The Rugrats Movie
Reviewed by: Mia Burruss
Animation Kids Comedy
1 hr. 19 min.
Year of Release:
November 20, 1998
“An adventure for anyone that ever wore diapers.”
Tommy Pickle gets to learn about “sponsitility” of being a big brother upon the arrival of Baby Dil (short for Dylan) in “The Rugrats Movie”. More importantly, he gets to learn how to love someone who is not always so lovable. He learns to think more of someone who needs him than himself. He learns these valuable lessons in the middle of one of the Rugrats biggest adventures yet—a two-hour animated movie debut of the much-loved Nickelodeon television series “Rugrats”.
Tommy and his pals, twins Lil and Phil, his best friend Chuckie and his cousin Angelica are quite familiar with adventures. They always seem to elude the watch of parents and grandparents and wander into the land of discovery. This adventure begins with the birth of Baby Dil. Dil’s entrance shakes the foundation of the group of babies who have all settled into their respective roles. A bespectacled Chuckie is extremely cautious about everything making him the fraidycat of the group. Lil and Phil maintain sibling rivalry, but are fiercely loyal to each other when someone else challenges them. Angelica is the bratty know-it-all who does her best to reign supreme over the babies as children often do. The babies usually get the best of Angelica and in this movie, Dil is getting the best of them all.
Therein lies the conflict. As Tommy’s inventor father, Stu Pickle, convinces Tommy that Dil is worth more effort in trying to love, the rest of the gang—Lil, Phil and Chuckie—are plotting to return Dil to the hospital and get a different baby brother for Tommy. They figure it’s just like taking a toy back you don’t like. So, they load Dil into Stu’s latest invention, a toy wagon with tons of special effects called Reptar, and are about to take off when Tommy returns. Tommy climbs aboard to try to stop them, but before that happens they are out the house on their way down the street to the most exciting adventure yet. Angelica would have been totally uninvolved except that Dil “borrowed” her favorite doll “Cynthia”. Angelica slaps on her sleuth outfit and roller skates, and hijacks the family dog to track the babies.
Stu finds out about the babies' disappearance only moments before his wife comes home. Because they were about to ship the toy wagon to Japan, they think the babies were in the box and got shipped with the toy while Grandpa Lou Pickles was sleeping. A media blitz ensues. Television helicopters and sleazy journalists descend on the Pickles home and a community search by family, friends and officials begin. Meanwhile, the babies have many dangerous and funny encounters in the woods with a menacing wolf and funny but hungry circus monkeys. The tension really mounts between Chuckie and Tommy as Tommy takes care of Baby Dil.
The “Rugrats” writers skillfully show the feelings of jealousy and loss when forced to share the love of someone close to you. In the end the babies all reunite to ward off the hungry monkeys and escape the menacing wolf. By the time they are reunited with their parents, the babies have already saved themselves from danger over and over again. Those who are familiar with Rugrats the cable show will be familiar with the animation style; the movie did not vary much in that respect. Look for similarities drawn between other big screen movies like “Indiana Jones”. The dialogue is smart and the writers managed to handle potentially sensitive issues for young audiences with wit and humor like where babies come from. This film is one the entire family can enjoy. Indeed, I found myself laughing out loud in the theatre.
Because Tommy learned how to love his younger brother and the other babies learned how to share their friend Tommy with someone new, this movie is a gem of positive moral values. There were no sex scenes. Even toddlers can appreciate this movie. I cannot recall the Lord’s name taken in vain. For that alone this movie should get nominated.
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