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Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steve "Spaz" Williams|
|Produced by||Clint Goldman
|Screenplay by||Ed Decter
John J. Strauss
|Story by||Mark Gibson
|Music by||Alan Silvestri|
|Editing by||Scott Balcerek
Steven L. Wagner
|Studio||C.O.R.E. Feature Animation
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Pictures|
|Running time||95 minutes|
The Wild is a 2006 American computer animated family adventure comedy film, directed by Steve "Spaz" Williams, produced by Clint Goldman and assistant produced by Jim Burton. It was a C.O.R.E. Feature Animation production distributed by Walt Disney Pictures on April 14, 2006, in the United States.
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In New York Zoo, Samson the Lion tells his son Ryan stories of his adventures in the wild. That night, when the zoo closes, all the animals are free to roam. Samson, Benny, Bridget, Larry and Nigel were in a turtle curling championship while Ryan was with his friends. Ryan accidentally alerts the Thompson Gazelles which head to the game. Samson and Ryan have a fall out about the fact that Ryan can't roar and Ryan storms off, even though his father was sorry for what he said. Benny insists that Samson tells the truth to Ryan or he will lose his son. When Samson goes to talk to him, he is not in their home. Ryan has actually walked into a green box and accidentally gets shipped, which the legend tells will take him to the wild. With the help of a pigeon, Hamir, Samson and Benny go after him, sneaking into a garbage disposal truck with Nigel, Bridget, and Larry coming as well, accidentally throwing Benny off the truck. After passing through Times Square and nearly being crushed in the garbage disposal, the group encounters a pack of rabid stray dogs. Samson leads them through the sewer rather than scaring them off. There, they take directions to the docks from two street wise alligator brothers, Stan and Carmine.
The next morning, the four friends steal a tugboat during a hectic escape from several bulk carriers entering and departing New York harbour. With a little help from Larry, they drive the boat and reunite with Benny, who has enlisted a flock of Canada geese to help lead the crew in the right direction of Ryan's ship. Days later, Nigel goes mad with the heat and thirst, and under the impression they have hit an iceberg, jumps overboard. The boat has run aground in Africa. The group quickly discovers that all the animals in the area are being evacuated by the carriers, as a nearby volcano erupts. They witness Ryan escaping, but he runs into the jungle. Samson attempts to find him, but it is quickly revealed that he has in fact never been in the wild before after trying to eat a rude hyrax. The rest of the group head back to the ship, but Samson decides to keep trying to find his son.
While walking Samson starts seeing plants and rocks changing colors. Nigel is captured by a group of wildebeests who dwell in the volcano, and their leader Kazar, pronounces him king, based on an 'omen' he received when he was young: about to be devoured by lions, a toy koala fell from the sky (actually from a plane) and scared the lions away, saving his life. Kazar wants to change the food chain; he would rather see "prey become predators" and vice versa. For this, he needs to eat a lion. Bridget and Larry are also captured and held prisoner.
Ryan is sheltering in a branch of an old tree, but he is attacked by a gang of vultures led by Scraw and Scab acting under orders from Kazar. The branch breaks and traps his paw. Ryan attempts another failed roar. Samson hears Ryan's cries and runs to save him, scaring off the birds. The two reunite, but are interrupted by a pack of wildebeests. Ryan is shocked when Samson tells him to run. The two retreat to a tree where Samson reveals the truth. He was born in the circus and like Ryan, couldn't roar. Samson's mean and selfish father was bitterly disappointed and claimed that he would've known how to roar if he had been born in the wild before allowing his son to be sent to the zoo, where Samson became an orphan and lied to avoid the shame. The wildebeests discover them and, in the scuffle, send the tree over the cliff, with Samson still hanging on. Ryan is taken to the volcano.
Benny finds Samson. He encourages him to be himself even if he is not from the wild. They find two chameleons who were leading Samson to the volcano who are also trying to defeat Kazar's army. Samson uses the chameleon camouflage to slip into Kazar's lair. Nigel tries his best to stall the wildebeests from cooking his friends, and eventually Samson appears to fight Kazar and protect them, but Kazar overwhelms him. Ryan, seeing Samson in danger, climbs onto a catapulting device and launches himself. Ryan finally finds his roar while in mid-air. Ryan lands on Kazar's back, but is quickly thrown off. Samson attacks Kazar and manages to defeat him. Ryan tells Samson that he is happy to have him for a dad. The other wildebeests are touched by this and refuse to serve Kazar any further. Samson gains the courage he has needed, and roars powerfully enough to push back a charging Kazar. After Kazar was defeated, the volcano starts to erupt. Samson, Ryan, Nigel, Benny, Bridget, Larry and the wildebeests flee except for Kazar who is caught by the eruption and killed. The animals managed to escape on the boat and travel back to the New York Zoo.
- Samson: A male lion and the main protagonist of the film. He sets out to retrieve his missing son named Ryan.
- Benny: A street-smart Eastern grey squirrel with great knowledge. He is Samson's best friend and is the only one who knows Samson's secret.
- Bridget: An insecure and easily pampered masai giraffe and the only female in the group. She is quick-witted and wants to be seen as strong and independent. Benny has a huge crush on Bridget.
- Nigel: Hallucinating and always unpredictable, Nigel is a British koala who's recognized by the New York Zoo's famous plush toy that says, "I'm so cuddly! I love you!" and is tired of being "cute".
