Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie

Movie review by
Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media
Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie Movie Poster Image
Interactive adventure has positive lessons, intense peril.
  • NR
  • 2021
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive messages.

Positive Messages

It's important to work hard to protect our planet. This can mean using less plastic in our everyday lives, not poaching or hunting wild animals, doing what we can to contribute to protection of wildlife and natural habitats.

Positive Role Models

Bear Grylls models composure under stress, making quick decisions that can mean the difference between survival or not. He demonstrates courage and perseverance under extreme conditions, pushing himself physically past the point of exertion to complete missions, which all involve protecting wildlife. He also takes risks that appear to put his life in danger regularly. Several times he has to be rescued from situations by park rangers.

Violence

Bear gets himself into perilous situations at every turn. These involve predatory animals (lions, leeches, sharks, boa constrictors), electrical wires, dangerous waters, precarious climbs, etc. The premise is that the interactive viewer makes choices that can lead to Bear's success or failure, and in some cases to bodily injury. We see blood several times, when he gashes a leg after a fall, pulls a leech off his arm, and finds a dead animal that he cuts up for meat. Gross-out factor when he has to choose between chewing or swallowing the leech and eating a worm or a berry.

Sex
Language

"Hell," "dung."

Consumerism

All Bear Grylls products. Alert viewers could catch brand icons on his gear, but the camera doesn't dwell on them noticeably. You vs. Wild is a TV show as well.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie will be fun for young viewers due to its interactive elements, but the constant dangers faced by star Bear Grylls could also be a little intense for them. Some very young viewers may feel an added layer of responsibility for choosing options that send Grylls into ever more precarious and sometimes losing situations. At some points, he injures himself only if you choose a specific action for him. Injuries include a fall off a cliffside into water when a rope he's repelling down breaks, leaving him with a gash in his leg, and a leech sucking blood from his wrist and then getting stuck inside his throat. The threats don't let up, from predatory animals to live electrical wires to precarious climbs. He shimmies across a cable hanging high above a canyon, crosses angry ocean waves in a makeshift raft, gets stuck on a rocky cliff he attempts to climb freestyle, is chased by a lion, and has to hide from poachers, among other adventures. There are some stunning close-up and aerial shots of wild animals as well as one carcass Grylls slices up for meat. The film has plenty of positive conservation messages, and Grylls models courage and perseverance. He concludes that survival in the wild, like in life, comes down to making good, sometimes quick decisions and thinking calmly under stress.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymiznap February 17, 2021

redic

This guy goes after a baboon with no apparatus but his bare hands. No net, no helpers. lures it with berries with no way to get it but his bare hands and gets i... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bybillycat20 October 25, 2021

What's the story?

In ANIMALS ON THE LOOSE: A YOU VS. WILD MOVIE, survivalist host Bear Grylls is sent on three missions at an animal sanctuary in South Africa. A power line is out, meaning the electrical fence keeping animals in (and predators and poachers out) isn't functioning. Restoring power to the downed lines is one mission; another is capturing a lion on the loose, and the third involves tracking down a lost baboon. Other missions arise along the way, such as when a researcher is threatened by the lion or when it becomes clear the wires were cut intentionally and poachers are after a herd of elephants. Every mission involves traversing dangerous terrain and confronting do-or-die situations, all of which the viewer helps Bear navigate by selecting options from a menu.

Is it any good?

Adventure-loving kids who can handle the intense peril will enjoy being part of the action in this movie. The concept of the interactive film only adds to the suspense of Bear Grylls' survivalist adventures. In Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie, you get to help Bear choose which missions to complete in what order, how to confront challenges, what to eat, and more. The choices force you to think through a variety of seemingly valid options, and sometimes you go wrong. In a couple of cases, your choices put Bear in greater danger. The intensity of the risks is offset by occasional humor, like Bear stepping in enormous elephant "dung" or the looks on his face as he chews up a leech or a crunchy worm. There's no question he's a captivating, not to mention outrageously fearless, guide.

The film appears to last 45 minutes on Netflix, but if you go back and try out alternative options, you can go for at least an hour and a half. The menu allows you to return to previous choices, and sometimes it suggests you start over completely, but you can't move ahead. The film is built for short attention spans, with frequent selections and no shortage of nail-biting situations set to dramatic music. The setting is gorgeous, filmed from luxurious aerial views as well as up-and-close camera angles, putting you in the action but regularly reminding you of the larger context. All in all, it's an entirely fun and surprisingly enriching adventure.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether Bear Grylls is in as much danger as he appears to be during Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie. Where could you find out more information about this?

  • Bear finds trash on even the remotest beaches of South Africa. What does he encourage us to do to cut down on this pollution?

  • How do you think some of these scenes were filmed -- for example, when he's in the water or hanging over the canyon on the cable?

  • Bear demonstrates courage and perseverance. While these may be obvious strengths in the wild, why are they also important character strengths in everyday life?

  • Would you eat a leech or a worm? How about meat cut from a carcass found on the plains?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love adventure

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate