Hello, Spongey here.
I’ll just go ahead and confess that I changed the hint from the end of the last review. You may recall I said we were in for some spy action, but I changed it. Once again, I hinted a review that did not happen.
Man, I don’t think that’s actually happened for a while.
In this case, I was going to do Casino Royale 1967, as a tie in for the new James Bond movie. I actually started on it way back in 2012 but didn’t make it far in and ditched it. So why did I change my mind on doing it?
Eh, just didn’t feel like it. …Okay, at first I was cuz I had hard time finding it quickly, but eventually I decided I didn’t feel like it. I did think of doing a normal Bond film but I decided against it. Usually, I just go “eh, changed my mind” and go on, but I owe you a more honest explanation.
But whatever, time to do a movie that was a long time coming. Way back on Blogger, I did a general look of the first 2 Rugrats movies. I briefly mentioned this one and how I felt, but I just left it there.
After re-watching awhile ago, I found I had quite a bit to say, so here I am. I don’t need to explain Rugrats, given how it is. Seriously, who know a very simple show about babies would becoming so huge?
While it was hit and miss, it was still a fun show with a lot to like. And since it was a huge hit, it got quite a few movies. You know how I felt about the first 2, but in hsort they were shockingly good for that type of movie.
And most people liked them too. But every movie series has to go downhill eventually, and since the series in general did, it figures their next movie would not be received as well.
For their 3rd film, for whatever reason they decided to make it a crossover. Yep, and it’s with The Wild Thornberries. It was another popular Nicktoon about a girl who could to animals. And her Dad was Tim Curry.
It wasn’t my favorite Nicktoon but it was pretty good. I’ll go into more detail if I decided to review it’s feature film. I’m kind of mixed on the decision to do this crossover. Sure, they are both Klaspy Cuspo shows, but it’s kind of an odd mix.
Not only are the shows quite different, but Wild Thornberries has magic. For the most part, Rugrats was mostly grounded in the real world. Although the show has done dumber things.
Whatever Nick crossovers did they have up their sleeves? Doug Meets the Angry Beavers? Hey Arnold meets Ren & Stimpy? …Actually, I would watch both of those.
Anyway, this was meant to be a TV special but it got made into a theatrical film because…reasons. Yeah, you’ll see quickly that it’s obvious this was supposed to be on TV.
As I said before, it was not received well. Over the years, people have gone to hate it even more. As for me….i don’t think it’s that bad. It’s nothing great, but for what it is, it’s an okay movie. Even with it’s issues, it’s not as bad as people say.
But it has problems, and that’s why I’m here. I’ll explain why it’s alright, but why it’s flawed. This should be fun!
Before we start, might as well address some things. First, the creative team. The directors worked on the show and the first film, and the writer has mostly did stuff for the show. Not much to comment on.
And remember how Spy Kids 4 had that Scratch and Sniff thing? …Yes, this did it 8 years earlier. Keep in mind, this kind of thing was only done a couple times way back in the 60’s and later in the 80’s. I have no idea why they brought it back.
I actually saw this in theaters for some reason and I can tell you up front I…kind o worked. I don’t remember any details, but I do remember it didn’t enhance the film at all. So there you go.
Let’s go into this odd crossover, so where it works and fails.
This, is Rugrats Go Wild
The movie opens with the babies doing a nature show. Yeah, remember how the first two movies opened with an imagine spot that was a parody? It’s back, just a bit more generic. To be fair, this kind of opening suits the show nicely and it works in this film’s context.
They are exploring the rain Forrest, facing a alligator, and eventually falling into quicksand. Of course we do jump into reality, as we see they are just playing a game. As it turns out, Tommy was pretending to Nigel “Strawberry”
“He’s my hero!”
Well, that was quick. I like this as it establishes the crossover in a decently natrual way. I can buy that they watch Nigel’s nature show, even if it is odd Tommy is only now mentioning Nigel is his hero. Although maybe he only now just found the show.
Angelica, of course, mocks him for this.
“You’re never going to have real adventures”
Except for the time they were stuck in the jungle…and fighting with a robot in Paris. …You were there.
