The Wild

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The Wild
The wild.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed bySteve "Spaz" Williams
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Mark Gibson
  • Philip Halprin
Produced by
Edited by
  • Scott Balcerek
  • Steven L. Wagner
Music byAlan Silvestri
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures[2]
Release date
  • April 14, 2006 (2006-04-14)
Running time
82 minutes[3]
Budget$80 million[5]
Box office$102.3 million[6]

The Wild is a 2006 American-Canadian computer-animated adventure comedy film directed by animator Steve "Spaz" Williams and written by Ed Decter, John J. Strauss, Mark Gibson and Philip Halprin. It features the voices of Kiefer Sutherland, Jim Belushi, Janeane Garofalo, Greg Cipes, Eddie Izzard, Richard Kind, and William Shatner.

Produced by Walt Disney Pictures, Hoytyboy Pictures, Sir Zip Studios and Contrafilm,[2][1] it was animated by C.O.R.E. Feature Animation. It was released to theaters in North America on April 14, 2006 by Buena Vista Pictures and earned $102 million on an $80 million budget. Prior to release, it received moderately negative reviews by critics for its animation style and similarities to DreamWorks Animation's Madagascar, although some critics argued that the film was better than Madagascar. The film also received an Artios Award nomination for Best Animated Voice-Over Feature Casting. A video game for the Game Boy Advance was released to promote the film.


At the Central Park Zoo, Samson the Lion tells his son Ryan stories of his adventures in the Wilds of Africa. When the zoo closes, all the animals are free to roam. Samson, Benny the squirrel who is his best friend, Bridget the giraffe who clearly not interested in Benny trying to get her to go out with him, Larry the dim-witted anaconda, and Nigel the unlucky koala compete in a turtle curling championship while Ryan visits friends. Ryan accidentally causes a stampede which heads to the game. Samson and Ryan argue, and Ryan storms off before Samson can apologize. Ryan wanders into a green Intermodal container just a few moments before he gets shipped away by a truck, which the legend tells will take him to the wild. With the help of a pigeon, Hamir, Samson, Nigel, Larry, and Bridget go after him, sneaking into a garbage disposal truck and Benny sacrifices himself to let the others go find Ryan by falling overboard. After passing through Times Square and nearly being crushed in the garbage disposal, the group encounters a pack of rabid stray dogs. Samson escapes through the sewer rather than fighting (as his friends expect for him to do). There, they take directions to the docks from two streetwise alligator brothers, Stan and Carmine. The next morning, the four friends steal a tugboat during a hectic escape from the harbor. With help from Larry, they drive the boat and reunite with Benny, who faked his death and has enlisted a flock of Canada geese to help lead the crew toward Ryan's ship. Days later, Nigel has cabin fever and, under the impression they have hit an iceberg, jumps overboard.

The boat runs aground in Africa, where all the animals in the area are being evacuated by the carriers, as a nearby volcano is about to erupt. They witness Ryan run into the jungle. Samson attempts to find him. After failing to eat a crude hyrax, it soon becomes clear that Samson has never been in the wild before, to which he forlornly confirms. The rest of the group heads back to the ship, but Samson continues to search for his son. While walking, Samson sees plants and rocks change colors. Nigel is abducted by a group of wildebeests who reside in the volcano, and their wicked leader Kazar, pronounces him "The Great Him," based on an "omen" he received when he was young: about to be devoured by lions, a toy koala fell 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 hostage.

Ryan hides up an old tree, but a gang of vultures led by Scraw and Scab attack him under orders from Kazar. The branch breaks and traps his paw. Samson hears Ryan's cries and runs to save him, scaring off the vultures. The two reunite but are interrupted by a herd of wildebeests. Ryan is shocked when Samson tells him to run. The two retreat to a tree where Samson reveals the truth about his past. He was born in the circus and like Ryan, was unable to roar. Samson's volatile father disowned him and allowed him to be sent to the zoo, where he lied to avoid the humiliation. The wildebeests discover them and, in the chaos, send the tree over the cliff, with Samson still hanging on. Ryan is captured and taken to the volcano.

After a run-in with a group of female German dung beetles, Benny finds Samson and gives him the confidence to be himself, even if he is not from the wild. They find two chameleons named Cloak and Camo, who were leading Samson to the volcano and are also trying to defeat Kazar's army. Samson uses the chameleons' camouflage abilities to slip into Kazar's lair. Nigel tries his best to stall the wildebeests from cooking his friends, and eventually, Samson fights Kazar but is quickly beaten. Ryan, seeing Samson in danger, climbs onto a catapulting device and launches himself at Kazar, finally letting out a roar. With Kazar distracted, Samson manages to overpower 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 needs and roars powerfully enough to push back a charging Kazar. The group and the wildebeests flee, except for Kazar, who is trapped in the erupting volcano, in which he gets crushed to death by a falling rock. They manage to escape on the boat and travel back to New York.


