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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

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
2.  Susan Granger read the review movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

THE WILD THORNBERRYS MOVIE is the latest in the popular trend of bringing kids' television cartoon series to the big screen. Many, like HEY ARNOLD! THE MOVIE, lack visual and creative imagination, having only the popularity of the TV show to recommend it.

Kate Boutilier's mediocre script for THE WILD THORNBERRYS MOVIE lacks THE RUGRATS' irreverent wit -- both are made by Nickelodeon -- but the movie's visuals are surprisingly stunning, full of rich colors and with some impressive images. Although most of the movie is set in Africa, it is the portion at an English boarding school, much like the French school in MADELINE, where the details of the animation are the loveliest.

The series and the movie centers on 12-year-old Eliza Thornberry (voiced by Lacey Chabert), a girl with a big secret about her magical powers. She can talk with animals, a gift that she will keep so long as she never admits it to other humans. She and her family are currently traveling across the African savanna in an RV. Bet you didn't know than a motor home could have the off-road capabilities of a Hummer. But, I guess that, if you can buy people talking to animals, you can accept Winnebagos becoming sport utility vehicles.

Being a kids' movie, you can be sure that the plot will involve some aspect of environmentalism. Eliza is trying to find and rescue the young cheetah that some poachers in a helicopter stole from the cheetah's mother. The recycled plot doesn't have anything new to say, and it's relatively devoid of effective humor. Even Eliza's talkative sidekick, a monkey named Darwin (voiced Tom Kane), doesn't get many laughs. The only completely successful character is Eliza's sister, Debbie (voiced by Danielle Harris), a hilariously sarcastic teen. Debbie resents all of the attention paid to her younger sister just because she keeps getting into trouble. Debbie, who is like a grownup Rugrat, steals every scene she is in. Let's hope that next time Debbie becomes the star.

THE WILD THORNBERRYS MOVIE runs 1:22. It is rated PG for "some adventure peril" and would be acceptable for all ages.

My son Jeffrey, age 13, gave it just one *, saying that he found it boring and predictable. His cousin Hannah, age 10, who thought she wouldn't like it, did enjoy it and gave it ***. His cousin William, age 8, liked it, especially the Thornberry's high tech gear and the animals. William's sister Liana, age 6, liked it too. Her favorite part was when they got lost.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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