So I just saw the new animated import from Belgium called The Wild Life and honestly I am still processing it. While I can’t really tell you it is a “good” film it’s not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. And it makes a lot of unusual choices that at the very least make it a bit of a curiosity.
First of all, The Wild Life looks way better than I expected it to be. I did not see it in 3D because the 3D trailer looked awful and I’m glad I didn’t. The animated action sequences are pretty impressive. They are long quickly paced and intense. Going into the film I was expecting a comedy but there are actually not that many comedic moments. Most of it is shipwrecks and fights. The water was really good for this kind of budget.
The character design all looked textured and better rendered than I was expecting. I honestly think the animation is as good if not better than anything we’ve seen from the Ice Age films in a long time.
The one exception to that rule is the cats…I pretty much hated everything about the cats. I hated their animation, characters, vocal performance, story arc, everything.
It’s kind of cool they do not use any celebrity voices and everybody except the cats fits very well with their parts. It’s kind of strange that all of these animals on this tiny island all have different accents but if you don’t over-think it, it works.
Robinson Crusoe is actually a pretty likable character and his bonding with the animals is more authentic than I thought it would be. I was thinking Crusoe would be more of the villain invading the island but actually he and the animals bond quickly and there are a lot of charming scenes with them working together. It’s not reinventing the wheel or something but I enjoyed it.
And like I said the action is a lot of fun. It’s very fast paced and imaginative and at times very tense. There is even death to a character that would never die in an American animated film. There is also a pregnancy that felt so strange. I’ve never seen anything like it in an animated film.
Unfortunately some of the action goes on a bit too long and the story wasn’t compelling enough to carry my interest the entire film. I got bored in several sections. I’m not sure what they could do to make it better but I nodded off a couple of times.
Still, this is the kind of movie that people will love to use hyperbole on and declare it the worst thing ever but it’s not in my opinion. One review I read said “few have failed as confoundingly as The Wild Life” Now that I can get behind. It is a strange movie. There’s no doubt about that, and I guess its watchability depends on your tolerance for the odd choices it makes.
But if you can ignore the bad stuff like the cats and focus on the good things like the animation and the action, I think it is worth watching. I personally would rather watch this film than a lazy unambitious effort like Ice Age: Collision Course but that’s just me.
If any of you see The Wild Life let me know. I am anxious to talk about some of the strange story elements with someone else who has seen it.
Overall Grade- C-