The Wild Life
Mak is a parrot with adventure in his blood.
Unfortunately, there's no place for him to adventure to, since he and his animal pals¬—Rosie the tapir, Scrubby the goat, Kiki the kingfisher, and others—are all stuck on a little tropical island. Still, Mak longs to sally forth, if only to prove that there's more to the world than a paradise of palm trees, beaches and daily luaus.
Oh, the torments that an island bird must endure.
One day, though, after a particularly ferocious storm blows through, Mak and his pals find something crashed and broken on their island's rocky beach. It's a large thing made of wood and metal. And out of it scrambles a bewildering new creature—an odd monster that stands upright on two legs. Could this be what he thinks it is? Could this actually be a ... "human?" Mak's parroty prayers have been answered! Finally there's proof of something more out beyond the ocean's waves.
Mak takes the opportunity to greet this thing that calls itself Robinson Crusoe. Mak isn't sure what that is, since the human and animal languages don't really mesh, but he's willing to learn. And before you know it, Mak has not only made contact with Crusoe, he's also convinced his animal pals to lend the human an occasional hoof or beak, too.
And so they rally together to aid the rather helpless Crusoe as he builds a nest of his own. Something he calls a tree house.
The only drawback to Crusoe's arrival is the fact that two rather mean and evil cats crawled out of the shipwreck, too. These creatures are all sharp claws and hissing nastiness. And they're sure to be trouble.
But for right now, Mak is a joyous bird. Who knows what wonders he'll discover? Why, he's even figured out how to mimic some of the human's words. Oh, and Crusoe gave Mak a human name, too. He calls him Tuesday!
Mak, er, Tuesday is certain that his time with this Robinson Crusoe will be an adventure well worth telling. If only those pesky cats Mal and May don't have their way …
The disparate animal friends, though all of different species, are dedicated to one another and collectively help any one of their number who might be in need. For his part, Crusoe comes to realize that he needs help from the island's animal population if he's going to survive. And he makes their lives a little better, too.
[Spoiler Warning] At one point, one animal even goes so far as to give his life to protect another from the nasty actions of Mal and May.
Crusoe christens his new tree house and, later, silently prays before his meal. The gathered animals watch him and wonder what he's doing. Even though they're apparently ignorant of spiritual things, one of them notes that an event might be a "bad omen." Another calls something a "miracle." After barely escaping a dangerous situation, Mal the cat wakes, notices his mate, May, and says, "If this is heaven, why are you here?"
In the course of things, May becomes pregnant. (Though, how that comes about is never addressed.) There are several references to Rosie the tapir's heft and curves. (The camera closely watches as she wiggles her backside). When Scrubby the nearsighted goat looks through a pair of human glasses he tells Rosie that she's "looking good." To which she retorts, "Easy there, big boy."
As I already suggested, the scroungy, below-deck cats May and Mal are the source of much of the pain and misery on Mak's island. They malevolently plot to take out everyone "one by one." In the process of trying to execute that plan, they cause fires and explosions, and they rake at Crusoe and the other animals with their claws and teeth. Later, after May gives birth to a caboodle of equally nasty kittens, the whole feline family teams up to take out Mak and his pals. An action sequence unfolds as the island animals flee and tumble, and the cats end up being thumped, pummeled and splatted by their own aggressive actions.
Big, brawny pirates turn up, too, sporting blades and muskets. But they're ultimately more oafish than threatening. A violent storm throws Crusoe and others around the deck of a ship that begins to splinter into pieces. Though never directly addressed, the storm and subsequent shipwreck obviously take the lives of everyone onboard except Crusoe.
When Mak injures a wing, Cursoe snaps the feathery appendage back into joint.
Crude or Profane Language
Characters say, "Shut it!" and, "Shut up!" Crusoe cries out, "I'll be gobsmacked."
Drug and Alcohol Content
Pirates swill what looks to be grog or rum. Some comically stagger about afterward. Crusoe is given some of the drink, gags, then spits out the foul liquid.
Other Negative Elements
One animal says she's going to be sick when she sees Crusoe shed his coat, thinking he's "stripping off his skin." Crusoe gets seasick.
The filmmaking crew behind nWave Pictures have been tagging this tyke-friendly pic as an animated version of Robinson Crusoe … told from an adventurous parrot's point of view.
So I should probably start off by saying that if the mention of Daniel Defoe's classic dredges up musty English-class memories of shipwrecks, slavers, cannibals and murderers, fear not. The creators of this silly convection may indeed be invoking Crusoe's famous name, but there's little else to link the two tales. Except for, well, a shipwreck and a couple scroungy cat villains.
The rest is just a flighty bit of fun wherein the dunderheaded and clumsy Crusoe desperately needs some animal friends to help make a go of it on his new island home. Then he runs into a gaggle of oafish pirates with equal measures of grog and grins spilling from their stubbled mugs. Throw it all in a wacky toon blender with a bit of rollercoaster-flavored peril, and Squawk!, you've got a kids' pic worthy of a shared bucket of popcorn and a couple o' sodas.
Pixar-like moments? Sweet scenes that require wiping a tear from your grown-up eye? Nope, not a one. But then there aren't any cannibals or exotic words you'd hate to have repeated, either.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Voices of David Howard as Mak/Tuesday; Yuri Lowenthal as Robinson Crusoe; Marieve Herington as Kiki; Laila Berzins as Rosie; Joey Camen as Scrubby; Colin Metzger as Carmello; Debi Tinsley as May; Jeff Doucette as Mal/Pango; Sandy Fox as Epi
Vincent Kesteloot ( ), Ben Stassen ( Fly Me to the Moon)
September 9, 2016