The Wild Life (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 12, 2016 by Dennis Amith
If you are looking for an animated film for the entire family featuring a Robinson Crusoe storyline and many talking animals, you may want to consider this animated film. It’s not exactly the most child-friendly film but it’s an entertaining animated film worth considering for older children.
TITLE: The Wild Life
FILM RELEASE: 2016
DURATION: 91 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
COMPANY: Summit Entertainment
RATED: PG (Mild Action, Peril and some Rude Humor)
RELEASE DATE: November 19, 2016
Directed by Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen
Written by Domonic Paris
Produced by Gina Gallo, Mimi Maynard, Domonic Paris, Ben Stassen, Caroline Van Iseghem
Executive Producer: Olivier Courson, Eric Dillens
Music by Ramin Djawadi
Casting by Gina Gallo, Mimi Maynard, Domonic Paris
Art Direction by Vincent Kesteloot, Anthony Leveque
Carlos Alazraqui as Long John Silver
Yuri Lowenthal as Robinson Crusoe
Laila Berzins as Rosie
Joey Camen as Scrubby
Jeff Doucette as Mal/Pango
Sandy Fox as Epi
Kyle Hebert as Tom Cat
Marieve Herington as Kiki
Jay Jones as Friday
Colin Metzger as Carmello
Joe Ochman as Rufus
Michael Sorich as Cecil
Doug Stone as Aynsley
David Howard Thornton as Tuesday
Kirk Thornton as Bosun
Debi Tinsley as May
Things are larger than life on a tropical isle where wild animals rule, until a marooned human arrives in the midst of a furious storm and their lives are forever changed.
Way back in 1719, Daniel Dafoe wrote a novel titled “Robinson Crusoe”about a castaway who spent thirty years on a remote tropical island near Trinidad and trying to survive in hopes of being rescued.
As the tale of Robinson Crusoe has received various adaptations, in 2016, a Belgian-French CG animated film titled “Robinson Crusoe” (and renamed “The Wild Life” in North America) was released in theaters in Europe.
And now “The Wild Life” will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Summit Entertainment.
The film begins with a red and green macaw named Mak and his friends living in an island in the South Pacific. Mak is getting bored and dreams of life over the horizon and wants to explore the world.
Also, a pirate named Long John Silver and his crew of pirates rides the seas…
We are then introduced to Robinson Crusoe and his dog Aynsley who book a passage on a ship to explore the islands but when a tropical storm hits, Crusoe, Aynsley and wild and bad cats named Mel and May are locked in the ship’s hull and survive the storm.
When they awake, everyone is gone and Crusoe and Aynsley try to survive on the island.
As Mak and the animals fear the human and his dog, Mel and May try to attack Mak and kill him but he is rescued by Aynsley and Crusoe takes him in and names the Macaw, Tuesday.
But when Mel and May tell the other animals that Crusoe and Aynsley killed Mak, the animals go on a rampage and try to help the wild cats defeat Crusoe but finding out that they have been lied to by Mel and May. Unfortunately, Mel and May cause an explosion on the remaining ship and in the process, Aynsley is killed.
Now Tuesday and the animals who now want to help the human Crusoe try to create shelter and help him survive on the island but will the evil cats, Mel and May prevent the animals from succeeding?
“The Wild Life” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). Picture quality for the most part is very good. CG animation is very well-done compared to previous European CG films that I have watched.
There is excellent detail throughout the film. For example, for Mak/Tuesday, you can see the wearing right on its beak and the amount of shading and detail, especially for his feathers. Another example, is during a rainstorm and seeing the puddles of rain on the ship’s deck. Fantastic!
Textures are also well detailed along with skin details for human characters.
Granted, many will want to compare with Pixar Animation films which cost many millions of dollars but it’s best not to compare and just enjoy of how good this film looks in CG and the evolving quality of Euro CG animated films. “The Wild Life” looks great on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Wild Life” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and features crystal clear dialogue and great use of the surround channels and LFE for the film’s many actions sequences.
Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.
“The Wild Life” comes with the following special features:
- A Wild World: Making the Wild Life – (9:16) The casting and the challenges of animating the film.
- Meet the Characters – (10:09) The voice actors discuss their characters.
- Tips for Your Trip – (3:58) Robinson Crusoe gives tips of what to do if you are stranded in an island.
- The Wild Life Musical Adventure – (3:13) A featurette showcasing various scenes from the film and the musical score.
“The Wild Life” comes with a slipcover, an UltraViolet code and a DVD version of the film.
Perhaps one of the best things that were decided when the Belgian-French film “Robinson Crusoe” was released in North America is changing the film’s title.
As Robinson Crusoe is a classic novel title, the animated film is less about Robinson Crusoe but a CG animated film that revolves more about the birds and animals living in an uninhabited island which Robinson Crusoe happens to be stranded on.
The film revolves around a parrot named Mak/Tuesday who dreams of going beyond the island and discovering life elsewhere, as he has grown bored of the island.
Meeting the stranded Robinson Crusoe and his dog Aynsley, Tuesday looks to Crusoe in hopes of taking him away from the island, not knowing that Crusoe is actually stranded.
But as the animals on the island fear Crusoe and his dog, you have two wild and mangy (and yes, evil) cats who serve as the film’s antagonists. These cats remind me of the Gremlins (from the classic 1984 film) and somehow, these two cats are persistent and truly evil that their actions leads to one of the deaths of the film’s characters. No doubt, earning the film it’s PG rating. But similar to the Gremlins, these cats spawn and create more evil, mangy looking cats to join them in causing problems for Crusoe and animals.
But as the animals band together to help Crusoe, the film starts to focus more on the animals starting to enjoy Crusoe’s presence, but not all.
Meanwhile, throw in Long John Silver’s presence into the film and you have an interesting adventure for Robinson Crusoe and his bird, Tuesday.
Overall, “The Wild Life” is an entertaining CG animated film. While it’s story is a tame version of what appears on the original Robinson Crusoe novel and focuses on Crusoe and the few animals that live with him, while in essence, this is an animated film, there are moments of peril and you have one character death. So, parental guidance is definitely suggested.
Also, I have to say that for a European animated film, this is probably one of the better animated films I have seen in the last five years, when it comes to animation quality and detail.
But the film’s problem lies within its storytelling especially at the end. Despite the film’s adventures, the film ends far too soon and abruptly and tries to end its storyline with a brief narration, with still CG sequencs of what happens to the characters.
But I enjoyed the film for what it’s worth. If you are looking for an animated film for the entire family featuring a Robinson Crusoe storyline and many talking animals, you may want to consider this animated film. It’s not exactly the most child-friendly film but it’s an entertaining animated film worth considering for older children.
J!-ENT has not received any compensation from the company for this post. J!-ENT has no material connection to the brands, products, or services that are mentioned in this post.
For Product Reviews:
For product reviews, J!-ENT has purchased the above product for review purposes or may have received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free by the company which in no way affects our reviews, may it be positive or negative. We only recommend products or services we have tested/reviewed and believe will be good for our readers.
Some of the links in our posts are "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, J!-ENT will receive an affiliate commission.
J!-ENT is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”