THE WILD LIFE – A Review by John Strange

By: John ‘Doc’ Strange
The Wild Life is the latest retelling of the Robinson Crusoe legend from Lionsgate.  This tale differs from previous versions in that the story is told from the prospective of the various animals that live on the group of small islands where Crusoe’s ship wrecks during a terrible storm.  The main storyteller is Mak the parrot (named Tuesday by Crusoe). 
Of all of the animals living on the islands, only Mak/Tuesday is unhappy with his life.  He truly wants to see the world but the rest of the animals are very happy with their lives.  They are happy just enjoying life in their idyllic setting. 
Tuesday and the other animals are scared and uncertain about the strange creatures who emerge from the wrecked ship.  The human and his dog, Aynsley, are as frightened by the creatures as they are of him.
As in the other versions of the legend, Robinson Crusoe still builds a tree house, in fact, a really cool tree house.  This is pretty much where the story begins to leave the legend behind.  The Wild Life is more a story about the talking animals than about the humans in their midst.
Mak/Tuesday is unhappy with his life on the island but the rest of the animals are very happy with their lives.  They are happy eating and just enjoying life in their idyllic existence. 
Folks, I would love to wax eloquently about the storyline of this film but I can’t.  It is a nice sort of kid-friendly plot.  It feels like the writers started off to write a Robinson Crusoe film and were given the additional direction about the cute animals.  At that point the story took a swerve and became what we were shown, a film about talking animals that just happens to use Robinson Crusoe and the pirates as a reason to exist.
The ship’s cats inhabit the villain’s berth in the story instead of the pirates.  The human pirates are too inane to be true villains.  These felines are a bit too over-the-top for most adults to enjoy, though I expect the kids to love them.
I feel that the film will do OK in the theaters but will truly hit its stride in the DVD/VOD market.  Adults will be able to set the film playing and then sit and read while the kids enjoy themselves.
Directed by: Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen
Cast: Yuri Lowenthal, David Howard, Laila Berzins, Joey Camen, Sandy Fox, Colin Metzger, Marieve Herington, Jeff Doucette
MPAA Rating: PG (for mild action/peril and some rude humor)
Selig Rating: 3 Stars
Runtime: 90 Min.
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