The Wild

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This article is about the 2006 animated film. For other uses, see Wild (disambiguation).
The Wild
The wild.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Steve "Spaz" Williams
Produced by Clint Goldman
Beau Flynn
Will Vinton (executive producer)
Screenplay by Ed Decter
John J. Strauss
Mark Gibson
Philip Halprin
Story by Mark Gibson
Philip Halprin
Starring Kiefer Sutherland
Jim Belushi
Janeane Garofalo
Greg Cipes
Eddie Izzard
Richard Kind
William Shatner
Patrick Warburton
Music by Alan Silvestri
Edited by Scott Balcerek
Steven L. Wagner
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release dates
  • April 14, 2006 (2006-04-14)
Running time
82 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $80 million
Box office $176 million[2]

The Wild is a 2006 American 3D computer animated adventure family comedy film directed by animator Steve "Spaz" Williams, written by Ed Decter, John J. Strauss, Mark Gibson and Philip Halprin, features the voices of Kiefer Sutherland, Jim Belushi, Janeane Garofalo, Greg Cipes, Eddie Izzard, Richard Kind, William Shatner and Patrick Warburton with music by Alan Silvestri and produced by Clint Goldman, Will Vinton (who serves as an executive producer) and Beau Flynn. The film was a C.O.R.E. Feature Animation and Walt Disney Pictures production, and it was distributed by Buena Vista Pictures. It was released to theaters on April 14, 2006 in North America, by Buena Vista Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures. The film received generally negative reviews from critics, and it earned $176,106,501 on a $80 million budget. The film also received a Artios Award nomination for Best Animated Voice-Over Feature Casting. A video game for Game Boy Advance based on The Wild was released to coincide with the film.


At the New York Zoo, a lion named Samson tells his son Ryan stories of his adventures in the wild, but Ryan fails to unleash his roar. That night, when the zoo closes, all the animals are free to roam. Samson and his friends, a squirrel named Benny, a giraffe named Bridget, an anaconda named Larry, and a koala named Nigel compete in a turtle curling championship while Ryan goes off with his friends. During the game, Ryan accidentally scares a herd of gazelle into a stampede, which ruins the game. Samson berates Ryan for putting the animals in danger, and they have a falling-out, which ends when Ryan storms off right before Samson can apologize. Ryan wanders into a green box and gets shipped away by a truck, which the legend tells will take him to the wild. With the help of a pigeon named Hamir, Samson and Benny go after him, sneaking into a garbage disposal truck, but Nigel, Larry, and Bridget are coming along 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, but Samson manages to lead them to the safety of the sewers without even scaring these dogs off. There, they take directions to the docks from two street wise alligator brothers, Stan and Carmine. The next morning, the group steals a tugboat while trying to locate the box Ryan is in. With the help of Larry, they drive the boat, but end up going into the wrong direction, away from Ryan's ship. Luckily, they reunite with Benny, who has enlisted a flock of Canada geese to help lead the group to the right direction of Ryan's ship. Days later, Nigel goes mad and, under the impression they have hit an iceberg, jumps overboard.

It soon turns out that the boat has run aground in Africa, where the group quickly discovers that all the animals in the area are being evacuated by the carriers, as a nearby volcano can erupt at any moment. They soon witness Ryan escaping, but he runs deep 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 grumpy hyrax. The rest of the group head back to the ship, but Samson decides to keep trying to find his son. He soon starts seeing plants and rocks change colors in a mysterious way. Meanwhile, Nigel is captured by a group of wildebeests, who dwell in the volcano. There, he is pronounced and hailed as 'The Great Him' by their leader, Kazar. This was based on an 'omen' Kazar received when he was a 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.

Meanwhile, Ryan hides up an old tree, but is attacked by a gang of vultures led by Scraw and Scab acting under orders from Kazar. The branch breaks and traps his paw. Samson hears Ryan's cries and runs to save him, scaring off the birds. The two reunite, but are interrupted by the wildebeests who were sent by Kazar. 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, was unable to roar. Samson's disappointed father claimed that if he had been born in the wild, he would've known how to roar before allowing him to be sent to the zoo, where he 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 falls off, and is captured and taken to the volcano.

Benny finds Samson and encourages him to be himself, even if he's not from the wild. They soon find out why the plants and rocks are changing colors: a group of chameleons led by Cloak and Camo were leading Samson to Ryan, and revealed that Ryan is trapped inside the volcano. Not only that, they want that Samson must go there, so they can also try to defeat Kazar's army of his kind. Samson uses the chameleons' camouflage abilities to slip into Kazar's lair. Inside the volcano, Nigel tries his best to stall the wildebeests from cooking his friends, which causes Samson to eventually appear. Samson decides to fight Kazar in order to protect Ryan and his friends, but ends up getting overwhelmed. Ryan, seeing Samson in danger, climbs onto a catapulting device and launches himself at Kazar, finally letting out a roar. With Kazar distracted, Samson attacks the evil wildebeest and manages to defeat him. Impressed, Ryan tells Samson that he is happy to have him for a dad, which touces the other wildebeests so much, they refuse to serve Kazar any further. Samson manages to gain the courage he has needed and roars powerfully enough to push back a charging Kazar. The animals, along with the wildebeests flee except Kazar, who is trapped in the erupting volcano. Samson, Ryan, Benny, Nigel, Bridget, Larry, Blag, Cloak, Camo, and the other wildebeests manage to escape on the boat and travel back to the New York Zoo.



The Wild opened in 2,854 theaters. The film earned $9.5 million in its first weekend at the box office, ranking #4.[2] 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 $139,722,455 worldwide including DVD sales. Its production budget, in contrast, was $80 million.[2] 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. In the United Kingdom and Sweden, The Wild is listed as being part of the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, although Disney's official canonical listing excludes the film. The original DVDs released in these countries label the film as a 'Disney Classic' with the Swedish listing placing The Wild in the list in place of Dinosaur.

Critical reception[edit]

The Wild received generally negative reviews. Rotten Tomatoes reports that 20% of critics gave the film a positive review with an average score of 4.5/10, based on 111 reviews. The consensus reads, "With a rehashed plot and unimpressive animation, there's nothing wild about The Wild."[3]

Madagascar similarities[edit]

Critics considered The Wild to be heavily derivative of the 2005 film, Madagascar. USA Today suggested that it was "the most wildly derivative animated movie in ages",[4] while Variety described it as "ultimately done in by the persistent stench of been-there-seen-that".[5] 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 film. 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 theaters first because of corporate espionage".[6] 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."[7]


Award Category Nominee Result
Artios Award Best Animated Voice-Over Feature Casting Jen Rudin and Corbin Bronson Nominated


The musical score is composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri.

The scores "Tales from the Wild", "You Can't Roar", and "Lost in the City" are only a few of the score tracks on the soundtrack. The soundtrack is available from Buena Vista Records. "Come Sail Away" by Styx is featured in the trailers, but not in the finished film.

Video game[edit]

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 blue wildebeest Kazar. The video game is rated "E" (for "Everyone") by the ESRB, with a note for Cartoon Sexual and Cartoon Violence.


  1. ^ "THE WILD (U)". British Board of Film Classification. March 17, 2006. Retrieved September 17, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Wild (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 8, 2011. 
  3. ^ The Wild at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ Puig, Claudia (April 13, 2006). "'Wild': 'Madagascar' meets 'Lion King' meets 'Nemo'". USA Today. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  5. ^ Chang, Justin (April 12, 2006). "Review: The Wild". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2013. 
  6. ^
  7. ^

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