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Western Animation / Rugrats Go Wild!

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Rugrats Go Wild! is the third and final Rugrats movie, as well as the second and also final The Wild Thornberrys movie, released in 2003. Thus making it a Crossover for both series.

Promising his family and friends a cruise trip, Stu causes them to miss the cruise and has them travelling on a small boat, which turns out to have been his real plan for the vacation all along. This leaves the parents angry and disappointed due to the lack of warning. To make matters worse they're caught in a storm, shipwrecking them on a tropical island with no way to get home, which Stu is quickly labeled the cause of.

Meanwhile, Tommy's hero Nigel Thornberry and his family happen to be on the same island filming a documentary in search of a rare leopard.

The babies search the island for "Nigel Strawberry" with the hopes that he'll help them get back home. Nigel finds them, but then a coconut falls on Nigel's head and he gets amnesia, making him think he's a baby. At the same time, Eliza runs into Spike (who, thanks to her ability to talk to animals, is able to communicate with her with the voice of Bruce Willis), who is searching for the babies, and offers her help. Unbeknownst to them, the leopard is also hoping to find the babies...

Though it did earn enough money to cover its $25 million budget, it was still a box-office disappointment, only making $39,402,572 in domestic gross. It also didn't help that it was released in a congested market of movie sequels that year. This all lead to Klasky-Csupo going dormant for at least five years in 2006. To date, this is also the last non-SpongeBob major theatrically released animated feature based on a Nicktoon. Future Nick films like this since then ether air on the main Nickelodeon channel or go onto Netflix.

