The Wild (2006)

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Released 5-Feb-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Deleted Scenes
Music Video
Featurette-Eddie Izzard Unleashes, Meet Colin the Rock Hyrax
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 78:18
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (47:32) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Steve 'Spaz' Williams
Studio
Distributor
Disney
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Kiefer Sutherland
James Belushi
Eddie Izzard
Janeane Garofalo
William Shatner
Richard Kind
Case ?
RPI ? Music Alan Silvestri
Scott Balcerek
Steven L. Wagner


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Greek Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Bulgarian Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Slovak Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Czech
Hungarian
Greek
Bulgarian
Slovak
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Children's animated films are coming thick and fast but unfortunately the quality of them is quite variable. This one is a bit too similar to Madagascar and Over The Hedge to be one of the top-flight films, though it does have some things going for it.

    The plot involves a young lion, Ryan, who lives at New York Zoo with his father Samson (Keifer Sutherland). Samson constantly tells stories of his time in the wild and has a very impressive roar. Ryan can't roar yet and wishes he could be a brave lion like his father. In order to experience the world for himself, Ryan stows away in a shipping container bound for Africa. Once Samson and his friends discover Ryan missing they set out to rescue him. The friends include Nigel the Koala (Eddie Izzard) who is inexplicably British, Bridget the Giraffe (Janeane Garofalo), Benny the Squirrel (Jim Belushi) and a really dumb snake.

    The movie begins slowly and seems to move through set pieces which do little to advance the plot until the group of friends are on their way following Ryan. The pace and quality of the film pick up and the regular inclusion of wacky bit players adds to this effect. The overriding feeling from this film is one of wacky and at times surreal humour which is somewhat more adult-oriented than you might expect. Examples include some Indian pigeons, wildebeest who want to become predators but are also keen dance choreographers and Swiss maid-style dung beetles. Frankly, it as bit weird sometimes but certainly different. The biggest problem with this film is the leading characters, who are generally quite bland and lacking in personality and warmth. Another interesting difference with this film, compared to most animal-based animated features which try to add human characteristics to animals, is that it is really about humans who just happen to look like animals.

    I would not recommend this film for pre-schoolers as it is somewhat violent (for one of these films) and also a bit scary in parts, however it would probably be enjoyed by the 6-12 year old set. The animation is amazing, incredibly detailed (which is backed up by a top notch transfer) and very realistic. The look is quite different to the more stylised Madagascar or Over The Hedge.

    I can't really give this film a glowing recommendation but it is certainly not the worst of recent children's animated features.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is excellent.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio (16x9 enhanced) which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture is incredibly sharp and clear, no doubt driven by the high bit rate. The detail in fur, feathers and other items is very noticeable. There is no evidence of low level noise.

    The colour is also excellent, very well saturated and rendered.

    There are no noticeable artefacts.

    There are subtitles in six languages including English. All languages include a Hearing Impaired variant as well as the standard one. They are clear and easy to read.

    The layer change occurs at 47:32 and despite causing a noticeable pause is well placed at the beginning of a scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains six audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s and the same in Czech, Hungarian, Slovak, Greek and Bulgarian.

    Dialogue was clear and easy to understand and there are no problems with audio sync.

    The music consists mostly of pop songs but there is also a score by Alan Silvestri which certainly does its job while being unobtrusive.

    The surround speakers are used regularly for atmosphere such as jungle and bird noises along with some directional effects. Overall, the soundtrack is certainly immersive without being a real standout.

    The subwoofer is also used regularly for  thumps, thuds, tension and the lion's roar.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    For a major studio children's film, the extras are very ordinary.

Menu

    The menu includes music and motion and is quite cute and engaging.

Deleted Scenes (4:50)

    These are a combination of finished animation, unfinished animation and storyboards. None of them add any great insights but do show how much chopping and changing had been done on the plot during development. A director and producer commentary is available.

Music Video (3:20)

    A quite average video for Real Wild Child by Everlife.

Backstage Disney - Eddie Izzard Unleashed (3:29)

    Short featurette of footage showing Eddie Izzard recording his lines and ad-libbing.

Backstage Disney - Meet Colin the Rock Hyrax (2:18)

    Boring featurette about the guy chosen from the crew to play a character.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The only difference between all issues of the film globally are in languages and subtitles. A Draw.

Summary

    A wacky and sometimes surreal children's animated movie which is a little too much like previous films in the genre.

    The video quality is excellent.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are pointless.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
A couple of minor points - Gavin Bollard