MOVIE REVIEW: Robinson Crusoe

The classic tale comes to the big screen with animals added to the cast for extra fun.

Growing up in our house we had a lot of books, both Parents were heavy readers, and some of us took after them.  One of those books was the Daniel Defoe book of Robinson Crusoe and it became an adventure that I cherished.  Over the years Cinema has tried to capture the adventure, isolation and the imagination of this book, some disasters and few triumphs.  Now this animated adventure steals the name and has little to do with the book.

In this tale Crusoe is travelling with a crew and his faithful hound Ainsley.  He’s not a great traveller though and life on the open seas disagrees with his stomach.  After a terrible storm which leaves him stranded on an Island he has to make the best of things while waiting to be rescued.  The story has little to nothing to do with the book, if I’m going to be honest, and I try to be honest when doing these reviews.  I also try to be as fair as possible, it’s not easy to be fair though, I think if you’re going take the time and money of the people you should give them the best product that you can possibly give.  Stage Performers should leave everything on the stage, Chefs should worry over every plate of food, and film makers should edit, film, edit, film, and before releasing make sure that they give us perfection.  It’s something that I hold very high in mind when watching a film and considering what to write.

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What they film makers have done here is used the Robinson Crusoe name to make a film that’s more about the cute animals of the deserted island rather than the adventure of Crusoe.  It’s basically another version of that film Rio which came out a few years back, mixed with different animal animations over the last 10 years.  If you are a fan of the book and are planning to go see this, please think again, it’s not for you.

This film is for the 4 to 6-year-old children that you want to please for an afternoon.  You take them on a Saturday or Sunday and then feed them pizza or Mickey D’s.  It’s perfect for that.  If you have a group of kids around that age that you want to entertain then you could do worse than take them to this.  Older children however will find this exceptionally underwhelming for their tastes, they’ve moved on to expect more from animations these days.

I don’t want you to get the wrong impression here, it’s for younger viewers and has little to do with the book Robinson Crusoe.  I have to give it credit as it’s wonderfully voiced, and beautifully animated.  The animals are funny at times but through the whole film you are thinking that if this was released in the 90’s it might have been a classic at this stage.  The problem is that over the last 26 years we’ve been spoiled with animated adventures which leave this in the dust.  If I was taken my nephew to this, and he’s 6, I doubt that he’d complain but I doubt that it would make him want to know more about the book, or have any interest in seeing it again.

Directors: Vincent Kesteloot, Ben Stassen
Stars: Ron Allen, George Babbit, Laila Berzins

*Note: The film is also named, The Wild Life

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