Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring (voices of): Kiefer Sutherland, James Belushi, Greg Cipes, Eddie Izzard

Director: Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams

THE WILD is an animated feature for kids about a group of New York zoo animals who band together under the natural leadership of the King of the Jungle, Sampson the lion (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland), in search of Sampson’s son, Ryan, when he inadvertently becomes incarcerated in a container and shipped out to sea. Why was Ryan sleeping in the container in the first place? Well following a familiar Disney theme this lion cub wants to grow up and roar like his father so after an embarrassing series of incidents earlier he slouches off and proves to himself he is maturing by jumping the perimeter fence at the zoo. When Sampson hears his son’s frightened and fading yelps he glimpses the back of a disappearing truck, which consequently instigates this adventure into ‘the wild’ and jungle of New York City as Ryan’s trail leads them to the docks. Faced with the sight of a container ship leaving dock, desperate situations require desperate measures and Sampson and co haphazardly commandeer a tugboat in pursuit of the receding container ship which Ryan has stowed away on.

The rescuers – Sampson, Benny a squirrel, Bridget a giraffe and girl of Benny’s dreams, Larry an anaconda along with a koala Nigel – form a motley crew of strong, conflicting and hilarious personalities all with the same goal of finding the abducted Ryan – every parents’ nightmare!

A talented ensemble cast bring their characters to life including Kiefer Sutherland’s (24 TV series) distinctive voice, but Nigel (voiced by Eddie Izzard), the cuddly koala and the zoo’s marketing star was the unanimous favourite amongst the kids I took to the press screening. I personally liked the two chameleons Cloak and Camp and the ingenious way their camouflage abilities were used to the rescuers’ advantage in tracking down and saving Ryan. Oops, sorry for the plot spoiler but this is a Disney film after all!

An entertaining and reasonably absorbing movie with many laughs along the way, THE WILD won’t be too taxing for all those parents accompanying their youngsters either.

4 out of 6 stars