If you’re like me, you are an adult who can look back fondly at animated films that you’ve been watching your whole life and recall plenty of good memories watching them over and over again. Even to this day, I won’t turn down a good Pixar or Dreamworks movie. But what about those other guys out there, making their own animated and CG films? Are any of them good enough to reach the high bar set by the big studios? The Wild Life, by Illuminata Studios (part of Studio Canal), sets out to make their mark in the world of animation.
The Movie Itself (2.5/5)
The Wild Life tells the story of how Robinson Crusoe became to be stranded on an island in the middle of nowhere, and how he, with the help of some local wildlife, was able to survive the wrath of the pesky cats of the island. That’s right, those darn cats are out to ruin everything!
So, as with a lot of animated films that are aimed at children, The Wild Life is really quite simple. We have a stranded man on an island who befriends local wildlife and, with their aid, is able to build himself a place to sleep and is more or less happy with his lot in life. Unlike other movies like this, he cannot speak to the animals, but they do talk. This gives the viewer a unique perspective as he struggles to make a connection with this group of “wild” animals.
These animals, I should say, have no business being on a deserted island, adding to the absurdity that children will love. While the main animal companion, a parrot named Tuesday, certainly fits in the local, as do a smaller exotic bird and a lizard, but we just don’t know why a goat and population of feral cats are doing out there. But hey, it’s rather funny, and each of the animals has their own personality and strengths and weaknesses, so why not.
Unlike other animated films (cough, cough Pixar), The Wild Life shies away from the more adult humor, save for a few mostly tame gags. While some parents will likely be thrilled at the lack of inappropriate jokes, it is noticeably appropriate, which takes a bit of the fun out of (for us big kids). Children will no doubt thoroughly enjoy the silly situations and exaggerated emotions and reactions that the characters display.
So, while this movie will likely be a hit with younger audiences, there’s not a lot that will keep the bigger kids drawn in. While it was fun to watch, there wasn’t a lot of lasting appeal, and at a high level, this felt like they took bits and pieces of other animated hits and put them into one story. This ended up being pretty good, but lacked the real magic that we see elsewhere.
But hey, the kids will love it.
Visuals/Picture Quality (4.5/5)
This film has some impressive visuals for sure. While not as polished as a Pixar film, there was definitely a lot of time and energy put into the visuals, and the textures and colors really shine on Blu-ray. The one downside here is that the animation at times feels just slightly…off. This is in no way because of the transfer, as I’m certain that the problem stems from the animation being in an uncanny valley – it’s almost top tier, but just not quite. Some movements are just perceptibly off. This is entirely a subjective opinion, and likely won’t bother others.
Score/Audio Quality (4.5/5)
This movie has a lot of action scenes, and they sound very satisfying on this 5.1 channel track. Explosions and gunfire are boomy, and every detail comes in crystal clear. The weather and environmental sounds are great, especially the storm scenes. This one is fun to listen to!
Special Features (3/5)
Special features included are:
- A Wild World: Making The Wild Life
- Meet the Characters
- Tips for Your Trip
- The Wild Life Musical Adventure
While there are not a lot of extras here, what is included is presented in a kid friendly way that will surely entertain the kids for a bit more after the film is over. There’s nothing overly informative, but they could be a good way to introduce the youngin’s to the extra content that comes with all those movies they’ve been watching.
Lionsgate has released The Wild Life in a two-disc set (one Blu-ray, one DVD) in an amaray case with one sided sleeve and a matching slipcover. The discs each have very nice artwork on them (way to go Lionsgate!). Also inside is an insert with UV copy of the film.
- Aspect ratio: 2.39:1
- DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime 90 Mins
While kids will certainly love this bright and silly adventure, it’s missing a bit of the magic that will keep bigger kids and adults interested and coming back for repeat visits. However, it’s worth a watch, and there’s still fun to be had. This one is likely worth a rental or stream first.
You can pick it up here.
Note: This Blu-ray was sent to us for review. This has not affected our judgement or editorial process in any way. Please contact us if you have any questions regarding this process.