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:: Rugrats Go Wild

In this third instalment of the Rugrats on screen, the Pickles families, the Finsters, the DeVille’s and Tommy’s friend Susie Carmichael head off to an ocean adventure for their holidays. Missing the huge cruise ship, the gang are devastated to discover that inventor whiz Stu has something else in mind, a makeshift boat he built himself ready and just barely able to accommodate all its passengers. After a terrible thunderstorm the families find themselves marooned on a deserted island with nothing except the clothes on their backs. Leaving the children up to their own devices, they find that they are not the only ones on the island.

The Rugrats go off on a jungle adventure whilst the adults are busily trying to build shelter, cursing Stu’s stupidity and incompetence for getting them there. Stu, assigning to look after the children, goes off on his own and attempts to construct a transistor radio out of a razorblade, soap and some gum, meanwhile he lets Tommy’s mean and bossy cousin Angelica to look after the kids, who obviously are not in good hands.

After a failed attempt at making herself the jungle princess, the kids wander off and get lost in the wilderness trying to find Tommy’s hero Nigel Thornberry (wildlife adventurist) who is at the same exact location looking for a dangerous and rare leopard. During the course of events the two groups, Stu’s gang and the Thornberry’s meet and combine forces to save their children who are in grave danger.

The surprise novelty of this Rugrats instalment is the introduction of the Thornberry’s, also a Nickelodeon television show and also created by Arlene Klasky and Gabor Csupo. After just having a movie length picture out not too long ago and gaining popularity on the network, The Thornberry’s are the definite scene-stealers in the film, especially Nigel Thornberry (voiced by Tim Curry). Another surprise is Spike finally speaks (voiced by Bruce Willis), as there are several other recognisable voices that pop up, especially Chrissie Hynde as Siri the leopard.

It seems that by movie #3, the Rugrats are running out of steam. A brilliant and unique concept, it once was, is now reduced to a collage of movie parodies (Titanic, From Here to Eternity and others) and old and tired lines (yes, Chuckie is still scared!). Spike’s new found vocal abilities just did not seem to work and we just don’t seem to care. I thought his charm was just Spike being Spike, a normal regular dog. The children were the focus, but this time, not so.

The overwhelming and inappropriate soundtrack was a constant nuisance throughout the film. Yes a few songs here and there and even a few musical numbers I can handle, but overwhelming rock and pop every 5 minutes just to promote the soundtrack? Seemed forced and did not compliment whatever was going on at the time, which wasn’t all that much.

A disappointing end to a once brilliant television series. Here’s to hoping that Klasky and Csupo pick their game up with the Rugrats, it would be a shame to see them go.