The Wild Life, C
Rated PG, 90 minutes
The cute but flimsy new Belgian animated flick "The Wild Life" isn't so wild. Dubbed for English audiences, it's a very loose retelling of the Robinson Crusoe story from the point of the animals. While it works sporadically for very young kids, the choppy film misses the mark in many ways. Times are good for Mak the parrot (David Howard), Scrubby the goat (Joey Camen), Carmello the chameleon (Colin Metzger) and the rest of the wildlife that inhabit a tropical island, until a mysterious sailor named Robinson Crusoe (Yuri Lowenthal) washes ashore, the only human survivor of a terrible storm that destroyed his ship. As the animals get to know their peculiar new guest, they find him to be a useful ally when two conniving cats (Kyle Hebert, Marieve Herington) try to seize control of their exotic paradise. Co-directed by Vincent Kestleloot and Ben Stassen, the uneven animated movie "The Wild Life" has colorful visuals and a good heart, but lacks coherent storytelling and an emotional investment to make it a memorable viewing. Scrubby the goat and Rosie the Tapir get in a few good moments (especially when Scrubby finally gets some much needed glasses), but otherwise there's not a lot going on here, with some villainous cats who seem too lazy to get anything truly evil accomplished. Many of the hijinks seems like unnecessary filler, with the extended climax having the cats chase the animals around and around, accomplishing very little to the already very thin narrative that's about as loosely based on the Robinson Crusoe tale as you can get. "The Wild Life" is a likable, thin piece of fluff that needs to be sent back out to sea.