The Wild



Unoriginal, sometimes scary animated animal movie for kids.
  • Review Date: September 6, 2006
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Father learns his lifetime of lying to son is not good; son learns to appreciate father; all the animal friends pull together to rescue the cub; the wildebeests, however, are scary soldiers and thugs until the very end. Some stereotypes.

Violence & scariness

Vultures loom over heroes from tree branches and swoop down; wildebeests are frightening (mechanical/dream version has red eyes and steamy breath); wildebeest attacks accompanied by heavy music; when lion cub is shipped off in container, he's afraid and screams for dad; lion slaps pigeons to get information; garbage truck almost squishes giraffe inside; fierce, foaming-at-the-mouth dog pack menaces heroes (koala hits them with toy torch); shadowy alligators briefly scary in sewer; storm at sea is briefly scary; lion threatens to eat hyrax; hippo tries to squash lion cub; father lion fights off wildebeests with huge roar; volcano blows up at end, injuring the chief wildebeest.

Sexy stuff

Squirrel with crush on giraffe kisses her ("Your daily dose of Vitamin Benny," which she repeats at film's end), makes "romantic" remarks (slaps his own butt and says he rides a goose "bareback.")


Some phrases might catch children's attention ("I've got popcorn up my bum," "olfactory insult").


Passing through Times Square, animals see array of product names, including McDonalds, Quaker Oats, Toys R Us, Kodak, TiVo; koala bear and lion are marketed by zoo (via stuffed toys and billboards).

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that film includes some scenes where the lion cub is frightened by noises, darkness, and a storm at sea. The primary villains are hostile, shadowy wildebeests who perform "African" ritual dances and chants, with comic choreography, and announce an intention to seize power by becoming "predators" and "carnivores." Their efforts to eat the other characters lead to a conflict. The wildebeests live in a volcano cave, so lighting is red and fiery; eventually the volcano explodes and the friends barely escape (some tension created). A squirrel with a crush on a female giraffe makes a couple of sexual references (he rides a goose "bareback" and uses this moment to make a sexual advance toward her; he considers his size in comparison to the giraffe). The father lion lies to his son about his own past, and must eventually confess and be forgiven. Characters are stereotyped by nationality or ethnicity: a Canadian goose says "Eh"; an "East Indian" pigeon speaks with accent and dances as if in a Bollywood movie; a British koala bear is snobbish.

What's the story?

In THE WILD, Samson (Kiefer Sutherland) and son Ryan (Greg Cipes) live in a NYC zoo, fed every day and surrounded by friends -- a squirrel named Benny (James Belushi), sensible giraffe Bridget (Janeane Garofalo), a koala called Nigel "from the streets of London" (Eddie Izzard), and goofy snake Larry (Richard Kind). By day they perform for human visitors; by night they leave their cages and head to the ice rink. Ryan brings on a life-changing crisis when he hides out in a container used to ship animals. Arriving at the gate just in time to see his son being hauled off and screaming "Help me!", Sam decides to find out where the truck is headed, threatening a pigeon, the jittery and heavily accented Hamir: "Just tell me where the green boxes go!" he hisses. The friends make their way to an island jungle, where they are threatened by a tribe of real wildebeests, led by the ambitious Kazar (William Shatner in full-on bluster).

Is it any good?


The Wild follows yet another animated father and son, both wanting earnestly to win over the other. In fact, every element of the movie is recognizable from another, better one: The father must rescue his missing son (Finding Nemo). A group of city zoo animals travel to a jungle (Madagascar, not exactly better, just first). The bad characters perform "tribal" rituals and threaten violence (take your pick, including The Lion King and King Kong).

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the ways that both father and son learn from one another. How do the friends each contribute a talent or specific energy to the adventure, so the movie can offer lessons in diversity and generosity?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:April 14, 2006
DVD release date:September 12, 2006
Cast:James Belushi, Janeane Garofalo, Kiefer Sutherland
Director:Steve Spaz Williams
Studio:Buena Vista
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Wild animals
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:all audiences

This review of The Wild was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 12 years old April 9, 2008


Well this movie is just OK. It's mostly like Madagascar adn Lion King. The only good part about this movie is the animation. I was watching it w/ my mom becuz she likes these kinds of movies and I lost everything that happended it got really boring and when someone is lost it's just not like panicing enough like you would do if one of your family is missing. But this is a good kid's movie and family. I would recommend this to 4 or older.
Kid, 12 years old March 5, 2010

The wildest movie around

This movie is great. Stop making this movie look like an idiot. It's cool. It's fun. Stop bashing it!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byb1mb03 April 9, 2008

we waqlked out

my kids, age 11 and 8, both wanted to leave this film in the middle of it. It was very uncomfortabale for them to sit thru. I do not recommned this film for anycild under the age of 13. Do not waste your money.


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