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The Wild Thornberrys Movie
2002 - PG - 78 Mins.
Director: Jeff McGrath, Cathy Malkasian
Producer: Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, Paul Germain
Written By: Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo
Starring: Lynn Redgrave, Marisa Tomei, Brenda Blethyn, Alfre Woodard, Rupert Everett
Review by: John Ulmer
   
The thing that always gets me about cartoons featuring children heroes is how cruel the adults are to them, and what vengeance they take against them. Take, for instance, "The Wild Thornberrys Movie," where a poacher trying to kill elephants throws a small girl from his helicopter into a waterfall, after saying, "Too bad you won't get to see my plan finished!", or something like that. Of course she survives, to even doubt her survival is ludicrous, as it is a children's film, but how many times do you run into such mean poachers? Maybe there are poachers out there that would throw a girl from a helicopter, but who in his right mind and without any shame would yell at the girl and treat her like an adversary? I mean, it's a ten-year-old against a forty-year-old and this is the only way he can feel like he's accomplished something? By treating the girl as if she is his age?

In fact, this film in many ways reminds me of "The Rescuers Down Under," in which the mean poacher from THAT film threw a child into a waterfall, much to the disapproval of two mice and an Albatross, voiced by John Candy. To call "The Wild Thornberrys" a clone of this film is an understatement.

The only difference here is that the main character, Liza, can talk to animals. Hey, waitta minute, couldn't the kid in "The Rescuers Down Under" talk to animals, too? Okay, let's go over some other differences. "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" takes place in a desert area. Oh, wait, "The Rescuers Down Under" took place in Australian deserts. Umm, next one. In "The Wild Thornberrys Movie," the girl has essentially three pals helping her out: A monkey, a bushkid and her sister (her parents are nature filmers and get seperated from the kids). Now...correct me if I'm wrong: In "The Rescuers Down Under," didn't the main star of the film have three pals? Two mice and the bird? And in "The Wild Thornberrys Movie," the villains of the tale are a twosome. In "The Rescuers Down Under," there are two villains, a man and a lizard. Am I missing something here?

There are some good voices in this movie. Tim Curry provides his vocal talents, as well as Flea from "Back to the Future" Parts II and III, better known as a bandmember from Red Hot Chillipeppers. But a good animated film is not put together soley on good voices. It has to have an original script. Sadly, this film does not. It's so blatantly a rip-off of the film I mentioned above that it is almost embarrassing. I suppose Nickelodeon thought that enough years had passed to try and pass this rip-off onto audiences without them realizing where the plot came from, but they didn't trick this critic.

"The Wild Thornberrys Movie" is, of course, based on the Nickelodeon telvision series. I've seen one or two episodes along the way, and must say this film is truthful and faithful to the series. The kiddies will not be disappointed. But if you are a parent going into this film, don't expect anything other than another typical retread on a subject carried off so expertly in "The Rescuers Down Under," which I would much rather pay to see again than this film.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

 
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