An original story, The Wild was released on April 14th, 2006 by Buenaventura’s Vista Pictures. Produced by Walt Disney Pictures on a 480 million budget, received negative reviews and only grossed $102 million.
The Wild is set at New York Zoo in Central Park where a brave Lion named Samson (Kiefer Sutherland) is trying to teach his cub, Ryan, to properly roar. The zoo closes for the night, which is when the animals freely roam. Samson and his four friends, Benny (Jim Belushi) the squirrel, Bridget (Janeane Garofalo) the Giraffe, Larry (Richard Kind) the Anaconda and Nigel (Eddie Izzard) the Koala go to compete in the turtle curling competition. Meanwhile Ryan (Greg Cipes) is sulking due to his embarrassing roar. Ryan’s friends try to convince him to come out of his inhabitant and stalk prey, but as Ryan was telling them off, he accidentally causes a stampede. The stampede destroy the turtle curling game and Ryan and Samson argue. Ryan runs off as Samson tries to clean up and apologize for his son’s actions. Ryan runs into a green box to calm down but just as he was about to head back to his exhibit, the container closes and is shipped away by a truck heading towards the wild.
Samson and Benny go in search of Ryan just as they see his container being being shipped off. Thanks to the help of Hamir (David Cowgill), a pigeon, they use the garbage truck to get out of the zoo, knowing it gets close to the ship. Nigel, Larry and Bridget follow them but as they surprise Samson and Benny, Benny gets thrown off the truck by accident. While passing through Times Square, the group nearly gets crushed by the disposal part, with a near escape, they search for a way to get to the ship. Unfortunately a pack of rabid dogs smell them and corner them. With quick thinking, Samson gets himself and his friends into the sewer to avoid them. There they encounter, Stan and Carmine, two alligators who help get them to the docks. Just as they get out of the sewers the following morning, they see the ship pulling out of dock. The four friends hijack a tugboat to follow the ship. Larry guides the boat and Benny makes a safe landing, reuniting with his friends using a flock of Canadian geese. They take over to guide the tugboat after the big ship Ryan is on. A few days later while out at sea, Nigel goes crazy and believes they have hit an iceberg, jumping overboard to save his life. The rest of the crew land the boat on the beach. The group wants to search for the ship but Samson starts seeing plants and rocks changing colors, following the illusions into the jungle. Meanwhile a group of wildebeests capture Nigel, believing he was their long lost leader, bringing him to the volcano they live in.
Kazar (William Shatner), the devious wildebeest leader, explains that Nigel is “The Great Him” due to believing that his omen was sent down hitting him in the head with a toy version of Nigel. The toy had fallen from a plane, scaring the lions away when they were about to attack Kazar. Kazar explains that now with Nigel, they need one last event to happen to change the food chain. He tells them all that they must kill and eat a lion in order to reverse the food chain. Larry and Bridget over hear as the wildebeests prisoners.
Meanwhile, Ryan climbs a tree to hide but a group fo vultures begin attacking under the control of Kazar. Unfortunately Ryan’s paw gets trapped after the branch breaks and he falls. Hearing his son, Samson goes to save him, scaring off the vultures and reuniting. The two are soon interrupted by a herd of Wildebeests. Samson tells Ryan to run, Ryan listens but is confused why they didn’t just fight back. When they thought they were safe, Samson explains to Ryan that he can’t roar. He was born in the circus and when he disappointed his father, he was sent to the zoo. He lied to Ryan to cover his embarrassment. The herd finds them and fights, sending Samson over a cliff and capturing Ryan. They bring Ryan to the volcano as the sacrifice.
Benny finds and saves Samson. Benny has a heart to heart with Samson for him to be himself. Two chameleons then reveal themselves, explaining that it was hem that were changing colors to guide Samson to the Volcano. They tell him that he must take down Kazar’s army. Using the help of the chameleons and their camouflaging capabilities, Samson and Benny enter the volcano to save Ryan and their friends. Inside the Volcano, Nigel is making up excuses as to why they shouldn’t cook Ryan, Larry and Bridget. Samson comes in to fight Kazar. While distracted, Ryan launches himself onto Kazar, finally letting out a giant roar. Samson uses this moment to defeat the crazy leader. Ryan tells Samson how grateful he is for having him as a dad. Moved by their love, the wildebeests refuse to serve under Kazar. Feeling the moment, Samson lets out a powerful roar and pushes back on a now charging Kazar. The Volcano starts to rumble, preparing to erupt. All the animals but Kazar flee towards the beach. They get to their boat and all go back to the Central Park zoo as they celebrate being free and safe.
I don’t normally say this about Disney movies but The Wild was a major Disney Flop. The animation was so not Disney’s style plus Madagascar had come out the year before with a very similar storyline. Madagascar had done amazing and was a major hit while The Wild was a box office fail. In fact most forget it is a Disney movie and Disney is okay with distancing themselves with this mess. While there were a few funny lines, its not a movie I would recommend.