Everybody's a critic - 'Wild Thornberrys'

Friday, January 10, 2003

Two and a half stars

"The Wild Thornberrys" was definitely a challenge. I'm not much on cartoons, and especially Nickelodeon. However, I have to admit that this was much better than I had predicted. It has a clear plot and doesn't move too quickly or too slowly. However, there is one major flaw in the film: I doubt that anyone it is geared toward will understand it.

Among other things, poachers and boarding school play important parts in this film. I don't think the 5- to 7-year-old audience it is meant for will be able to comprehend these terms.

In the end, the movie turned out to be more of an adult cartoon than a children's flick. While it certainly isn't terrible, there are too few funny parts and too many adult themes pass off "The Wild Thornberrys" as a children's movie. I'd wait for a rental before seeing this one.

- Wes Smith, high school student

One and a half stars

We're not in Disney country with "The Wild Thornberrys." We're in that sort of oddly-proportioned, gawky bobble-head animation style of "The Rugrats" and other Nickelodeon creations. In this cartoon world, nobody breaks out singing Paul Simon's original music, which is relegated to background ambiance.

The bushwhacking Thornberrys are an eccentric globetrotting family responsible for filming wildlife (think snooty British crocodile hunter). Our heroine is the youngest Thornberry, Eliza. Fear not if you're not an avid Nickelodeon viewer, the prologue covers the family history and the origin of Eliza's Dolittlian ability to talk to the animals. The plot meanders about as Eliza tries to outwit evil poachers. The film's difficulty is that it might be too intense for little ones but might bore older kids. Giggles were heard for the obligatory light potty humor and random "Wedgie Dance." Sadly, there's not much for adults. Wait a few months and pop in the video.

- Bob Clubbs, high school drama/speech teacher

Two and a half stars

In high school, it was considered pretty romantic for a guy to take his girl to see the latest Disney movie.

Luckily, I had no amorous expectations when my husband and I went to see Nickelodeon's "The Wild Thornberrys." There were no fairytale princesses, love songs or beautiful animated sequences, but the plot did fulfill one of my childhood fantasies: To be able to talk to animals!

Eliza Thornberry, youngest daughter of parents who produce and star in a wildlife television program, was given this gift and must use it to save her jungle friends from evil poachers. The vocal talents of Tim Curry and other stars enhance a script that may be a bit too wordy, not to mention scary, for children.

So it wasn't exactly a great date movie … but my heart melted seeing Bob well up as Paul Simon's song "Father and Daughter" played during the happy ending.

- Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs, adjunct professor

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