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The Wild Life is an animated children’s movie that tries to retell the story of Robinson Crusoe, a classic novel by Daniel Defoe. On paper this seems like a great idea; an adventurer traveling the oceans in search of wealth who was stranded on an island and needed to figure out how to survive. Unfortunately the execution of this story is disappointing to say the least.
Robinson Crusoe is an adventurer traveling on a ship looking for wealth. Also traveling on his ship are two evil cats that hate Crusoe and want to kill him. When Robinson Crusoe becomes stranded after his ship is destroyed in a storm, he befriends a group of animals who help him survive. The cats also survive the shipwreck throughout the film try different ways to kill Crusoe and his friends. The story is told from the perspective of one of the animals, a parrot named Mak, who is bored doing the same thing over and over again on the island and wants a life of adventure. Although this may sound like a simple children’s film, it actually becomes rather complicated and confusing. Throughout the film, the plot jumps from one idea to another, never really settling on one long enough to develop the characters or the story. As a result it feels clunky and awkward. One positive quality of the film is that there were moments where I was actually surprised at the quality of the animation. The film has very nice looking animated backgrounds and at times the film looks very pretty. Sadly those moments were few and far between. More often than not the animation was very amateur for having been made by a professional studio. What I mean is there were moments that the characters would move through the scene but it would look like they would skip a step or suddenly be in another spot without having walked there. Another issue with the film was the voice acting. This was some of the worst voice acting I have heard in a movie to date. This could be a result of the process of making this film. Originally this film was produced by Illuminata Pictures, a company based in Belgium, and the voice acting was originally done in German. Then the film was picked up by StudioCanal and was translated to English and brought to the United States. Having only watched the trailer of the original version, the voice acting seems much more subdued. For example the character Rosie the tapir in the original film sounds like a normal female voice, but in the English version she sounds like a racial stereotype that to be quite honest made me very uncomfortable.
Overall this film was relatively harmless and was clearly geared toward a very young audience. However it lacks any substance that makes it worth going to see. This is not like a Disney film that will engage all audiences, it panders only to ages 4 and under with fart jokes and cute animals. I would give this film a rating of 1/5 and would not recommend it to anyone for a family movie night.