You’re a baby. That’s equally as enlightening of a statement. Tommy is saddened for a moment, which is a bit odd given he’s been on plenty of real adventures, even in the show. Eh, I can let it slide.
The families’ are planning to go on a big cruise, which Stu arranged. Stu’s part in it is important for later. Oh, and it’s a Lipshitz cruise, of course. And as they head there, we get good news: Suzie is in this!
Yeah, she wasn’t in the first movie, had a brief cameo in the 2nd, but here she’s actually a major character! …She doesn’t do a ton, and her parents aren’t here because weak plot excuse, but she’s here! That’s one improvement we have, at least.
Stu shows up late, and the cruise ends up leaving without them. He eventually does pop up, with his boat he made. Yep, it turns out the cruise he promised was his own cruise on his own home-made boat.
Everyone is completely 100 percent fine with this. …Okay. I’m not fooling anyway, they are very unhappy. To be fair, Stu should have told them up front. Did he promise a Lipshitz cruise up font only to do this, or did they just assume that? Either way, Stu should be blamed a bit.
We then cut to the Wild Thornberries side of this, as Eliza and Debbie was wanting for their parents to get home, but they are busy trying to film a clouded leopard. …But it’s just a tiny bit before we cut back to the babies. Ah well, it’s still a nice way to establish things.
By the way, the issues I will get into don’t become appear until later. For now, things are fine, although you will notice they haven’t set up too much substance aside from the Stu thing.
With a musical sting that sounds a bit like the Gilligan’s island theme (I see what you did there) we join the Rugrats crew as a storm is brewing. A pretty big one actually.
“We’re gonna need a bigger boat”
Hardy har har.
The boat is tipped over, but they are able to survive by getting on a raft.
“I can’t help but feel partially responsible”
Emphasis on partially How were you supposed to know there was a storm? Even if they you told them beforehand, and they were fine, this would happen. Anyway, despite the situation, Angelica cheers them up with a song.
…Who are you and what you done with Angelica?
Thankfully she snaps back once Cynthia falls overboard. …This would be emotional if they didn’t already do this kind of thing in the first movie. Wtih that said, this is honestly kind of a nice sad moment. There’s not as many as the previous movies, but they exist at least.
The next morning they find themselves washed up on a island, where they find Cynthia….well that just made the previous scene pointless. But that’s the only good news, as the island is deserted and their raft sinks.
But it’s not deserted as we find out it’s the same island the Torneberries are it. We cut to them as the parents arrive home….only to have to leave right after.
“You’re always working!”
Yep, we got that cliché. I…don’t remember how this bit plays out, but I’ve seen worse takes on this cliché. Because the parents are shown as human, at least. Plus, Nigel is Tim Curry so it’s automatically amazing.
Eliza heads out to find out where the Leopard is so the parents can it easily. By the way, Debbie knows about the talking to animals thing because of the events of their movie. I always wondered if that carried over into the show.
Meanwhile, the babies are just trying to make the most of it, when Angelica tells them some false scary story again. This time she says they will all turn wild if they stay here…which launches into a song.
Yep, he we got a couple “sing out a nowhere” numbers in this, compared to the background and in universe songs we usually see in these movies.
The only one of this kind up to this point was that….interesting one with the newborns in the first movie. But eh, I can deal with it since there aren’t too many songs in this. Maybe because there were a few songs they cut, including one by Nigel.
…Wait…they cut out a song by Tim Curry? ….Huh?
But anyway, I like this song. It’s catchy and it’s a villain song, and you can’t go wrong with those. While I can’t remember if the sort of subplot this starts goes anywhere, so it might be pointless.
Anyway, things aren’t looking so well for the adults, as they start arguing. Betty eventually has enough and is able to calm them down and basically have them follow her, and try to get off this island. By doing this, they turn their backs on Stu.
“All I wanted to do was have a little adventures, now everyone and their brother is blaming me for this mess”
Yeah, once again we have the screw up cliché. Here, it’s…okay. It’s far from the worst take, but it’s still not great. I mean, here it feels like they are being too harsh. Even if Stu had told them about this and they agreed, they would still be here, and this plot wouldn’t have a leg to stand on.
