Going into this movie I was daunted as I’m a total virgin to both “Rugrats” and “Thornberrys” franchises so none of the characters were familiar. The film itself has no pre-amble as to events in the shows or earlier movies so for the first 20 minutes it was confusing as hell but it developed a nice rhythm and became a fun but not quite successful little family toon adventure which should safely appeal to all ages.
Fans of both though have been longing for this team-up, and while I get the distinct impression they’ll be letdown by what they see, they may find some elements quite to their liking. Its harmless fun really, there’s the odd toon botty and baby fixation on farting and poop which makes this very much for the juveniles but it at least tries to give us older folk something to watch in-between.
Voice talent wise Bruce Willis has a fun part as the dog Spike who gets into all sorts of mischief on the tropical island involving a leopard play by Chrissie Hynde (who beats out a song too). Tim Curry, Lacey Chabert, Flea and others all lend decent if indistinctive work to their characters. One of the movies big draws is its tropical island setting which allows for lots of action involving rainforest jungle, the ocean, caves, etc. and really helps up the action quotient.
For adults there’s all sorts of fun references from “The Poseidon Adventure” to “Titanic” which’ll appeal for those who like to spot these sort of things, whilst the adult characters in the film have their own gags whether it be the overly phone-using mother to Nigel Thornberry’s antics which run like a cross between David Attenborough and Steve Irwin.
A couple of songs are squeezed in as well, none particularly memorable but certainly serviceable for the material. At a brisk 81 minutes there’s little time for dawdling and indeed pacing wise it keeps things moving forward. However one obvious flaw even to me is that the characters never cross over enough with the flimsy premise moving fast initially but once on the island not thought out well enough to use both sets of characters.
Similarly whilst it was supposed to be the two shows mixing, this is predominantly Rugrats-oriented so Thornberry fans may be a little letdown. Still, as far as entertainment goes for the very little ‘uns this is colourful eye candy. Adults and newcomers will find a very limited appeal to the whole thing, whilst fans may be a little underwhelmed but overall its certainly workable family fodder.