The Wild Meets the Wars on DVD

Disney hopes to offset disappointing box office returns with the home video release of The Wild, a zoo-animal adventure-comedy that was beaten to theaters by the DreamWorks Animation hit, Madagascar. Now available on DVD, The Wild has to compete for consumer dollars with George Lucas’s original Star Wars trilogy, which is being offered on disc sans digital tinkering for the first time.

In The Wild, a lion named Samson (voiced by Kiefer Sutherland) assembles a team of animal pals to set out in search of his teenage son who has been accidentally crated off the Africa. The supporting cast of critters include a giraffe, a koala bear, a snake and some mischevious penguins. Other key voices are provided by James Belushi, Janeane Garofalo, Eddie Izzard and William Shatner.

Directed by Steve ‘Spaz’ Williams, The Wild was animated at C.O.R.E. Feature Animation in Toronto, which relied on SideEffects Software’s Houdini for animation and other visuals. Up to this point, C.O.R.E. had predominantly been involved in creating visual effects for such features as Dr. Dolittle and The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.

DVD extra features packaged with The Wild include commentary by the film’s creators, deleted scenes, Blunders & Bloopers: Eddie Izzard unleashed and the Everlife music video for the song “Real Wild Child.” The Buena Vista Home Entertainment release lists for $29.99.

Star Wars devotees are again dipping into their savings to procure yet another DVD release of the first three films in 20th Century Fox’s blockbuster space saga. What makes this batch different is that the two-disc sets will include both the CG-infiused Special Edition versions crafted for the mid-’90s theatrical re-releases, as well as the original theatrical versions that existed before the digital age. There’s no after-market Jabba the Hut in Episode IV’A New Hope and, yes, Han Solo shoots first in the Cantina scene.

Each film in the first trilogy features Dolby 2.0 Surround sound, closed-captioning and subtitles in English, French and Spanish for their U.S. release. International sound and subtitling will vary by territory. What you won’t see is all the digital tinkering Lucasfilm did to prepare the movies for their Special Edition theatrical re-releases. Bonus materials include commentary by George Lucas and members of the cast and crew, including actress Carrie Fisher, sound designer Ben Burtt and vfx guru Dennis Muren. The discs will only be on sale through Dec. 31 for the suggested retail price of $29.98 apiece.

Also hitting retail today is LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy. The eagerly awaited, action-packed sequel to one of 2005′s best selling video games promises more tongue-in-cheek humor as it combines classic Star Wars storylines with the endless customization inherent in the LEGO brand.