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The Wild Life

The Wild Life: Robinson Crusoe Retold in Amiable Animation

  • George Babbit
  • Action & AdventureAnimation...
  • Ben Stassen
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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The Wild Life: Robinson Crusoe Retold in Amiable Animation

The story of legendary fictional traveller and shipwreck survivor Robinson Crusoe, has received colourful 3D animated treatment in The Wild Life; a cheery, if not a little bland, story of an unlikely friendship told with a decent amount of energy. The film follows the basic plot of Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel, The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, but tells the story from the view of the animals.

The story is mostly narrated by a bright red and exceptionally chatty parrot named Mak (voiced by Howard), who dreams of one day leaving the seemingly magical and tropical paradise island in order to see what else is out there. His fellow islanders – an exotic mix of species including a goat named Scrubby (Camen), a curvy blueberry tapir named Rosie (Berzins) and super slick chameleon called Carmello (Metzger) – however, are not so worried about venturing beyond the edges of the island, content with their peaceful existence and their abundant supply of food.

Things soon take a surprising turn, when Crusoe’s ship smashes onto their shores and while all of the other animals are cautious in their approach to the seemingly clumsy and lanky ginger-haired man – and spend most of their time observing him and his loyal dog companion from a safe distance – Mak is a little more forthcoming and sees Crusoe as his ticket out of there. Realising that they are his only way of survival, Crusoe befriends his new animal buddies while the arrival of two savage cats poses a threat to them all.

Framing the story so that it is told entirely from the perspective of the animals, rather than through the eyes of Crusoe, definitely provides an interesting twist onto this old tale which is undoubtedly mostly unknown to the movie’s young target audience. The animation – although nowhere near as sophisticated as Disney or Pixar – is easy on the eye and co-directors Vincent Kesteloot and Ben Stassen – who previously worked together on A Turtle’s Tale : Sammy’s Escape From Paradise – infuse the story with plenty of colour and engrossing 3D imagery.

The difficulties, however, come with the excess amount of characters present in the storyline and their various accents – ranging from Scottish to Australian – which can get a little distracting at times, while the actual dialogue spoken could have done with a bit more imagination and oomph. Nevertheless, The Wild Life is still a relatively entertaining animated adventure of a famous adventurer which the youngsters will happily eat up. 

360 Tip

For a long time after Defoe’s novel was published, the public was convinced that Crusoe was a real man and that his story was based on real-life events. 

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