Non-Speaking characters including


In March 2006, for a month-long "spring break" engagement exclusive to the El Capitan Theater, theater patrons were treated to a live performance of exotic birds which were accompanied by their keepers from the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens before a screening of the film.[7]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD and VHS on September 12, 2006. The DVD was accompanied with a filmmakers' commentary, five deleted scenes, bloopers, and a music video of Everlife's "Real Wild Child".[8] However, the VHS version was only an exclusive for the Disney Movie Club. On its first weekend, the film debuted at number one selling 787,779 DVD units.[9] At the end of its initial home video release, the film earned $43.2 million.[10] On November 21, 2006, the film was released on Blu-ray.[11]


Box office[edit]

During its opening weekend, the film grossed $9.6 million at the box office, ranking fourth behind Scary Movie 4, Ice Age: The Meltdown, and The Benchwarmers.[12] The Wild grossed $37.4 million in the United States and $64.9 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $102.3 million.[6]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 19% based on 111 reviews and an average rating of 4.49/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "With a rehashed plot and unimpressive animation, there's nothing wild about The Wild."[13] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 47 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[14] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.[15]

Jonathan Rosenbaum of the Chicago Reader wrote that "The CGI characters seem less like artwork than humans wearing animal suits, but despite the overall ugliness and sitcom timing, this has enough action, violence, and invention to keep kids amused."[16] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three stars out of four. He praised the film's animation, but acknowledged the film's realism ventured towards the uncanny valley. He remarked that the "framing of some of the characters is too close; they hog the foreground and obscure the background. And the fur, hair and feathers on the creatures look so detailed, thanks to the wonders of CGI, that once again we're wandering toward the Uncanny Valley."[17]

Marc Savlov, reviewing for The Austin Chronicle, wrote "The animation is top-notch, and the film sports some of the most realistic and colorful fur, feathers, and hair this side of Fashion Week in Milan. However, The Wild feels as though much of its backstory, along with most of the good jokes, have been cut out along the circuitous path to your neighborhood cineplex, resulting in a finished film that will probably delight the under-10 set, while leaving everyone else marveling at how bored they are."[18] Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film two stars out of four writing: "Though dull, there are three reasons one might want to see the film: The computer animators' ability to realistically represent animal fur is nothing short of dazzling. So detailed are the lion's mane and squirrel's tail that younger viewers could mistake it for a petting zoo."[19]

Comparisons to Madagascar[edit]

Critics considered The Wild to be heavily derivative of the 2005 DreamWorks film, Madagascar. Claudia Puig, reviewing for USA Today, suggested that The Wild was "the most wildly derivative animated movie in ages. It borrows its theme from Finding Nemo and Cats & Dogs, copies elements of The Jungle Book, The Lion King and All Dogs Go To Heaven and has a shockingly similar plot to Madagascar."[20] Similarly, Justin Chang of Variety felt "Samson's rescue mission directly channels the father-son Sturm und Drang of both The Lion King and Finding Nemo, though absent the former's powerhouse dramatics or the latter's eye-popping visual splendor." In summary, he wrote that "Uninspired character animation and obnoxious banter aside, The Wild is ultimately done in by the persistent stench of been-there-seen-that."[2]

A few critics defended The Wild as the superior film. Michael Wilmington of the Chicago Tribune wrote "The Wild is better, mostly because it has some truly spectacular animation and because the cast is just as likable—even, in some cases, preferable."[21] Mike Sage of the Peterborough This Week 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".[22] 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."[23]


Award Category Nominee Result
Artios Award Best Animated Voice-Over Feature Casting Jen Rudin and Corbin Bronson Nominated
2006 Stinkers Bad Movie Awards Worst Animated Film Disney Nominated


The musical score is composed and conducted by Alan Silvestri who also composed Lilo & Stitch.

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. "Free Ride (song) " By The Edgar Winter Group & "Come Sail Away" by Styx is featured in the trailers.

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 "E" rated (for "Everyone") by the ESRB, with a note for Mild Cartoon Violence.


  • 2006: Irene Trimble: Disney the Wild Novelisation, Parragon, ISBN 1-40546-612-X


  1. ^ a b c d "The Wild (2006)". British Film Institute. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Chang, Justin (April 12, 2006). "Review: The Wild". Variety. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  3. ^ "THE WILD (U)". British Board of Film Classification. March 17, 2006. Retrieved September 17, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "The Wild (2006) - Steve "Spaz" Williams, Steve 'Spaz' Williams, Steve "Spaz" Williams, Steve Williams | Synopsis, Characteristics, Moods, Themes and Related | AllMovie".
  5. ^ "The Wild (2006) - Financial Information". The Numbers.
  6. ^ a b "The Wild (2006)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  7. ^ "El Capitan Theatre Goes Wild for Spring Break". Los Angeles Times. April 7, 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  8. ^ "A Wild DVD". Animation World Network. September 14, 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  9. ^ "United States DVD Sales Chart for Week Ending September 17, 2006". The Numbers. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Wild (2006)–Video Sales". The Numbers. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  11. ^ "The Wild Blu-ray".
  12. ^ Gray, Brandon (April 17, 2006). "'Scary Movie 4' Cracks Easter Record". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  13. ^ "The Wild (2006)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  14. ^ "The Wild Reviews". Metacritic.
  15. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  16. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan (April 27, 2006). "The Wild". Chicago Reader. Archived from the original on April 23, 2006. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  17. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 13, 2006). "The Wild Movie Review & Film Summary (2006)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved December 5, 2019.
  18. ^ Savlov, Marc (April 14, 2006). "The Wild". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved July 24, 2019.
  19. ^ Rickey, Carrie. "Animated 'The Wild' an only mildly amusing critter caper". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  20. ^ Puig, Claudia (April 13, 2006). "'Wild': 'Madagascar' meets 'Lion King' meets 'Nemo'". USA Today. Retrieved October 9, 2013.
  21. ^ Wilmington, Michael. "Movie review: 'The Wild'". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on March 9, 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2019.
  22. ^ "It's no Lion King but Disney offering has its moments". 19 April 2006.
  23. ^ "The Wild". Archived from the original on 2013-12-16. Retrieved 2013-07-06.

External links[edit]