Rugrats Go Wild

Rugrats Go Wild is a 2003 American animated musical comedy crossover film based on the Nickelodeon animated television series Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys.[6] It is the third and final installment in the Rugrats film series as well as the second and last film in The Wild Thornberrys series. Christine Cavanaugh, the original voice of Chuckie Finster, was replaced by Nancy Cartwright.[7][8] The film was produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Klasky Csupo and released in theaters on June 13, 2003, by Paramount Pictures. It was the least successful film in the Rugrats series, grossing only $55.4 million worldwide[5] and receiving mixed to negative reviews.

Rugrats Go Wild
The Rugrats sit atop a palm tree, with the Wild Thornberrys standing underneath
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Norton Virgien
  • John Eng
Written byKate Boutilier[2]
Based on
Produced by
Edited by
  • John Bryant
  • Kimberly Rettberg
Music byMark Mothersbaugh[2]
Distributed by
  • Paramount Pictures[4]
  • Nickelodeon Movies[4]
Release date
  • June 13, 2003 (2003-06-13)[1]
Running time
80 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[5]
Box office$55.4 million[5]

The film used "Odorama," which allowed people to smell odors and aromas from the film using scratch and sniff cards (reminiscent of 1960s Smell-O-Vision).


The Rugrats go on an adventure through the safari. Tommy impersonates Nigel Thornberry, who is his role model and spoofs his nature show. The babies' broadcast is cut short when they come across a tiger and then a crocodile, both of which threaten them. Just as they begin sinking in quicksand and are nearly attacked, this is revealed as only imagination; the babies and their families are about to go on vacation on the Lipschitz cruise ship.

When the families arrive at the dock, they miss the Lipschitz cruise. Tommy's father, Stu, has rented a ramshackle boat called the S.S. Nancy which he reveals to be their real mode of transportation, and their real vacation. The families are angered that Stu did not consult them on his plans, and soon the boat is flipped over by a rogue wave during a tropical storm. Everyone is forced to abandon the ship and board a life raft as the ship sinks. Everyone blames Stu for causing all of this and lose hope of being saved. Things start looking up when Angelica sings about having hope on her karaoke machine (which resembles a toy piano) she brought, until Spike's tail accidentally knocks both her Cynthia doll and karaoke machine into the ocean.

The next morning, they arrive on a small, seemingly uninhabited island (possibly in Polynesia) and Angelica finds her Cynthia doll on the beach. The adults argue about who should be the leader. When it gets out of hand, Betty suggests a test: she draws a circle around the fighting adults and tells everyone to step out of the circle, saying that it is the bad circle. They all step out and say that they all feel better, except Stu, and make Betty the leader after Didi forbids him from volunteering, much to his chagrin.

On the opposite side of the island is the famous globe-trotting family the Thornberrys (out to film a clouded leopard). Tommy, Chuckie, and the rest of the kids, except for Angelica, set off to find them, for they suspect they are somewhere on the island. Along the way, Chuckie gets lost and runs into the Thornberry's child Donnie, who steals Chuckie's clothes, forcing Chuckie to wear Donnie's shorts. He laments on looking like a "wild boy".

Meanwhile, Eliza, the gifted Thornberry, is exploring about the jungle with Darwin, her chimpanzee companion and runs into Spike, the Pickles' dog. Since Eliza can talk to animals, Spike (now voiced by Bruce Willis) talks for the first time (although he spoke in Chuckie's dream sequence in the episode "In the Dreamtime"); he informs her that his babies are lost somewhere on the island. Under the impression that Spike means he is looking for puppies, Eliza (and a reluctant Darwin) agree to help him find them. Following a close encounter with Siri, an angry clouded leopard whom Spike believes to be just a regular domestic cat, they learn that he meant the human babies.

Simultaneously, Eliza's father, Nigel, finds the lost babies. He heads in their direction but ends up tumbling down a hill and suffers amnesia after a coconut falls on his head. They encounter Siri, but Donnie fends her off. Then Chuckie finds him and they get back their clothes. After escaping from Siri on a high-speed pram, the gang lands in a crater. Angelica (going by "Angelitiki, the Island Princess") runs into Debbie, the teenage Thornberry, and takes off with Debbie in the Thornberry's all-purpose mobile communication vehicle (commvee). In order to get back faster, Angelica steals the Thornberry's bathysphere, accidentally sinking the commvee in her attempt to pilot it. She finds and retrieves the babies and Nigel.

Meanwhile, Stu, who has managed to create a working coconut radio, and the other parents run into Donnie, who is still wearing Chuckie's shoes. After chasing him down the beach, they run into Marianne Thornberry, the mother of Eliza and Debbie and the wife of Nigel.

Stu's coconut radio picks up the babies, Angelica having accidentally turned on the bathysphere's radio. Angelica and Susie, while fighting for control, have crashed bathysphere at the bottom of the ocean. Nigel hits his head in the crash and regains his memories.

With the other parents' help, Marianne then raises the commvee and uses the automatic-retrieval system to rescue Nigel and the babies just as the air runs out. They are reunited with their families and forgive Stu, and everyone finally gets on board the Lipschitz cruise. The Thornberrys join them too, deciding that they should take a vacation, much to Debbie's delight. Spike vows never to lose his babies again.


Main characters from RugratsEdit

Supporting and guest characters from RugratsEdit

The Wild ThornberrysEdit

One-shot charactersEdit


Rugrats Go Wild was originally made by Klasky Csupo's television unit (directed by Mark Risley and written by Kate Boutilier), but after screenings, Paramount decided it should be shelved and remade into a feature film.

