Here's a quiz for the kids: Name the most recent animated movie in which a lion, a giraffe, and a bunch of penguins get out of the zoo. If you said Madagascar, you're wrong. The animals are out of the zoo. Again.
The only thing critics find really "wild" about Disney's The Wild is its resemblance to Madagascar, last year's CGI movie from Dreamworks. Most say the animation is more detailed and textured, but the storytelling could have used the same level of attention. If the comparisons to Madagascar aren't derivative enough, the plot is driven by elements that resemble Finding Nemo, as a single father sets out on a desperate quest to find and bring back his wandering son.
Peter T. Chattaway (Christianity Today Movies) is not impressed, saying the film "is crippled by [Steve "Spaz"] Williams' inexperience as a storyteller. One thing follows another, but the story never really builds any momentum, and few if any character moments are allowed to sink in. What's more, the movie doesn't look and feel quite right; the animation tries to be so detailed and realistic that you actually notice how fake the animals are, and the music alternates between Alan Silvestri's loud and intrusive score and a bunch of bland, earnest rock songs. The Wild is pretty tame, and in the increasingly crowded, competitive, survival-of-the-fittest world of computer animation, it meows but does not roar."
David DiCerto (Catholic News Service) writes: "While hardly among Disney's classics—and there's not a memorable song—if you're looking for good-natured family fun, you could do far worse than heeding the call of The Wild."
Lisa Rice (Crosswalk) is more enthusiastic. "It seems that Disney is finally catching up with Pixar on its mix of animation ...1
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