Title: The Wild
MPAA Rating: G
Did my kids like it?: Yes, they did. Even the little one got down off my lap and stuck her head in between the two seats in front of her so that she could see the movie clearly, without obstruction. True, the oldest has not been inundating me with movie quotes, but she didn't do that with the last family movie we went to see, either. And there was definite laughter throughout the movie, from my kids and from all the other kids in the theater.
Did I like it?: Yeah. It wasn't a bad movie. It wasn't fabulous, but then, I don't go to a children's movie looking for heavy drama. I did get a few laughs out of it.
The Plot: Lion and his cub live in zoo. Cub is accidentally taken away and shipped off to the wild (Africa). Lion and his friends hijack a boat and go rescue him. No, really. And (you'll never believe this) the whole thing is NOT a rip-off of Madagascar. It's a rip-off of Lion King.
Okay, seriously. According to the people arguing in the IMDb message boards, The Wild has began production (or pre-production, or whatever) ten years ago, long before Madagascar was a twinkle in Dreamworks's eye. I must say, I have my doubts about that, because if it really began that long ago, Pixar might have done The Wild themselves, since it was before their Great Giving of the Finger to Disney. But then again, Pixar may have been offered this story and refused it, since they don't like doing blatant rip-offs.
To explain: the story comes off as Madagascar plus Lion King with a dash of Finding Nemo. But really, part of the reason it comes off Finding Nemo is because the Tale of Someone Getting Lost and the Rest of his Friends/Family Going to Find Him has been told over and over again for, literally, hundreds of years, maybe even thousands. They say there are only, like, eight different stories in the world, and every other tale is just a different version of one or more of those stories. After seeing so many movies, I am beginning to suspect this is true.
As far as the Madagascar stuff goes, well, it wouldn't be the first time Dreamworks ripped off a Disney idea, rushed to make their own version, and then released their's into theaters before Disney. Hello, Antz vs. A Bug's Life, anyone? Dreamworks was a BIG TIME IDEA SWIPER. Apparently, they still are.
But with this movie, I felt the story guys just blatantly ripped off Lion King. With the cub who can't roar, and the animals that want to behave in a way that is contrary to the laws of nature, and the dancing at the base of an active volcano (remember the hyenas at the elephant graveyard, and how the canyon kept changing shapes and spewing steam?). There's even a scene in which one creature stomps his hoof on the Lion's paw as he's dangling at the egde of a cliff. Do you see what I mean, here?
As we left the theater, my husband and I were pondering why Disney would plagiarize it's own movie. It doesn't make any sense! I can see lack of imagination, as far as the general storyline, but some of those scenes were complete and total copies. In fact, it seemed as if the whole copycat theme was...deliberate? That this movie Is, in fact, a (dare I say it?) parody.
Yes! Yes, that's what it is, it makes PERFECT sense! Because not only are the wildebeasts dancing around a volcano, they are TALKING about dancing around a volcano, and in fact harsh on each other about the CHOREOGRAPHY! Patrick Warburton's character actually goes so far as to tell his leader/choreographer that the style of dance is "so eighties."
Ha! Success! It's not a lack of imagination! It's satire! Only funnier! Or, if not that, then it's laziness combined with parody! I GET IT!
So, yeah, go see this with your kids, so that they can laugh at the fart jokes and you can laugh at the parody aspects of it. Or, wait until it comes out on video (although, I must tell you, the city landscape scenes will lose their grandeur when viewed on a small screen).
Also: there's a song in this movie, I think it's played by U2 but I'm not sure. It's in the "animals ride around the city in awe of all the bright lights and tall buildings" scene. I LOVE that song, but I don't know the title or the artist. Anyone care to help?