Wild, The (Blu-ray) (2006)

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Released 22-May-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Deleted Scenes
Music Video-Everlife: Real Wild Child
Featurette-Eddie Izzard Unleashed
Featurette-Meet Colin: Rock Hydrax
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 81:36
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Steve 'Spaz' Williams
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Kiefer Sutherland
James Belushi
Eddie Izzard
Janeane Garofalo
William Shatner
Richard Kind
Greg Cipes
Case Amaray Variant
RPI ? Music Alan Silvestri


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Linear PCM 48/24 5.1
Swedish dts 5.1
Swedish Dolby Digital 5.1
Finnish dts 5.1
Finnish Dolby Digital 5.1
Danish dts 5.1
Danish Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Swedish
Finnish
Danish
Norwegian
Icelandic
Swedish Titling
Finnish Titling
Danish Titling
Norwegian Titling
Icelandic Titling
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

I bought a Blu-ray player during the closing days of December 2006. Those who also bought a player around the same time will know where I am going with this. Presented with a voucher redeemable for five free discs, I quickly made my choices and sent the voucher off to the promoter (along with another voucher to the offices of Sharp, that I remember visiting many, many moons ago). Long story short, I was absolutely baffled when I tried to choose from the discs on offer from the Disney stable. The choices boiled down to The Wild, Dinosaur, or Sky High, which looked like a complete lose-lose offering to me. Nonetheless, The Wild seemed like the least of three evils due to having a prominent giraffe on the cover art. Having a friend who really likes giraffes, I figured that this would at least be a good point of discussion when the disc (finally) arrived.

I should have trusted my original instinct and written None Of The Above on the form.

The frustrating thing about The Wild is that there might have been an opportunity for a good story to be told here, but the need to pitch this down to the four-year-olds soon wipes away any chance of that happening. Try as I might, I had to seriously peruse a lot of reviews and online information just to recall who the characters were. Never a good sign. The basic thrust of the story is that Ryan (Greg Cipes) is a young lion cub who is tired of the confines of the zoo and feels disappointed in his father, Samson (Kiefer Sutherland). This disappointment is mutual because Ryan has yet to "find his roar", as the dialogue puts it, or basically learned to roar at the top of his lungs like his father. A certain sixty-one-inch-tall Italian woman will be able to quote you chapter and verse on what watching this film with me would be like just from those two sentences. Cue lots of heavily-accented imitations of me groaning "oh, you have gotta be s***ting me...", and so forth. Ever heard a woman with a tenor/soprano voice and a very heavy Italian accent mimic a bass with minor Scottish inflections? Trust me, it will be a lot more entertaining than this film.

Anyway, Ryan's disappointment in Samson comes to a head when Ryan finds himself on a truck to destinations unknown, but vaguely summed up as "the wild". Through subterfuge as only a cliché-ridden Disney film knows how, Samson sets off in pursuit with a (possibly legally retarded) koala named Nigel (Eddie Izzard), a giraffe named Bridget (Janeane Garofalo), and a rather large snake named Benny (Jim Belushi), but soon a lot of incidents raise serious questions about the truth of Samson's stories regarding the proverbial wild and his times in it. By the way, if you guessed that the giraffe Bridget is an obnoxious b**** who thinks the world owes her a living simply because she is female, then you hit the other nail on the head about why this film continues to leave a bitter taste in my mouth. By far and away the most entertaining performance in the entire film is William Shatner as the primary antagonist, a wildebeest who goes by the name of Kazar. It speaks to the uneven and poorly-planned nature of the script that one could simply forward the disc to the scenes with Kazar and not miss anything even remotely important.

By now, I am sure the use of decidedly adult language in summing up my feelings toward this film will mislead you into believing that my reaction is based on seeing it through adult eyes. But the sad reality is that if you were to take a DVD of The Wild back to say... 1984... and show it to the five year old me, my response would consist of even more coarse language and admonitions to "turn this kiddie crap off", punctuated with punches if the initial requests are not complied with. In 1986 or 1987, queries as to what I had done to deserve "this Play School vomit", or more specifically what I was being punished for, would follow. And I would have been demanding real answers. When the film finally began to stop torturing me and the credits rolled, it just had to get a parting shot in by desecrating Iggy Pop's most well-known radio-oriented single, Wild Child. There are films that have done more to make me hate their makers, but these are few in number.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The film is pants. No, let me repeat that with the proper emphasis added: the film is pants. So, quite naturally, it gets a reference-quality video transfer.

The video transfer is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 within a 1920 by 1080 progressive window. If this is the same transfer as was on the Region A disc, then it is an AVC MPEG-4 encode.

