Rugrats Go Wild

Rugrats Go Wild

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The two bossiest girls in the history of cartoons are Angelica from Rugrats and Debbie from The Wild Thornberrys. Guess what? They meet up on a desert island in Rugrats Go Wild!

If this isn't enough to send you running for help, imagine Sir Nigel Thornberry talking like a baby after being whopped on the head by a coconut and Spike, the Rugrats' dog, finding his voice and rabbiting on, courtesy of Bruce Willis, about what a useless creature he is because he has a cold and can't smell anymore and what good is a mutt if it can't sniff trouble? Darwin, the Thornberry's chimp, tells him to shut up before he punches his lights out and concentrate on the matter in hand, which is saving hopeless humans.

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It all starts when the Rugrats' parents decide to take a vacation. Angelica and the babies will come, because they can't be left home alone, and be ceremoniously dumped in a play place where care staff will corral them, while the grown ups go shopping and have full body massages and do the things they know they crave, without having to worry about the brat pack.

Their cruise ship holiday turns out to be hell on water. The luxury liner turns out to be a hired fishing boat and the sea does a rerun of The Perfect Storm and everyone ends up half drowned on the beach of a deserted island. Except it's not deserted, because the famous Thornberrys are making a TV documentary about their hunt for a rare white leopard.

If no one knows about the Rugrats, they don't realise what they are missing. Angelica is a little girl who finds baby life a social disaster, because she feels practically teenage already, even though she's three. Tommy is her toddler brother, whose always getting into scrapes and having scary adventures. She calls him "a backyard explorer with a diaper full of dreams." Tommy's hero is Nigel Thornberry, whom he insists on calling Strawberry. The other Rugrats are Chuckie whose cautious, the twins who eat bugs, two-year-old Kimi and Tommy's little brother Dil. They may be babies, but they have the minds of dangerous subversives

The Thornberrys are an even odder bunch. Nigel is an upper-class English twit, with a passion for wildlife. His American wife acts as camerawoman on their expeditions and is a practical person who organises everything and has the ability to talk to animals. Their eldest daughter Debbie is going through teenage angst, their second daughter Marianne takes the brunt of this and their afterthought Donnie is an hyperactive three-year-old who makes Darwin appear the master of decorum.

The film rushes along at a tremendous rate and all kinds of disastrous things happen, not least when Angelica takes charge of the Thornberry's submersible. The grownups learn that they have to work together to survive and the babies rule. This is inventive and fun. You can't ask for anything more.

Reviewed on: 08 Aug 2003
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The Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys meet on a desert island.
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