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The Wild

By Violet LeVoit | Posted 4/19/2006

Man, what is it about Disney and lions? Ryan (Greg Cipes) is no Simba, that’s for sure. He can’t roar like his dad, Samson (Kiefer Sutherland), the star attraction of the “New York Zoo,” and that just burns him up. In a pubescent snit, he sneaks aboard one of the zoo’s mysterious “green boxes,” only to be loaded onto a cargo freighter for parts unknown. It’s up to Samson, Bridget the cranky giraffe (Janeane Garofalo), Benny the squirrel (Jim Belushi), Nigel the improbably British koala (Eddie Izzard), and Larry the boa (Richard Kind) to commandeer a tugboat to the jungle so they can save Ryan from the clutches of a carnivorous wildebeest doomsday cult. The smarty-pants brigade may wonder why the big cats haven’t eaten the rest of the cast 15 minutes into this fiasco, but even those who can suspend their disbelief like David Copperfield’s lovely assistant will want to know: Why are the pigeons Hindi? Why are the dung beetles German? Why is that wildebeest break-dancing? The movie’s only occasion of excellence is the bristly, sweaty, gnarled, and fuzzy skins of the menagerie, textured so convincingly you just wanna scrunch their fuzzy widdle cheeks. Hey, if the director wants to be billed as “Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams,” don’t complain that you ain’t getting Miyazaki.

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