Starring: Elizabeth Daily, Nancy Cartwright, Kath Soucie
Director: Norton Virgien, John Eng
Running Time: 81 mins
Rugrats Go Wild is an American film and the third in the Rugrats series. After capsizing in the middle of the ocean, the Rugrats and their parents land on an uninhabited island, but soon come across the Thornberry family.
This is a crossover movie between two classic 90s Nick cartoons: Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys. Why? I don’t know, but I never used to watch The Wild Thornberrys, only Rugrats, so it didn’t make too much of a difference for me. Anyway, Rugrats Go Wild is easily the weakest in the series, and although it has a few moments of fun and games, it feels too far away from what we really love about the original series to make for an entertaining watch.
The previous film, Rugrats In Paris, is my favourite of the series, but I had major issues with its final act, where the Rugrats have to save the day using a giant Reptar robot in Paris. The original Rugrats series wasn’t about big action stunts, it was about the babies using their imagination to have fun adventures, and give us enjoyable episodes of a great TV show, but sadly, the end of the second movie, and almost all of Rugrats Go Wild, doesn’t emulate that.
Simply put, there’s just too much going on in this film. Although I understand why all TV-to-movie adaptations aim to make a ‘bigger’ story, Rugrats Go Wild strays too far from the brilliance of the original show, and instead tells a generic, blockbuster adventure story with little imagination and genuine heart.
There’s very little to be properly entertained by in this film, and extra additions including Spike the dog actually talking (oddly voiced by Bruce Willis), and the ridiculous amount of awkward musical numbers, don’t do much to rectify that, but there are still a few moments that make for a small respite from the generally disappointing rest of the film.
For one, there’s still some good comedy left over from the original series. Like the past two films, there’s a heap of great movie references in this third film, but what really remains is the babies’ sense of humour in difficult situations. They’re always happy and looking for fun, and manage to make a few good jokes here and there, and that represents probably the only real heart in this film, but it still means that you can find small pockets of enjoyment from time to time here.
Overall, Rugrats Go Wild is a disappointment. It fails to use the brilliantly imaginative yet down-to-earth tone of the original series, and makes a more frustrating watch with the addition of awkwardly-placed bursts of song. There are moments of fun, but it’s mostly not a great watch, and that’s why it gets a 6.2 from me.