Animated Manhattan: The Wild
Part 15 in an ongoing series looking at New York City in animation.
You know how sometimes you see a movie that’s supposed to take place in Manhattan, but in order to save money they filmed it somewhere else, like Toronto, and since you’ve been to New York you can totally tell that there’s no way they filmed that in Manhattan, except for the one scene that takes place in Times Square? Well, that’s what The Wild was like. Except, being a cartoon without location expenses and made by Disney, they really have no excuse.
The movie is about a bunch of animals in a fictional New York Zoo who go on an adventure whose plot was ripped straight from Finding Nemo, then had all the humor and charm stripped out of it. When the animals leave the zoo to find a missing lion cub, I expected some amazing Manhattan humor before they left the city, just like in the nearly identically-themed movie Madagascar (link goes to that film’s review from this series). But the only specific places they go to are Times Square, which I’m sure was picked so that Disney could satisfy all its product placement obligations in one scene, and the Statue of Liberty, which is shown multiple times, and only from afar.
Where are the other landmarks? Where’s the sweeping skyline? No Empire State Building? No Chrysler Building? No Brooklyn Bridge? The only recognizable buildings that jumped out at me were the Citicorp Building and 17 State Street, which I think might have been partially visible in one scene. The Wild might be the first cartoon I’ve reviewed that doesn’t have a scene at Rockefeller Center. Have the animators even been to New York?
Instead of showing real places, there were awful scenes in generic settings like alleys and sewers, with killer poodles and friendly crocodiles. Sounds hilarious, right? The pickings were slim in finding New York scenes, so here’s the movie poster, which depicts New York City better than any scene in the movie:
And since I went through the trouble of taking a few more screen captures, here’s the remainder of the film’s Manhattan depictions:
(My rating is for the depiction of NYC only)