But you should enjoy it because it’s the biggest emotional focus in the movie. More on that in a second. Feeling bad for him, the babies want to go find Nigel and get his help. Because the babies going out on their own always turns out well.
And yes, Stu doesn’t see them because the adults have to be adults for the plots in this show to work. Just roll with it. Besides, they explain by having him put Aneglcia in charge while he finds some supplies.
Angelica, in turn puts spike in charge. Oh, we’ll talk more about him later…
She goes off on her own and quickly stumbles upon the Debbie and Darwin. She isn’t really phased by seeing someone else here, and is instead impressed by how bossy she is, so she asks her some help with being bossier. Eh, I can buy she cares about that more than getting home or whatever.
Plus, finally some crossover interacting stuff, even if it’s an obvious pairing.
Back with the babies, they explore the jungle which leads to another song. It’s more pointless than that last one, but it’s fun, I suppose. After the song, Phil tries to eat yet another bug, when Lil stops him. During the song, a fly got eaten by a venus flyrap, and now Lil feeds bad for bugs, and wants to stop eating.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. Took us 32 minutes but we have potential for a nice character focus. After all, the first one was about Tommy, and the 2nd was about Chuckie. Makes sense for it to be Phil and Lil’s turn.
Actually, that leads me to the biggest problem with the movie: There’s not much focus. Well, there is a bigger issues but I’ll address it later. While the first 2 had a strong focus on the babies, this one takes half an hour to even tease one.
Instead, it’s mostly just antics on the island. While we don’t exactly need a hugely strong plot for this simple premise, it still needs something. This doesn’t seem bad now, but it’ll be more apparent later.
Chuckie stops to take a piss and is separated from the group Before we see the affects of that, we cut to Darwin as he tells Eliza about Angelica. But before that goes anywhere, they see spike wandering around.
Oh boy, now we’re at the most infamous aspect of the movie. See, Eliza can talk to animals and Spike is a pretty prominent animal character in Rugrats. So it only makes sense Eliza would talk him, and thus he would be given a choice.
Yep, Spike is given a voice. But that’s not the weird part. He’s voiced by Bruce Willis. Yes, really. It was the big selling point of the film and it’s…weird. Truth be told, I like what they did with Spike but Bruce is an odd choice. He does a fine job with it’s another case of pointless celebrity casting.
Spike is a mixed bag. While some of his jokes wouldn’t be out of place in Dog with a Blog, he has amusing moments and he has good characterization. We’ll see more of it as we go on, but for now we see that Spike really wants to find the babies, but can’t do it too well because he lost his sense of smell.
So he has Eliza help him out. Spike’s side is one of the better parts of the movie, so I won’t bitch too much during his parts….for the most part.
Chuckie wanders around and bumps into Donnie. They do that shtick where he pretends to be his reflection, then Donnie takes his clothes and puts them on, forcing Chuckie to put on Donnie’s clothes.
Yep, we’re doing the switching places by accident thing. It’s kind of random and contrived but eh, maybe it’ll be fun and necessary. Back with the other babies, Phil sees that Lil is really serious about the whole bug thing.
“I don’t knows you anymore, Lil.”
Okay, this is getting interesting. …From the way I’m talking, you can guess what happens with my feelings for it, but whatever.
They suddenly notice Chuckie is lost, but Donnie as Chuckie pops up right at that moment. Oh boy, so wacky! Nigel happens to above them on a cliff at the moment and he hears Donnie.
He tries to walk towards them…but falls and hurts himself. Wah wah. Thankfully, he’s okay ….until he gets hit in the head with a coconut. Okay, that’s actually some funny misdirection.
When he comes to, he’s…different.
“I’m only this many years old!”
Yep, the hit on his head made him think he’s a baby. …If the other plot issues weren’t bad enough, they have decided to blatantly rehash an episode of Rugrats. Great. This …kind of goes somewhere, but it’s mostly an excuse to get Nigel with the babies.