Among the biggest hype this movie received was Bruce Willis voicing Spike, and the use of "Odorama" cards to enhance the viewing experience, Burger King and Blockbuster released a scratch and sniff piece of cardboard that was to be scratched and sniffed during the run of the movie.

There were many complaints, that the only thing that the "Odorama" cards smelled like was cardboard. The Odorama card was somewhat of an homage to John Waters' (decidedly adult-oriented) film Polyester. Despite the homage, Waters felt he was ripped off and realized that New Line Cinema, the studio that released Polyester, didn't renew the copyright for Odorama. He later said that "a cheque would have been an homage".[11]

"Odorama" cards would later be released with the DVD release of the movie. Early trailers for the film give the title The Rugrats Meet The Wild Thornberrys.


During its initial theatrical run, Rugrats Go Wild was presented in "Smell-O-Vision". During certain scenes in the movie, an icon would pop up on screen with an item inside of it (example: a smelly shoe). When this happened, audience members would smell a scratch-and-sniff card (which were handed out at the box office) with the corresponding image.


Rugrats Go Wild is the only Rugrats film to receive a PG rating by the MPAA.[12]

Home mediaEdit

Rugrats Go Wild was released on VHS and DVD on December 16, 2003. Most VHS copies included a "Smell-O-Vision" scratch-and-sniff card, as did most initial run DVDs. Later copies of the DVD did not include additional cards, but did retain the option to view the film with the scratch-and-sniff icons on. The film is also available as a part of the Rugrats 3-disc set of all three films, as well as a double feature 2-disc set that also included The Rugrats Movie. The film was re-released on DVD on August 29, 2017.


Box officeEdit

The film grossed $39.4 million domestically and $55.4 million worldwide against a production budget of $25 million. The film earned less than each of the other two Rugrats films. The film opened at #4 with Finding Nemo at the #1 spot.[5]

Critical responseEdit

On review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes the film holds an approval rating of 39% based on 89 reviews, with an average rating of 5.02/10. The site's critics consensus reads: "The Rugrats franchise has gone from fresh to formulaic."[1] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 38 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[13] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[14]

Neil Smith at the BBC gave the film 2 out of 5.[15] Film4 said the film wasn't that as bad as other reviews suggested but "it just doesn't hold a candle to 2002's charming and superior The Wild Thornberrys Movie".[16]


Rugrats Go Wild: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedJune 10, 2003
Rugrats soundtrack chronology
Rugrats in Paris: Music From the Motion Picture
Rugrats Go Wild: Music from the Motion Picture
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic     [17]

An original soundtrack was released on June 10, 2003, from Hollywood Records.[18]

The following is a list of songs that appear on the Rugrats Go Wild soundtrack.[18]

Track list
1."Message in a Bottle (cover of The Police)"American Hi-Fi4:12
2."Big Bad Cat"Bruce Willis and Chrissie Hynde3:15
3."She's on Fire"Train3:50
4."Island Princess"Cheryl Chase and Cree Summer2:32
5."Lizard Love"Aerosmith4:35
6."Ready to Roll"Flashlight Brown2:51
7."The Morning After (cover of Maureen McGovern)"Chase and Summer3:22
8."Atomic Dog"George Clinton4:45
9."Dresses and Shoes"Chase and Summer3:28
10."Should I Stay or Should I Go"The Clash3:09
11."Lust For Life (cover of Iggy Pop only seen in ending credits)"Willis3:43
12."Phil's Diapey's Hanging Low"Tim Curry, Nancy Cartwright, Elizabeth Daily, Tara Strong, Kath Soucie and Dionne Quan3:01
13."It's a Jungle Out Here"Summer, Cartwright, Daily, Strong, Soucie and Quan3:11
14."Changing Faces"Daily3:42
Total length:53:25

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Rugrats Go Wild". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Detail view of Movies Page". Retrieved May 16, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c "Rugrats Go Wild (2003)". AllMovie. Retrieved August 16, 2021.
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^ a b c d "Rugrats Go Wild". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  6. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (2009). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons (3rd ed.). New York: Checkmark Books. p. 222. ISBN 978-0-8160-6600-1.
  7. ^ Thomas, Kevin (June 13, 2003). "Rugrats go 'Wild' in search of adventure". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  8. ^ "Rugrats Go Wild!". DVD Talk. Retrieved August 24, 2010.
  9. ^ "Jodi Carlisle Voices", accessed February 8, 2016
  10. ^ "Jodi Carlisle Biography", accessed February 8, 2016
  11. ^ Jeff Garlin's film of John Waters' one man show This Filthy World.
  12. ^ Nichols, Peter M. (June 20, 2003). "Diaper-Clad Adventurers Heed the Call of the Wild". New York Times. Retrieved August 12, 2010.
  13. ^ "Rugrats Go Wild Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  14. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Rugrats" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  15. ^ "Rugrats Go Wild". BBC. Retrieved August 25, 2010.
  16. ^ "Rugrats Go Wild". Film Four. Archived from the original on March 23, 2010. Retrieved November 7, 2018.
  17. ^ Phares, Heather (June 10, 2003). "Rugrats Go Wild – Original Soundtrack". AllMusic. Retrieved September 16, 2011.
  18. ^ a b "Rugrats Go Wild". Rovi Corp. Retrieved July 18, 2013.

External linksEdit