The latest Euro-animation project, following the likes of “Justin And The Knights Of Valour” and “Capture The Flag”, “Robinson Crusoe” is a French/ Belgian co-production based very (very) loosely on the famous novel by Daniel Defoe. In fact, so loose is the adaptation that the likely reason it was called “Robinson Crusoe” at all was simply for the free public domain brand recognition it would give (it was released as “The Wild Life” in the United States).
On an uncharted island, Mak the parrot and his animal friends live an idyllic and untroubled existence. Mak, however, dreams of exploring and is convinced that there are places other than the island and his suspicions are proved correct when a human is shipwrecked along with his faithful dog and a pair of near feral cats who were kept aboard to hunt and kill mice.
The animation is pretty solid although the dialogue and story are only soso, a possible victim of a lack of finesse in the translation of the original. The story is not without charm although for anyone but the youngest viewers, the island’s ecosystem raises more questions than the story answers but it’s so bland it’s hard to summon up the will to care about the plot holes.
In the end, it’s a cute castaway story, undemanding in every way and although it may struggle to keep older children interested, it’s fine for little ones. Be warned, though: there is one scene in particular which will be upsetting for very young children – and the more sensitive adults out there – as the story reminds us that our Gallic cousins may not be as sentimental about man’s best friend as we are.