The Wild Life parents guide

The Wild Life Parent Review

Although this Robinson Crusoe adaptaion is only 90 minutes long, it moves along at a plodding and tedious pace.

Overall B-

The animals of a small, uninhabited island are curious when a shipwrecked stranger (voice of Yuri Lowenthal) washes ashore. This take-off of the Robinson Crusoe story is told from the perspective of a parrot (voice of David Howard).

Violence B
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A-
Substance Use C

The Wild Life is rated PG for mild action/peril and some rude humor.

Movie Review

Life on a tropical island looks like paradise to most, but not to a bored parrot (voice of Kaya Yanar) who is sure better adventures lurk in faraway bluer oceans. Then, much to his surprise and delight, all the excitement he could hope for washes ashore in the form of a shipwreck. While the broken oddities and splintered boat are interesting, nothing is more amazing than the human being who emerges from the rubble.

NEW: Listen to our Parent Previews Podcast and take control of media and technology in your family!

As it turns out, the castaway is Robinson Crusoe (voice of Matthias Schweighöfer), a character made famous in Daniel Defoe’s classic novel. This version of the story is told through the eyes of the parrot who is eventually named Tuesday, and the rest of the bird’s animal pals: Rosie the Tapir (voice of Ilka Bessin), Carmello the chameleon (voice of Gerald Schaale), Pango the aardvark (voice of Tobias Lelle), Scrubby the goat (voice of Dieter Hallervorden), Epi the porcupine (voice of Aylin Tezel) and another feathered friend called Kiki (voice of Melanie Hinze).

Told with all the depth of a Saturday morning cartoon, and looking like the graphics from a video game, this animation simplifies the plot and presents a bumbling Englishman attempting to survive on his own. Feeling sorry for the inept soul, the indigenous creatures lend a wing and a paw to help him build a nest in a large tree. Of course plenty of slapstick antics ensue.

Not all of the danger is harmless however. Some drunken pirates make an appearance and try to force the landlubber to join their ranks. And a couple of mangy cats (voiced by Ghadah Al-Akel and Tommy Morgenstern), that also managed to escape the sinking ship, prove to be an ongoing threat. Angry and hungry the pair resolve to seek vengeance on the man, wreak havoc on the larger critters, and eat the smaller ones. (They do succeed in killing a character, and that death is depicted.) The felines have a secret weapon as well – their ability to multiply! Soon their increased population is invading the whole ecosystem.

Although The Wild Life is only 90 minutes long, it moves along at a plodding pace. The script has little intelligence to share, including (thankfully) any of the agendas many moviemakers seem determined to impart to an impressionable audience. For young viewers, the very black and white characters, silly action and not too scary bad guys may be mildly entertaining. However, it is probably safe to say, most of the adults who accompany them will be as eager to get off this tedious island as Tuesday and Robinson Crusoe.

Directed by Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen. Starring Yuri Lowenthal, David Howard. Running time: 90 minutes. Theatrical release September 9, 2016. Updated

Get details on profanity, sex and violence in The Wild Life here.

The Wild Life Parents Guide

By definition, an invasive species is one that is not native to its location, and reproduces/spreads to such a degree that it is considered harmful to its environment. Examples of this in real life include the introduction of rabbits into Australia, or the spread of Killer Bees. How do the cats in this film fit this description? How might too many of any animal be a problem for the survival of other animals living in a small space, like the island?

As Robinson Crusoe makes the island more habitable for himself, he also makes life easier for his furry and feathered friends. What are the benefits of these lifestyle changes? What are the dangers of domesticating wild animals?