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Western Animation / The Wild

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The Circle of Life meets the Big Apple.
A movie distributed by Disney (but made by the now-defunct Canadian C.O.R.E. Feature Animation studio) starring Samson the lion (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) and his son, Ryan (voiced by Greg Cipes), a squirrel named Benny (voiced by Jim Belushi), an anaconda named Larry (voiced by Richard Kind), a giraffe named Bridget (voiced by Janeane Garofalo), and a koala named Nigel (voiced by Eddie Izzard).

When a disastrous attempt to prove himself leads to a falling out with his dad, Ryan is accidentally shipped away to the African wild. A remorseful Samson searches for him with help from his friends, but during their search, they notice Samson's odd behavior, unusual for a lion of his caliber. Things get worse when the gang encounter wildebeest led by the wicked and insane Kazar (voiced by William Shatner) who wants wildebeests to become top of the food chain.


The Wild provides examples of:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Happens to Butt-Monkey Nigel after learning that Kazar and his wildebeest worship him like a god, but he quickly snaps out of it upon learning that his friends are to be sacrificed and proceeds to stall until Samson shows up.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Ryan is stated to be 11 years old in the movie. Even though he's still a cub, realistically a lion his age would be considered middle-aged. note 
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  • Ascended to Carnivorism: The wildebeest. Kazar tries to anyway. Blag and the rest of his minions don't really want to become predators but Kazar browbeats them into following him. They finally stand up to him at the climax.
  • Aside Glance: Kazar looks toward the camera when he is seconds away from getting crushed by the koala shrine.
  • Bad Boss: Kazar treats Blag and other wildebeest quite poorly. At one point, after learning that they only brought in Ryan for the sacrifice, Kazar decides that the lion cub will only be enough for his own ascending and doesn’t give a hoot about what happens to the others. Naturally, the others get fed up with him by the end and perform a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Bicep Kiss: The giant wildebeest in Samson’s exaggerated story kisses his absolutely humungous biceps.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Samson (a lion) and his best friend Benny (a squirrel) are naturally this.
  • Butt-Monkey: Nigel. While all the characters suffer splatstick comedy throughout the film, Nigel is far more susceptible to it by a wide margin. His intro involves him suffering a Groin Attack and then getting mobbed by flamingos.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Larry is not the sharpest snake, though he has his rare moments of accidental insight.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: The antagonists are a herd of wildebeests... with near-flawless dance moves.
  • Covers Always Lie: The posters for this movie seem to imply that the sewer alligators are the villains. In the movie, they're actually friendly characters who don't really play a big part of the movie other than leading Samson and his friends to the Statue of Liberty.
    • Too add, on most of the advertising prominently features the characters in New York. They are only in the city for the first half of the movie, and they spend less time there than at the zoo, boat, and jungle.
  • Dance Party Ending: The film ends with the crew and the wildebeests dancing on the ship. This extends into the credits with the crew, the wildebeests, the minor zoo animals, and the residents of the Wild dancing to "Real Wild Child".
  • Disney Villain Death: Towards the ending of the movie, Kazar is crushed to death by the rocks as the volcano erupts.
  • Dragon-in-Chief: A bizarre case - whilst Kazar and the wildebeests worship Nigel as "The Great Him" and, ostensibly, serve his will, it's clear that Nigel is basically Kazar's prisoner and possesses little in the way of actual authority
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Larry the anaconda is normally silly and aloof, but his stroke of brilliance comes when he suggests that they use their "secret plan" from curling to beat the wildebeests.
  • Fluorescent Footprints: Samson attempting to tap into his instincts to track down Ryan starts seeing arrows and designs in the scenery leading him, and he assumes this is just how it works, but it is subverted when it is revealed to be chameleons secretly leading the way.
  • Gasshole: The hyrax lets out little farts almost every time he takes a step.
  • Genial Giraffe: Bridget the giraffe is nice despite being a bit of a Deadpan Snarker, mostly towards Benny who has a crush on her.
  • Green Gators: Stan and Carmine are green. An unusual example in that the film uses a realistic art style. So they look just like real crocodiles, except they're green. Granted, they aren’t a bright green like most alligator depictions.
  • Hate Sink: There is a lot of reasons for the viewers to hate Samson's father. He forces his son to roar at a mechanical wildebeest, showing zero support when the poor cub is nervous, and when he is unable to, he gets put in a cage. His father is also fine with Samson getting taken away to the zoo with zero remorse. All these make that lion even more despicable than Kazar.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Kazar's lieutenant Blag and the rest of the wildebeests are repeatedly threatened and abused by their boss to follow his insane plan of wildebeests becoming predator. They finally stand up to him in the climax.
