The Wild is a delightfully charming fable about a father's search for his lost son. It's packed full of solid humor with plenty of multi-level comedy that works just as well for adults and children. Courtney and I went to see this the other day (I know this has been out for awhile, but we live in Montana. Gimme a break, sheesh.)and we had a ball.
While we both enjoyed the movie, there was one small problem. The film bears a disturbing similarity to Madagascar, which came out from Dreamworks several months earlier. I was a bit upset about this going in, but the movie was so good I got over it. While we were walking out of the theater, my wife summed up what we were both thinking perfectly when she pointed out what the filmmakers were actually doing. "This movie was a big fuck you to the makers of Madagascar." Sometimes I think there's a wizened Buddhist sage trapped within that beautiful 5'2" frame.
Where Madagascar was a moebius strip of shallow empty-headed sight gags, muddy, boring animation and worst of all David *shudder* Schwimmer, The Wild has heart, brains, and all sorts of courage. It's a strong parable about growing up, and what happens to a son when he finally realizes that his father really doesn't have all the answers. The animation is stellar, rife with lovingly crafted detail. The actors obviously had a great time working on this picture, with stand out performances by Kiefer Sutherland as the head lion and father in question, William Shatner as the wierdest cartoon bad guy ever, and the always hilarious Eddie Izzard as a koala... with a British accent? Eh, close enough for American ears.
When we got home, I did a little research and found out that The Wild was actually a script long before Madagascar ever came into being. In fact, further digging around on my part revealed that The Wild even started production well before Madagascar, but its release was pushed back by Disney when the Dreamworks cartoon crap factory (Shreck and especially Shreck 2 excepted) rushed Madagascar through production and beat them to the punch. It shows. For those of you who are fascinated by automobile accidents and the occasional train wreck, log on to The Internet Movie Database and check out the forum posts under The Wild.
Internet firestorms aside, The Wild is a far superior movie. Yes, the basic plotlines are similar, but the scriptwriting, the voice acting, and the luscious animation, all blow Madagascar to smithereens.
So, go check it out. You'll probably be able to rent it at the very least by the time you read this. The Wild is fun, funny, and appropriate for all ages, though it might be a little intense in places for younger kids. It's okay though, I know you're all good parents who would never ignore what their children are watching. Right?