The Wild Life full movie review - Underdog, 9.25 out of 10.
Hi, I was both happy (theater to myself) and sad/struck (nobody else (wants to?) came to watch it)) when I went to see this movie to realize there was absolutely no one in the room, but me.
1 person for a whole theater. I truly love full CGI movies, they are my favorites. And, I am not just talking about 'cartoons'/aimed-for-kids content CG movies, but more adult ones (there should be more of those but they don't fair well with audiences because of the uncanny valley problem and because the closer you get to reality, the less the 'it's CGI' it becomes; thus, it replicates reality so well, we can't detect it's CG; thus, it becomes a 'regular' filmed movie 'in reality' like every one else, with one major difference - the uncanny valley, humans' brain detects micro imperceptible things that just seem 'off' and immediately, then, know that it's CG and are 'put off' 'thrown off' 'taken aback' from the movie experience; it them becomes a jarring non-smooth/non-transparent viewing, because your brain reminds you each 5 seconds you are watching a CG movie - who truly wants to 'look real' but you know it isn't because you 'spotted the impostor' (you detected micro-things that are 'off' (made by computer) and it 'shows', it might be micro-stuff, thus not very big or that important since it's so small; but it's jarring for that reason, you can detect them - even if they are SO small, that's how powerful our eyes and brain is with this (our brain has been accustomed to viewing human faces, if one is slightly 'off' in realistic adult CG movie, game over - people smell the uncanny valley a 1000 miles ahead.). For this movie here, it's not important because it is in the vain of Pixar cartoon/for kids movies. They are not realistic 'adult' depiction of reality but a caricature 'cartoons' depiction of it. And that's OK. The farther you go away from the 'realistic look' combined with 'adult' content, the more you extinguish the uncanny valley effect. In this movie, they Want you to know it's CG; so it's both a good thing and a bad one. Good because it's a CG Animation movie (looks like a categorization effect), and a beautiful one at that; bad, because the same reason, it is categorization (pigeon holing/etiquette). I saw this movie and was dazzled...I don't understand the poor review and such low score; it definitely does not deserve such low score. It's true the jokes and the animation quality were not of the Pixar caliber; but we have to remember this is a smaller production, with a lower budget, by a mostly unknown company (n-Pictures from Belgium), with a Much smaller production crew (in fact for the Very Small size of the crew and manpower, this movie is an Utter Excellence Achievement). The thing that struck me immediately was the image quality was breath ta-kingly well rendered, with - tons - of detail everywhere. This is the Best of the best you can get for asset building and creation - Pixar movies with x100 times the budget and crew number can't even come close to that. For animation, though, of course having a bigger budget Pixar movies are obviously delivering more in the expressive 'realistically-styled' animation and funny, rich story/writing department that capture audience, that are the hallmarks of their movies. Their jokes are honed to perfection, they are masters are making jokes in their movies, with powerful expressive animation, timing (for the jokes delivery) and storytelling. The Wild Life can't deliver on these point, to the same degree. But it does a fair job. The sets are so beautiful to look at, I want to watch the movie again just for the sheer detail this small team was capable of pulling. One of the best sets, is the pirate ship and wrecked ships, they are so well made. The pirates themselves, Robinson Crusoe and the cats/animals on the island, are very cute and well made; they have a style of their own. I really liked that they made a quite realistic look to them, with very hi-resolution detailed textures. Like those two little rodents on the pirate ship's window talking to the parrot. A mouse and a rat, was funny, it was almost a nod to Ratatouille of Pixar, and they looked just as beautiful and nicely animated. I would the look in this movie, is a bit like Dreamworks CG movies look, it has some cartoons proportions - but is Very realistically 'shaded and lighting' (just like Pixar movies with realistic rendered look but cartoons caricature proportions). This makes for a cute movie but with quite impressive visuals. This movie is like an underdog, it should be higher but for everybody it falls flat because it goes up against huge CG movies like Pixar ones recent Finding Dory. Releasing The Wild Life at the same time as Finding Dory was going to be 'suicide', Finding Dory would crush it with impunity. I mean you just can't compare them in term of production value/budget, so it's unfair towards The Wild Life. If if had - been made by Pixar - with its same production values and the exact same story/not changing much anything besides adding more value/quality to animation/story/jokes.. - it would have had the success Of Finding Dory. That goes to show that - proportionally - for a small team of creative artists at n-Pictures - Pound for Pound, this movie destroys Findind Dory or any recent Disney-Pixar movie, including those Dreamworks ones (like Zootopia, Kungfu Panda-3, Life of Pets, etc, they have very fun subjects...are they better in general? nope, funnier/better/original story? yes.) For me, I give this a solid 9.25 out of 10, it's a very positioned-underdog with everything against it (money/time/production value) and (like a cult 'gem' movie that is 'un-understood' by the mass) that is worth a whole lot more than the crappy 5.2 score.