    Kazar: What are you doing? I command you to attack them! Like true predators!
    Blag: We're tired of pretending to be something we're not. But most of all, we're tired of you.
  • High Koala-ty Cuteness: Nigel is known to be "cute and cuddly" by the public, though he is sick of this. He is really grouchy, though despite this, he's pretty good friends with most of the main cast.
  • Hollywood Chameleons: They can even pile on top of another animal and render it completely invisible.
  • Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Benny (a squirrel) spends the whole movie pinning after Bridget (a giraffe). They get together by the end.
  • Humanlike Animal Aging: Ryan is still a cub at age 11. Real lions would be considered to be middle-aged at that age.
  • I Have No Son!: Samson's father disowns him when he's unable to roar like a real lion.
  • Interspecies Romance: Bridget and Benny. It's a one-sided romance on Benny's side until the end, when Bridget returns his feelings by giving him a passionate kiss on the lips.
  • Jerkass: Colin the hyrax. He feels insulted when Samson wouldn't eat him, accusing him of thinking he’s not good enough to be eaten. He also insults Samson and his friends as he walks away, accidentally bumping into a tree. He then screams at the tree for ruining his dramatic exit.
  • Logo Joke: A jungle themed Walt Disney Pictures logo plays over Samson telling a story to Ryan. But the light fails to arc over the castle because Ryan tells Samson he heard the stories Samson told him too many times. At one point, the light ball gets dragged back by the arc line.
  • Missing Mom: Galena, Samson's wife and Ryan's mother. She was never even mentioned onscreen and it is thought she died. But she appeared in a deleted scene, where she's worried that her husband and son are in danger and relies on Benny to look out for them both.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Let's see... before Samson and his friends could win in turtle curling (with a cameo from Don Cherry, voicing in the appearance of a penguin, on commentary!), Ryan accidentally starts a stampede, which nearly harms everyone at the shuffleboard event. Then Samson berates his son endangering everyone in the zoo with said stampede, calls him out for always moping around, and asks if he did this because he couldn't roar. The look on his son's face tells us that Samson immediately regretted saying that and instantly tried to apologize. We later learn why he felt bad saying that.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Ryan's look after accidentally causing a stampede.
    • After Samson tells his friends he's not from the wild and he can't protect them.
  • Psycho Poodle: The gang get attacked by a vicious back of stray dogs which was led by a crazy white poodle.
  • Raised In Captivity: The plot revolves around a lion and his friends escaping from a zoo to find the lion's son, who was taken to Africa to be reintroduced to the wild. They have to face that life out there is not as easy as in the zoo.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent:
    • Utterly subverted with Larry. Not only is he a snake who is one of the good guys, but he is arguably the least-malicious character in the movie, being a Cloudcuckoolander Nice Guy. His kind being dangerous predators in the wild is never even acknowledged.
    • The sewer gator duo, at first, appear to play the Never Smile at a Crocodile trope straight only to then reveal that they were just messing with the heroes and procced to help them find the Statue of Liberty.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After Samson revealed that he lied about his past and are hopelessly lost, his friends decide to find their way back, ignoring Benny's plea. Until he reminds them that Samson needs help finding his son.
  • Secret-Keeper: Early in the film, Benny is the only one who knows Samson's deep dark secret. The secret turns out to be he's not from the wild, but was born in a circus. The other animals didn't call him out for keeping it from them. Perhaps it never even occurred to them.
  • Sewer Gator: The film saw the zoo animals meeting up with a pair of alligators in the sewer who actually turned out to be friendly and helped the heroes find the way to the Statue of Liberty.
  • Shout-Out: The back-story for the villain references The Gods Must Be Crazy. A talking koala (modeled after one of the main characters, no less) doll falls from an airplane, saving the life of a wildebeest, who reveres it as divine and sets up a Religion of Evil around it.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Subverted with Larry. He's an anaconda, which is part of the good guys, although he is friendly and kind, he is also a Cloudcuckoolander.
  • The Stinger: After the credits finished rolling, Nigel briefly walks across the screen telling everyone to go home now. A gazelle then slides into him.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Samson tells his son and friends stories about his adventures in the wild. However, as they search for Ryan, Samson's friends find it odd that he tells them to run away from rabid dogs rather than fighting them off. Then, when they're in Africa, he was unable to eat a rude hyrax. They feel as though he's not really from the wild. Samson says it's true, he's a phony and he's sorry for lying to them and being unable to protect them. Followed by an Oh, Crap! moment.
  • Was Too Hard on Him: Samson worries he drove his son away by scolding him for not being able to roar and endangering everyone in the zoo with a stampede.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Samson calls Ryan out on endangering everyone in the zoo with the stampede. But he went too far, and Ryan gives him the I Wish You Are Not My Father speech.