This transfer is sharp. Individual hairs in the animals' coats can literally be counted. The flares in the irises of Ryan can be counted out even when he is a good distance from the camera. Simply put, this is proof positive that 1080-line, progressive video is the biggest move forward in home viewing since colour. The shadow detail of the transfer is excellent, and there is no low-level noise.

Those who are familiar with recent Pixar and Disney films will know what to expect in terms of colour. The palette is quite bright, although never unrealistic, and no bleeding or misregistration is in evidence.

Compression, film-to-video, and film artefacts were nowhere to be seen.

Subtitles are offered in English and English for the Hearing Impaired in case anyone wants to verify just how insidious and obnoxiously vapid the dialogue appears on paper. They are generally accurate to the spoken dialogue and well-timed, in other words.

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

Audio

A whopping eleven audio options are presented on this disc. And no, the dialogue does not sound any less insipid in any of the Scandinavian languages, even those I do not partially understand.

The first and second soundtracks are English. First is a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that also happens to be the default. Second is a Linear PCM soundtrack in 5.1 channels. Assuming again that this is the same Linear PCM soundtrack as was included on the Region A disc, it is in 48 kilohertz and 24 bits. Included in pairs of Dolby Digital and DTS are dubs in Swedish, Finnish, Danish, and Norwegian. Lastly, there is an Icelandic dub in Dolby Digital. Were the film not such an irredeemable waste, I would be inclined to suggest that the Icelandic audience is being shafted here. The Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks are both in the vanilla, lossy forms of each codec.

The dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. More's the pity. No audio sync errors were spotted.

Allow me to refer to part of the plot synopsis. A cover of Wild Child that sounds like it was performed by Miley Cyrus after inhaling enough helium to radically alter the planet's orbit. When this is the element of the film's music that stands out the most in spite of a score by Alan Silvestri, you know you have problems.

The surround channels are used constantly to separate environmental sounds from the rest of the soundtrack. While there are no standout uses of directional effects or split surrounds, the soundtrack does create a good soundfield that generally provides more entertainment than does the film. I certainly cannot fault this transfer, but nor can I say it does anything to rise above the film or make me commend it.

The subwoofer is used to augment the sounds of large animals moving, trucks being loaded, bulk containers being put in place, and roars. It is integrated well with the rest of the soundtrack and does not call undue attention to itself.

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

Extras

Proving that there is at least some taste in the audience out there, The Wild was reported to be something of a flop at theatres, making less than forty million dollars with a G rating and a distinct appeal to the usual target of Disney films. Fortunately, it appears that you can in fact go broke appealing to the lowest common denominator.

Menu

No Top Menu is provided on this disc. The Pop-Up Menu is well laid-out, easy to navigate, but sluggish to respond to the initial call from the remote control. On the positive side, it can be accessed from the special features, although it merely provides a Return To Film option there.

Movie Showcase

A collection of sequences from the film, out of context. Presented in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Total running time is three minutes and eight seconds, pauses notwithstanding.

Deleted Scenes

Sequences that were cut from the final film, usually in rough animatic form, and in SD at that. Presented with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio, total running time nine minutes and fifty two seconds.

Music Video - Everlife: Real Wild Child

Presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and film footage in 1.78:1, this three-minute, twenty-nine second music video makes me wish the Lindsay Lohan wannabe on vocals could hear me when I shout to give it up, she is not fooling anyone. For a song that was made popular by a man who, in the midst of heroin withdrawal, once crapped his pants on stage in full view of the audience, this is a sad, sad end.

Featurette - Eddie Izzard Unleashed

Presented in a 1.33:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and film footage in 1.78:1, this is a three minute and twenty-nine second collection of Eddie Izzard recording the dialogue for one of the worst characters in the film. Children who have built up their idea of how a koala behaves based on this film or this featurette are in for one hell of a disappointment.

Featurette - Meet Colin: Rock Hydrax

Another 1.33:1 featurette with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio and film footage in 1.78:1, for those keeping count. Two minutes and eighteen seconds.

R4 vs R1

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

From what I have read online, it appears that the Region A and Region B discs are pretty much equal. Since neither contain an apology from the filmmakers for this puke, my recommendation is to buy neither.

Summary

What??? You call that a roar!? Somewhere, I know that Pasi Äijö is laughing himself senseless at the idea that that is what Hollywood executives with more money than apparent sense call a roar. Hell, the pained screaming on songs like Gray Blow are less hilarious to listen to than what this film refers to as a roar. And as much as it pains me to say it, the rest of the film is even worse.

The video transfer is reference-quality.

The audio transfer is very good.

The extras are small in number and comparable to the film for quality.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Monday, July 21, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSharp AQUOS BD-HP20X, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic Viera TH-42PZ700A. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Iggy Pop DID NOT write "Real Wild Child" - Anonymous
To Follow on from the Previous post - Anonymous REPLY POSTED