It’s kind of amusing but not THAT amusing. Plus, they basically force Tim Curry to babble like an idiot for most of the movie instead of…doing Tim Curry things. Meanwhile, Spike and Eliza are looking for the babies when they bump into that leopard they were looking for.
Her name is Siri, and she’s kind of a jerk. I’d say she’s the villain but she barely makes an impact on the story. She is pretty delicious, though. As everyone would expect, this leads to Spike starting a musical number.
….Okay, then. It’s kind of enjoyable, but it’s a bit clunky and really pointless. Also, Bruce Willis isn’t much of a singer. After the song, Eliza figures out that Spike was looking for human babies and not puppies. This was only established so we Siri could somehow find about the babies and want to come after them.
So the babies are lost in a jungle, and will be at the mercy of a wild animal. …They were really out of ideas at this point, weren’t they?
Back with Chuckie, he helps out a baby monkey, which is kind of a cute bit. But then it’s back to Eliza, because we can’t focus on a subplot for too long for some reason. To prove my point, it cuts back to Angelica and Debbie soon after.
Debbie turns out to be even bossier than Angelica, which doesn’t sit well with the latter. She sees the babies and needs to go to them before the adults blame her for their disappearance, so she asks Debbie for a ride.
So they head off and long the way they sing along to Should I Stay or Should I Go because…the first movie had Angelica singing a real song? They somehow end up taking the commve underwater by accident. It conveniently turns into a bathysphere, don’t worry.
While that is going on, Siri bumps into the babies and tries to attack, but Donnie (still as Chuckie) manages to scare her off. Chuckie finally arrives and gets his clothes back from Donnie, who is willingly to give them back for some reason. Siri pops up again and we get a chase scene set to a song.
Oh yeah, it’s a song that actually makes sense to have in the movie like in the first 2 movies. Through this, they all end up in this underwater cave place. And from what I recall, this is the end of Siri.
Yeah, I think you figured out my biggest issue with the movie: The story and the pointless subplots. I’ll go into more detail in the final thoughts, but here’s a slightly shorter version.
Remember how the first movie had a few pointless subplots and moments but overall had a good emotional focus? Yeah, this is that without the focus. While it’s fine to mostly focus on just a simple story on the island, you still need some kind of character focus, especially since your first two movies did.
This wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t tease so many interesting bits. Donnie and Chuckie switching places, Siri, and even the Phil and Lil thing are just brushed aside instead of really being developed.
They try to connect them but they are mostly pointless. I’ve seen worse writing but this is just problematic. But whatever, there is some good stuff to get to, so let’s move on.
The babies figure out that Nigel is acting different and can’t help them. They realize that the hero they looked up to can’t help him. Okay, this is something that works. Granted, it’s not really the focus, but it’s enough.
The scene actually gets kind of sad. It’s basic compared to what we’ve seen before, but it’s rather nice. Thankfully, hope comes in the form of Angelica and Debbie. At least her plot lead to something.
Meanwhile, the parents have made their own little civilization. Oh yeah, they had a plot that involved Stu. Almost forgot. Donnie pops up and they chase after him. This causes them to bump into Marianne. Yay, more interaction.
Stu walks in, and after he says Angelica is taking care of the babies, the adults go crazy, assuming the babies are lost in the jungle.
“I feel like this happened before!”
…Pointing out your problem does not make them go away.
Eliza, Darwin, Debbie and Spike show up on the beach and tell everyone what happened and where the babies are. The babies have taken the Bathysphere and are going around with it, because Debbie thought it was a great idea to leave kids alone with it.
They get contact with the adults and in the shuffle, Nigel is conked on the head and returns to normal. ..Yep, another pointless plot just kind of ends. At least this had a point, to an extent.
Nigel doesn’t question why he’s with a bunch of babies but he’s willingly to help at least. Unfortunately, they are stuck in the ocean with no way to get up to land. Stu comes up with a Technobabble-y plan to raise the Comvee, which everyone agrees to.
Yep, Stu will prove that he is good and stuff, because that’s how the cliché goes. They need something to patch something with, and they want to use their busted raft. So Spike goes out to get despite how far away it is. His dedication to the babies is enough to give him enough energy to do it.
