Director: Vincent Kisteloot, Ben Stassen
Screenwriter: Domonic Paris
Cast: Yuri Lowenthal, David Howard Thornton
Runtime: 91 mins
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Family
Review by Dave Griffiths
Move over Pixar and Dreamworks there is a new European player in the animation market. Belgium animation company Illuminata Pictures have been on the scene for nearly decade now but it is their new film Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life that has brought them to international attention. The good news for animation fans is that the film not only looks slick but has the odd moment of good humor and is smart enough to keep the youngsters well and truly entertained.
Based loosely on the classic Robinson Crusoe story the film is set on a deserted island that is home and paradise to a myriad of animals including a parrot that is convinced there is more to the world than their island, Tuesday (David Howard Thornton – Terrifier), a chameleon named Carmello (Colin Metzger – newcomer) and lazy tapir called Rosie (Laila Berzens – Heroes Of Newerth). The animal’s world is turned upside though when a shipwrecked Robinson Crusoe (Yuri Lowenthal – Ben 10: Alien Force) and his dog Aynsley (Doug Stone – Lilo & Stitch) are washed up on the island. While the two parties are original involved in a stand-off they soon group together when they come under attack from two feral cats, May (Debi Tinsley – A Little Off Mark) and Mal (Jeff Doucette – Doctor Dolittle) who plan on eating the animals and putting Crusoe back out to sea.
While literacy experts will probably be repulsed by the idea of Robinson Crusoe in a story that involves him fighting cats Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life turns out to be a fun film with more than a few laughs along the way. If you are thinking about taking young children to see this film though you should be aware that one of the animal characters meets a pretty grisly death that could generate the ‘death’ talk at the dinner table. Aside from that though the film does have some great morals on show with the film’s biggest storyline revolving around the ideal that you should get to know people that are different to you without judging them.
While many people consider any animation that doesn’t have the Pixar or Dreamworks logo on it to be inferior that certainly isn’t the case with Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life. The films animation is bright and probably on par with films like Rio while story wise the humor etc feels a lot like you are watching a film the Ice Age or Madagascar franchises. The film sets up May and Mal as pretty vicious bad guys and once one animal is bumped off you start to wonder whether or not any other animals are going to go south as well which certainly raises the suspense stakes throughout the film. In fact the films only main weakness is the fact that at times the chase sequences do go a little too long.
If you’ve got young children you may want to take them along to see Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life. The film is guaranteed to get some laughs out of your kids and will be lapped up by any children that love animals.