Rugrats Go Wild is a crossover Nickelodeon animated family comedy film, based off two television cartoon shows Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys. It was the third and last Rugrats film and is a sequel to The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie. The film received mixed reviews and grossed $55 million worldwide, making the lowest grossing Rugrats-related film.
The Rugrats and their parents are on a ramshackle boat that Tommy's father, Stu, has rented in the South China Seas. The boat shipwrecks, leaving them deserted on a small island. On the same island, but on the other side, are the famous globe-trotting family, the Thornberry's are out to film a Clouded Leopard. The little babies set off to find them, for they suspect they are somewhere on the island (as it happens, Tommy treats Nigel like an idol). Somewhere along the way, Chuckie gets lost and runs into Thornberry's Tarzan-like child, Donnie, and the two switch clothes. Meanwhile, Eliza is tramping around the jungle and runs into Spike, the Rugrats dog. Since Eliza can talk to animals, Spike tells her that the little babies are lost somewhere in the island.Her father, Nigel, spots them. But after a fall down a cliff and a bonk on the head with a coconut Nigel gets amnesia. Angelica runs into Debbie, the teenage Thornberry, and she takes off with Debbie in the Thornberry all-purpose Comvee. While not paying attention, the bumbling twosome sink the Comvee and generally cause havoc. Meanwhile, pop culture references to just about anything about castaways on an island (in particular, Gilligan's Island, Survivor, and Lord of the Flies) ensue. Also, unlike the previous movies, Susie tags along with a Polaroid-like camera in hand, and doesn't have her parents traveling with her.
The Rugrats Meet the Wild Thornberrys was originally made by Klasky Csupo's television unit, (directed by Mark Risley and written by Kate Boutilier) but after wildly successful screenings, Paramount decided it should be shelved and remade into a feature film. The television version, a 90-minute special, still exists somewhere in the Klasky Csupo/ Nickelodeon vaults.
Among the biggest hype this movie received was Bruce Willis voicing Spike, and the use of "Odorama" cards to enhance the viewing experience, Burger King and Blockbuster released a scratch and sniff piece of cardboard that was to be scratched and sniffed during the run of the movie.
Criticism of the "Odorama"
There were many complaints, however, that the only thing that the "Odorama" cards smelled like was cardboard. The Odorama card was some what of an homage to John Waters' film Polyester. Despite the homage, Waters felt he was ripped off and realized that New Line Cinema, the studio that released Polyester, didn't renew the copyright for Odorama. He later said that "a check would have been an homage".
This film was produced by released in the summer of 2003 to mixed reviews, gaining a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. It later received negative reviews as of it being considered to be either the weakest of the three Rugrats films or Rugrats at its worst, earning mixed-to-negative reviews and not performing as well as the other two did (although it did manage to earn back its budget of $25 million).
The film opened at #4 at the box office and ended up grossing about $40 million. The film made about $39,402,572 in domestic grossing and $55,405,466 worldwide, making it a box office disappointment, and didn't make a box office hit like the previous two movies. However, it still grossed enough money to cover up its $25 million budget.
This is the only Rugrats film to receive a PG-rating from the MPAA, for "mild crude humor".
Besides the regulars on both shows (see the respective articles), this film featured all of four guest voices:
- Bruce Willis - Spike
- Chrissie Hynde (of The Pretenders fame) - Siri the leopard
- Tony Jay - Dr. Lipschitz
- Ethan Phillips - Toa
- "Message in a Bottle" - American Hi-Fi
- "Big Bad Cat" - Bruce Willis
- "She's on Fire" - Train
- "Island Princess" - Cheryl Chase and Cree summer
- "Lizard Love" - Aerosmith
- "Ready to Roll" - Flashlight Brown
- "The Morning After" - Cheryl Chase, Cree Summer
- "Atomic Dog" - George Clinton
- "Dresses and Shoes (Precious & Few)" - Cheryl Chase, Cree Summer
- "Should I Stay or Should I Go" - Clash
- "Lust for Life" - Bruce Willis
- "Phil's Diapey's Hanging Low" - Tim Curry
- "It's a Jungle Out Here" - The Rugrats (expect for Chuckie ever since he's playing video games)
- "Changing Faces" - E.G. Daily
- → Main article: Rugrats Go Wild (video game)
- This is the only Rugrats film to earn a PG rating from the MPAA, as the film contains "some mild crude humor".
- During the tsunami scene, Chaz Finster says "We're gonna need a bigger boat". This is a reference to the famous Steven Spielberg film Jaws.
- To date, this is the only Nickelodeon Movie to be a crossover.
- During its theatrical run, the film was presented with "scratch n' sniff" cards, which were used to enhance the film's experience. A number would appear and the audience had to scratch the number shown on the screen when it turns green and smell the number from the screen on the card. The cards were also included in the original DVD release of the film. However, later reissues of the same disc (such as The Rugrats Movie Trilogy Collection set) do not include the cards.
- Scooby-Doo Reference: During the chase, the song "Frustrated Unnoticed" plays a reference to the Scooby-Doo chase scene, when a song is played when Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil, Kimi, Susie, Dil, and Nigel Thornberry being chased by Sira the Clouded Leopard.
- This was the first and only Rugrats film to be shot in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
- This is the first film in the Rugrats films not to be released in November.
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