Dear Disney:

Morgan Morel
Wait till they get to Avenue D, then it really gets messy. (Courtesy of Disney)

What’s happened to us? What happened to our relationship? There was a time when I would anxiously await the animated movies you released, happily spending my money to see a new fairy tale come vividly to life. You took me to faraway placesa and brought me monsters and princesses. You once made me believe silverware could sing and dance.

So imagine my pure disappointment after seeing “The Wild.” The tale of Samson (Kiefer Sutherland, TV’s “24”), the lion who must find his son in Africa, is suitably touching. And comic relief is a necessity in every Disney movie, so James Belushi (TV’s “According to Jim”), Eddie Izzard (“Ocean’s Twelve”) and Janeane Garofalo (“Wet Hot American Summer”) work just fine as Samson’s friends, coming along for the ride. But pampered zoo animals having to make it out in the jungle – this is “Madagascar” with a new logo. Samson goes all “Finding Nemo” when searching for his son. And how many times can “The Lion King” be referenced? Disney, I’ve never seen you have to dig so deep into your own vault to come up with a storyline. It makes me so sad to see you this way.

I knew something was wrong in the first 10 minutes when you brought out a wildebeest chase. A wildebeest chase? All coming down the mountain in exactly the same way and with exactly the same scenery from “The Lion King?” It’s as if you got lazy and decided that recycling moments from one of your best films would make this one better, presuming we wouldn’t remember.

But we do remember, Disney: We remember everything.

It didn’t have to be like this. Pixar should be your go-to guys for 3-D animation. You paid them millions to stay with you. Enough said.

The animals of “The Wild” look like stuffed toys with weirdly over-expressive eyes – a scary combination for any child. Plus, Pixar is funny. I can only remember laughing twice during this film: when the crocodiles appeared doing fantastic impressions of New York cab drivers and at the wildebeest chorus line. Twice is not enough for one of your films.

I’m sorry I have to say these things. I don’t want it to end this way. You could just go back to 2-D animation and remind us of what we’ve been missing.

Remind us why “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid” and, yes, “The Lion King” are some of our favorite movies. Please, for the love of the seven-year-old inside all of us, go back to the lush animation that made you so great. Please, Disney, please.

The Wild
At the Showcase and Quality 16
Disney

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