bottle an hour into the film and well.. it makes me think this 90 min film should have been a 22 min cartoon instead.
Overall the movie is not something I’d seek out to watch again, however it is better than Norm of the North even though that’s not hard to achieve. I do agree with what Sheila O’Malley said at the end of her review:
“The script […] is so-so, but the total lack of snark and cynicism in the film is refreshing.” – Sheila O’Malley
Rotten Tomatoes: 14% (3.9/10 average)
Budget: $13 Million | Box Office: $27.9 Million
[Based on stats as of September 21st 2016]
Release Date: September 9th 2016
Studio: nWave Pictures
90 Minutes | Rated PG
Directors: Vincent Kesteloot & Ben Stassen
Writers: Lee Christopher, Domonic Paris & Graham Weldon
Stars: Yuri Lowenthal, David Howard & Sandy Fox
Did you see The Wild Life? Why? Comment below or tweet me @teriarchibbles!
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