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A cuddly koala who wants to be fierce, a squirrel in love with a sarcastic giraffe, an addle-pated anaconda, and a lion with a secret set off from their cozy zoo to rescue the lion's adolescent cub from an accidental kidnapping. After braving the dangers of the big city and stealing a boat, they find themselves in the African jungle, where a renegade herd of wildebeest have decided they want to change their position on the food chain (understandable, really). The Wild is hodgepodge--it's never clear why these mismatched creatures are friends and plot elements seem haphazardly plucked from Finding Nemo, Madagascar, and Ice Age: The Meltdown (though the latter two were made at the same time as The Wild, so it's just unfortunate for this movie that they came out first). Despite a general air of manic desperation, The Wild does have its strengths: The animation is richly realistic, leading to some gorgeous depictions of light (not exactly a selling point for kids, but adults can appreciate it). Several characters pop out--a pair of sewer crocodiles sound like NPR's Car Talk guys; William Shatner (Star Trek, Boston Legal) is effectively scary as the cult-leader/choreographer of the wildebeest; and comedian Eddie Izzard lends some of his trademark smart and silly humor to Nigel, the disgruntled koala bear. Successful bits and pieces don't make for a great movie, but they keep The Wild from the brink of disaster.

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WD37088 Wild DVD (2006/Kiefer Sutherland) $15.99 $14.49