Walt Disney Pictures.
Director: Sean Penn.
Cast: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt, Hal Holbrook, Catherine Keener.
Hollywood doesn't like to talk about corporate espionage, but the proof is in the identical bowls of pudding. Recently, we had Ultraviolet
on the heels of Aeon Flux
, and now we have Disney's The Wild
not long after DreamWorks' Madagascar
. No, you're not seeing things: it's another film about a band of animals from a New York Zoo, led by a lion, who take a boat to the wild then have to find their way home. DreamWorks and Disney have a history of racing to the screen with similar themes (remember Antz
and A Bug's Life
, Finding Nemo
and Shark Tale
?), and though there's no telling who had the idea first, The Wild
is inferior to Madagascar
, so better to pop in that video or, better yet, The Lion King
, if kids start braying to see The Wild
. Director Steve "Spaz" Williams favors aural and visual noise. Instead of great characters or funny jokes, the focus seems to be photo-realistic digital animation (look at all those tiny hairs!), with a secondary interest in indoctrinating kids to brand-names and Coldplay. I chuckled exactly once, when Eddie Izzard's koala says, "I've got popcorn in my bum." Kids will relate to the simple inferiority complex theme, but this is subpar kids' entertainment all the same.