Now that’s pretty cool but it’s sad that the dog gets the best depth in the whole movie. Long story short, they are able to raise the Comvee, but the babies and Nigel are still in the bathysphere, in the ocean, almost out of Oxygen.
After a nice moments, the adults are able to life the thing up and save them. Also they see a giant squid. ….Yeah, that’s just a thing that happens. As if we needed more pointless scenes.
Despite that, things did get decently intense there, and it was kind of cool. With that are saved and reunited with the adults. They thak Stu for saving them, realizing he could be awesome after all, Angelica says Tommy could be an adventurer some day and Nigel and Marianne realize that they should spent more time with the kids.
Well, at least most of the major plot lines were resolved, even if the latter 2 were kind of pointless.
To celebrate, the two families go and have fun on the Lipshitz cruise.
“As dog as my Witness, I will never loose my babies again”
…That raises a few questions.
And with that, the movie ends. Yep, another abrupt ending. I’ve seen worse, but it further shows the issues with the story. The movie isn’t even 80 minutes long, and while the first 2 movies were short too, this one FELT as short as it is.
As a whole, this movie is…okay. Not quite great, but not quite awful. I hate to use this word but it’s…cute. Really, the biggest problem is that it was in theaters. If it was on Tv, I could forgive it being short and lacking a lot of substance.
I think the reason there were some weak subplots is that they were forced to pad things out when the decision was made to put this in theaters, so this could be feature length. It wouldn’t surprise me at all.
Before I get into my rant, I’ll comment on the other animation. It’s pretty good, as you would expect. There’s nothing flashy but the character animation is strong and it certainly looks like worthy of the big screen.
I prefer the animation of Rugrats in Paris because it had more flashy scenes like the climax, but this looked good too.
Now as you might have guess, this movies biggest problem is the writing. As I said before, there isn’t really a strong emotional focus. None of the babies get any development, nor do any of the Wild Thornberries characters, really.
There are a few side things like Stu and Spike, but they weren’t the main focus and honestly aren’t good enough. Stu’s plot isn’t all that interesting anyway. I know they likely just wanted a simple story with them being stuck on an island, but you still need something other than some basic things.
And besides, the first movie had a simple plot but still had an emotional focus. Also, they DON’T keep it simple due to all the pointless subplots. Most of them are really pointless (Donnie and Chuckie) or as just underdeveloped, like the Thornberry parents being away a lot.
They weren’t too jarring but they are still pointless. The most dissapoting is the Phil and Lil thing. It could have been really interesting…but they just randomly dropped. At least the others had SOME kind of resolution!
I have a feeling there was a lot of stuff on the cutting room floor. Maybe they cut out all the things that tie these plots together. They do make a deal out of how Chuckie is saving someone else for else, and One of the cut songs has Chucke singing about how he’s a scardey cat, which takes place before he meets Donnie.
If that was the case, they should have cut the plots all together, as the mostly serve as an excuse to get the plot into certain plots.
The very basic story is fine I suppose, but the writing is weak. With that said, there are some good things. While the characters barely develop, they are still charming and as minimal as the interactions are, they do lead to some amusing moments.
As far as crossovers go, it’s okay. They do work together fine, and I”ve seen worse crossovers, even if i’ve seen better. Really, it’s about what I expected. As I said before, I like Spike’s ratification, even if the casting was pointless.
Some of the songs are fun and there are some nice and intense moments, as well as a few amusing jokes. It’s a watchable film as there’s nothing really painful or offensive, and I don’t mind watching it.
As I said, it’s cute. If you really just want a sort of enjoyable ride, it’s fine but if you want anything deep, you can watch the first 2 movies, or even The Wild Thornberries movie. But they really should have written this better, because it could have been a lot more solid than it ended up being.
Once again, I blame the fact that it’s not on TV like it should have been. But I can ignore this to enjoy the movie. It’s cute fun, even if it’s nothing special. It’s not nearly as bad as people say, nor as good as it could have been.
So yeah, it’s just alright.
Next time, yet another Friday the 13th review.