Jodi Carlisle

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The Wild Thornberrys Movie Review


Excellent
Considering that I have not watched a Nickelodeon show since Double Dare, I didn't know what to expect from The Wild Thornberrys Movie, based on a popular cartoon from the network. Surprisingly, the film is a hilarious adventure and I shamelessly enjoyed it. The primary audience for this one is kids 12 and under, but directors Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath really took big kids like me into consideration when they put this animated extravaganza together. It features a fantastic score composed by Paul Simon, appropriate to its sub-Saharan setting and is accompanied by a splendid new song from The Dave Matthews Band. Its progressive themes of ecological preservation and racial tolerance also add to the warm tingly nostalgic feeling of the film, but it never gets too cheesy. Let's just say that the Disneyfication of this one is kept to a minimum. It even has a PG rating.

The story follows the Thornberrys, a hodge-podge British family of three generations all living in one souped-up trailer home, as they travel throughout the world documenting nature's wonders. Our protagonist is young Eliza (Lacey Chabert), who has been given a magical gift to talk to animals. Eliza is the quintessential loner, as she is more content with her animal friends than her family's rules and constantly seeks adventure. Along with her chimpanzee companion Darwin (Tom Kane), she manages to get into trouble when she recklessly takes the baby cheetah Akela past the safe boundaries of the desert. Sure enough, malicious poachers snatch up Akela from a helicopter, and despite Eliza's heroic efforts, she's unable to save the cub. Heartbroken and facing rebuke from her bewildered parents, Eliza is shipped off to boarding in school in England. Trapped in the confines of "civilization," Eliza vows to find the lost cheetah cub and to return to her family where she rightfully belongs.

Continue reading: The Wild Thornberrys Movie Review

The Wild Thornberrys Movie Review


Good

Far more imaginative and ambitious than the trivial, cash-in features Nickelodeon has made from its other animated TV series, "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" is a funny, original, whimsical but meaningful story of an intrepid 12-year-old girl's adventures in Africa.

Directors Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath get off to a bit of a clumsy start, catching up uninitiated audience members with a rushed, "the story so far"-style prologue that establishes the Thornberrys as globe-trotting naturalists (can-do American mother and pith-helmeted English father host their own cable TV nature show). In the first two minutes a busy voice-over also explains that nerdy heroine Eliza (all freckles, braces and braids) was given the ability to talk to the animals by a tribal shaman, and that she'll lose the gift if she ever tells anyone about it. Obviously this fact will come into play, because it's greatly emphasized.

But soon Eliza's adventures begin in earnest, when she's packed off to boarding school -- on the advice of her priggish blue-blood grandmother -- after almost being kidnapped by poachers while playing with some friendly cougar cubs.

Continue reading: The Wild Thornberrys Movie Review

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Jodi Carlisle Movies

The Wild Thornberrys Movie Movie Review

The Wild Thornberrys Movie Movie Review

Considering that I have not watched a Nickelodeon show since Double Dare, I didn't know...

The Wild Thornberrys Movie Movie Review

The Wild Thornberrys Movie Movie Review

Far more imaginative and ambitious than the trivial, cash-in features Nickelodeon has made from its...

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