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Animals on the Loose: A You vs. Wild Movie 2021 Movie Review Poster Trailer Online
Director: Ben Simms
Writers: Robert Buchta (created by), Bear Grylls (created by)
Star: Bear Grylls
The Gist: Opening shot: THE SUN. Pan down to: A MASSIVE PILE OF POOP. Ostentatious beginning! Then: A foot smashes the poop. It’s Bear Grylls’ foot! But hopefully not his poop! And he’s being chased by a lion! Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-it. Subtitle: EARLIER THAT DAY. Bear is on the African savannah. The electric fence surrounding the protected area is broken. A telltale tuft of fur on the chainlink tells Bear that a lion is loose in an area where people are camping. On top of that, a baboon named Thimba is AWOL. Bear has three tasks: Rescue the baboon, restore the fence’s electrical power and do something about that lion. Time to pick one, which means you’re gonna be forced to decide whether monkey peril should be prioritized over human peril. And you thought Sophie’s Choice was a tough one.
Pick the lion adventure, and Bear hops on horseback to navigate the terrain and maybe give the lion a meal that isn’t him? Maybe he’s not thinking that, but we sure as hell are. Some wildlife researchers are out there having a BBQ party, which puts Bear in the lion-trapping business before the lion gets into the wildlife researcher-eating business. Maybe Bear should build a pen out of shrubs and sticks to contain the lion even though it clearly chomped through a fence already? That’s an idea. Or perhaps there’s a less boring option that means Bear has to pop the rescue flare? Decisions, decisions.
That’s one rough example of the myriad choices we face during Bear’s three missions. One toughie has us puzzling over whether he should swim through an ocean teeming with sharks, build a raft or climb a cliff. (Hey, sharks gotta eat too.) Another is a Gryllsian classic: Should he chew this corpulent, squirming leech to death, or swallow it whole? Either way, that vile thing is gonna shake hands with Bear’s stomach acid. And it’ll all eventually catch up to the poop-stomping scene, and whether our goofy protag figures out how to not have his limbs torn asunder by a big cat.
Our Take: If you thought Bear Grylls had utterly exhausted the survival-series formula by the time he slid down a mudhill with Tom Arnold, you were wrong — wrong as hell. He continues to be the TV world’s most popular larva-eater and poop-toucher, and in Animals on the Loose, he goes so far as to pick up elephant crap for no good reason whatsoever. And to think, he has to use those same filthy hands to eat raw larvae for lunch.
This special is really really really really silly. Bear lures a lion by limping and moaning, fights a snake, yells at elephants and, a moment later, shushes the elephants. During a sequence in which he scares a cheetah with his jacket, I’m not sure he and the jacket are ever in the same shot with the cheetah. He shares some survival tips along the way, some of which will come in handy if you ever find yourself clambering up the slippery rocks of a rapidly flooding downhill creek or faced with eating either a grub for long-term protein energy or num-num berries for a short-term sugar boost (strangely, he never even considers eating both — maybe the gross one first , then chase it with the delicious one?).
I may have made a mistake in not choosing to rescue Thimba first, because maybe Bear could’ve completed his other tasks with something we all wish we had: a BABOON SIDEKICK. Maybe I should do it over again, and of course, that option exists — press pause mid-adventure, and you can revisit past choices. If only the real world was like this, you could go back and correct all those wrong turns at Albuquerque you made, so to speak. But alas. I recall Bear getting a bit philosophical in Man vs. Wild, when he’d construct a shelter out of fronds and settle in for a long night under the stars and among the large predators that might kill him if he didn’t have a crew with him, helping him manufacture quasi-reality television. He doesn’t do that here — get philosophical, I mean — so let’s not get too melancholy about whether we could do it all over again, and just appreciate Animals on the Loose for the satisfactory entertainment that it is.
Our Call: STREAM IT. Like the rest of the You vs. Wild series, Animals on the Loose is fun enough I guess, partly because Bear is so genial, and works so hard to sell this ridiculous stuff. It’s a decent time-waster at 45 minutes or so, especially for younger viewers to work through once — and probably never again — assuming they don’t spew their Lunchables across the room at the money shot of raw, black grub goo dripping from our loveable host’s mouth. Then again, that’s nothing Bear fans haven’t seen before.
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