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The Wild Thornberrys Movie

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Wild Thornberrys Movie

Starring: Brenda Blethyn, Tim Curry
Director: Cathy Malkasian
Rated: PG
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: December 2002
Genres: Animation, Kids

*Also starring: Flea, Cheryl Chase, Christine Cavanaugh, Jodi Carlisle, Lacey Chabert, Rupert Everett, Lynn Redgrave, Marisa Tomei, Alfre Woodard

Review by Susan Granger
3 stars out of 4

Adapted from the popular, Emmy-nominated Nickelodeon series about an appealing family of wacky naturalists, this full-length animated feature is geared for family viewing. Set in Africa, the story revolves around precocious, freckle-faced 12 year-old Eliza (Lacey Chabert) who - like "Dr. Doolittle" - can talk to animals, particularly her pet chimpanzee Darwin (Tom Kane). It's a special skill bestowed on her by a shaman - on the condition that she keep this magical gift a secret. Eliza's father, Nigel (Tim Curry), is a blustery Brit, while her mother, Marianne (Jodi Carlisle), is an adventurous American. The senior Thornberrys make wildlife documentaries for public television. Eliza has a sarcastic teenage sister Debbie (Danielle Harris) and monkey-like kid brother, Donnie (Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers), who was adopted during one of their earlier expeditions. The plot involves the filming of a wondrous event, a solar eclipse that - legend has it - transfixes thousands of elephants who emerge from the safety of the forest to view it. Problem is: two evil ivory-hunters (Rupert Everett, Marisa Tomei) plan to ambush the elephants. Eliza and Darwin know just how treacherous these poachers are because they stole a cheetah cub from its mother. But because Eliza's reckless attempt to rescue the cub so upset her grandmother (Lynn Redgrave), Eliza's been shipped off to a staid London boarding school run by Mrs. Fairgood (Brenda Blethlyn). Eliza's spunky and cool, so this character-driven cartoon has been expanded by writer Kate Boutilier, given rich imagery by directors Jeff McGrath & Cathy Malkasian ("Rugrats") and catchy songs by Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Wild Thornberrys" is an engaging 7. It's a jolly good trip across the savannah.

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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