- Larry: A dim-witted, yet very goodhearted, green anaconda who tries to keep up with Samson and the gang, despite his lack of hands or legs.
- Ryan: Ryan is Samson's son, who wishes to make his father proud of him.
- Kazar: A male blue wildebeest and the main antagonist of the film. He doesn't want to dwell at the bottom of the food chain anymore. He is obsessed with eating a lion (in this case, Samson) to "prove" that he is no longer at the bottom of the food chain.
- Blag: Kazar's henchman and the secondary antagonist of the film. He is always in trouble for the tiniest things.
- Cloak and Camo: Covert agent chameleons, who aid Samson to sneak into Kazar's lair.
- Stan and Carmine: Two street wise American alligators.
- Scraw, Scab and Skreech: Two vultures who make quick cameos while finding Ryan out in the jungle and attack him on Kazar's orders.
- Hamir: An insane pigeon who Sampson and Benny go to for help when they want to know where to get somewhere. He has a pink pigeon wife named Jennifer and two pigeon sons named Garry and Barry.
- The Pigeons: They inform Samson where Ryan is headed, to "the lady with the spikes".
- Eze and Duke: A mischievous hippo (Eze) and red kangaroo (Duke); they are Ryan's two best friends at the zoo who try to make him go "wild" by chasing gazelles like his father supposedly did.
- Colin: A rock hyrax that Samson meets one and tries to eat it, but can't because he has never been in the wild and is accustomed only to his meat packages.
Release, reception, and merchandise
The Wild opened in 2,854 theaters. According to Box Office Mojo, the film earned 9.5 million dollars in its first weekend at the box office, ranking #4. Its promotion was small, with only the following promoters: Kraft, McDonald's, Amazon (selling the products and mini promotions on its site), Buena Vista Games, Buena Vista Records, and Buena Vista Book Publishing Worldwide. As of November 5, 2006, the movie grossed a total of $37,384,046 in the United States box office and $102,338,515 worldwide. Its production budget, in contrast, was $80 million. The Wild was ranked #1 of the top DVD sales twice in Entertainment Weekly. (The first time for October 6–12, 2006, the second time for October 13–19, 2006).
The Wild received mostly negative reviews. It had harsh reviews even before the trailer premiered. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 19% of critics gave the film a positive review with an average score of 4.5/10, based on 111 reviews. The consensus says, "With a rehashed plot and unimpressive animation, there's nothing wild about The Wild."
Critics considered The Wild to be heavily derivative of Madagascar. USA Today suggested that it was "the most wildly derivative animated movie in ages", while Variety described it as "ultimately done in by the persistent stench of been-there-seen-that". Similarities include its setting in New York's Central Park Zoo, similar animals as characters, and the primary plot of introducing zoo animals to the wild. The name of the film and the tag line, "Start spreading the newspaper", a play on the opening line from the "Theme from New York, New York", were both used as integral plot points in Madagascar.
Despite this, a few critics defended The Wild as the superior movie. Critic Mike Sage wrote "don't be mistaking this for a Madagascar rip-off, when it was that sloppy DreamWorks turd that only managed to make it to theatres first because of corporate espionage". Without addressing which film was the original concept, Tim Cogshell of Boxoffice Magazine simply wrote "for the adult who may very well have to experience this film, and who may have experienced "Madagascar," "The Wild" is better. The animation is better, the jokes intended for your children are better, the jokes intended for you and not your children are much better, the songs are better, and it's more fun." 
The musical score is composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri. The song "Real Wild Child" is performed by Everlife; a music video of the song is included on the 2006 DVD release. The song "Good Enough" is performed by Lifehouse; "Clocks" is performed by Coldplay; "Really Nice Day" is performed by Eric Idle and John Du Prez; and "Big Time Boopin'" is performed by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. "Come Sail Away" is performed by Styx. The scores "Tales from the Wild", "You Can't Roar", and "Lost In The City" are only a few of the scores on the soundtrack. The soundtrack is available from Buena Vista Records.
A video game for Game Boy Advance based on The Wild was released to coincide with the film. Players get to play as Benny the Squirrel and Samson the lion as they go through New York, the sea, and Africa to find Ryan, while battling the wicked wildebeest Kazar. The video game is rated "E" (for "Everyone") by the ESRB, with a note for Cartoon Sexual and Cartoon Violence.
- Kiefer Sutherland as Samson
- Jim Belushi as Benny
- Janeane Garofalo as Bridget
- Greg Cipes as Ryan
- Eddie Izzard as Nigel
- Richard Kind as Larry
- William Shatner as Kazar
- Patrick Warburton as Blaggar "Blag"
- Chris Edgerly as Cloak
- Bob Joles as Camo / Ringleader
- Lenny Venito as Stan
- Joseph Siravo as Carmine
- Colin Cunningham as Hyrax
- Colin Hay as Fergus Flamingo
- Miles Marsico as Duke
- Jack DeSena as Eze
- Jonathan Kimmel as Scab
- Eddie Gossling as Scraw
- Clinton Leupp as Mama Hippo
- Kevin Michael Richardson as Samson's father
- Dominic Scott Kay as Young Samson
- "The Wild (DVD)work=disneydvd.disney.go.com". The Walt Disney Company. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
- "The Wild (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- The Wild at Rotten Tomatoes
- Puig, Claudia (April 13, 2006). "'Wild': 'Madagascar' meets 'Lion King' meets 'Nemo'". USA Today. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
- Chang, Justin (April 12, 2006). "Review: The Wild". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
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