Rugrats Go Wild! provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: A few pretty jarring examples — most notably the sea when there are waves.
  • Aborted Arc: The entire reason why the Thornberrys were on the island was that they were looking for Siri the Leopard, yet it’s never brought up again after Donnie (disguised as Chuckie) saves the babies and Nigel from getting eaten by her.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The kids encounter an alligator in the jungle, and Tommy distracts it by throwing it a chew toy. Justified since the alligator is actually Spike in the kids' fantasy game.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Siri is purple, a color that does not naturally occur in any feline species.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Susie gets to join in on the adventure after being a only minor character in the first two movies.
    • And Spike is now an supporting character, thanks to Eliza's power giving him a speaking role.
    • Averted with Grandpa Lou, who once again stays behind for the majority of the film.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Changing Faces" by the voice of Tommy herself, Elizabeth Daily.
  • Bamboo Technology: Stu attempts to build a radio out of resources from the island and some of his pocket-sized inventions so they can signal for help. He later uses his expertise to build a system that can be used to raise the comvee.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Siri catches up to the babies, Donnie springs into action, wearing Chuckie's clothes and wielding Dil's stroller like a katana. He does no great damage to the leopard, but he ensures the kids' escape single-handed.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: Angelica sees a bird with a cupcake in its beak and yells "Drop it, big head!" but it (the bird) poops on her face instead.
    • Later, during "Big Bad Cat", an entire flock of parrots splatters Siri while her claws are stuck in a tree.
      Spike: Bombs away, ladies!
  • Bring My Brown Pants: A flying bird, Siri the Clouded Leopard, and the giant squid either poop or release a cloud of ink (the squid) when frightened or defeated.
  • Captain Obvious: Stu; bonus points for being an actual captain before his ramshackle boat sinks:
    Stu: I can't help but feeling partially responsible. (Cue mass of death glares from his family and friends)
  • Cats Are Mean: Siri the clouded leopard is very upfront about wanting to devour Eliza, Darwin, and Spike and doesn't hesitate to target the babies when Spike lets slip their existence. Justified as offspring are a cat of prey's bread and butter, since they're typically much easier to hunt than an adult.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Chuckie's shoes, the only bit of clothing Donnie doesn't return. They serve as the parents' alert that the tykes are missing, leading them to chase him until they meet Marianne, setting up Act 3.
    • Also, the raft that Betty retrieves in the shipwreck. Spike retrieves it in Act 3 so the adults can patch the sunken Comvee's busted pontoon.
  • The Cloud Cuckoo Lander Was Right: Not quite "cloudcuckoolander", but it has the same principle; Angelica tries to freak the babies out by telling them that a giant squid will try to eat them. Sure enough, the group encounters a giant squid in the bathysphere (although it's depicted as a Gentle Giant).
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Nigel receives a blow to the head and believes he's three years old. Something similar happened to Stu in the Rugrats episode "Regarding Stuie".
    • At one point, as Chuckie is wandering through the jungle, he sees a bunch of monkeys and screams, "Oh no! Not monkeys!" in reference to the first film in which one of the babies' greatest enemies was a troop of circus monkeys that were following them and chased Chuckie to and nearly off a cliff.
    • Also, when the adults realize the babies are missing, Didi says "I feel like this has happened before!" which is another nod to the first film.
  • Contrived Coincidence: It's kind of convenient that the Rugrats gang and their parents end up stranded on the same island where the Thornberrys are attempting to shoot footage of a clouded leopard.
  • Crossover: The fact that this is a crossover between The Wild Thornberrys and Rugrats was the main marketing gimmick as both series were very popular at the time.
  • Demoted to Extra: Grandpa Lou only appears for one scene early in the film.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Not surprisingly, Stu finds himself guilty of this after forcing his entire family to set sail on a cruise not on an ocean liner, but on a rat-infested fishing boat that is barely seaworthy. His intention was for them all to spend some real quality family time together instead of wasting their time on frivolous pleasures on a big ship, but his good intentions end up doing a lot of harm when he sails his ship into a storm.
  • Everybody Cries: While the kids and Nigel are stuck in a cave, Susie starts to cry when she feels she won't see her family again. It's not long before Chuckie, Phil, Lil, and Kimi also start to cry along with her. Tommy doesn't full-on cry, but he does shed a few tears during the moment.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Siri the baby-eating leopard is voiced by Pretenders front woman Chrissie Hynde, who is known for her distinct contralto range. Siri even gets a Villain Song, "Big Bad Cat", performed in that low voice.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Sure, nobody is really going to die in a Rugrats movie, but one of the darkest moments in the film is when Nigel and the babies are trapped in the bathysphere on the ocean floor, out of fuel and, soon, oxygen. Nigel decides, rather than panicking, to keep the kids distracted by singing "Old MacDonald". The expression on his face every time he looks at the oxygen gauge shows a clear lack of expectation to survive.
  • Finale Movie: Ended up being this for both series since production on them finished after the film's release, though they would finish airing afterwards a whole year later.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: Some of Spike's interactions with Siri could be seen as somewhat flirtatious. While it's all done to tease her, he calls her "baby", tickles her chin, and leans on her to rub her head.
  • Friend to All Children: Nigel is very nice to the Rugrats gang even after he regains his memories.
  • Gentle Giant: The giant squid that Nigel and the kids encounter in the bathysphere isn't malicious at all. Truth in Television, as giant squids have shown to be tolerant towards humans in their presence during their few interactions.
  • Giant Squid: Angelica tells the babies that one of these might try to eat them, though Suzie rightfully points out that she's making it up. Until the end, where it's revealed that a giant squid really does live in the waters of the island (though it's entirely harmless).
  • Giant Wall of Watery Doom: The wave that sinks the boat towards the beginning of the movie.
  • Gonna Need More X: Chas misquotes the "bigger boat" line from Jaws shortly after the storm starts.
  • Groin Attack: When Nigel falls down the mountain, he stops falling when he lands on a tree branch...which was between his legs.
  • Informed Species: Siri is a lot bigger than a real clouded leopard. She seems to be at least the size of a "true" leopard, when in reality they're no such thing. note .
  • Injury Bookend: Nigel falls on his head and regresses to believing he's three years old. Later, when chaos ensues inside a small sub, a subsequent whack to the head restores his memory.
  • I Would Say If I Could Say:
    Spike: (while he's trying to get the raft) I've battled my way through more tennis balls than I can count! If I could count!
  • Intergenerational Friendship : Angelica and Debbie, and Nigel with all the kids, especially with Tommy.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The film's not subtle in its reference to Debbie learning about Eliza's Gift of Gab in The Wild Thornberrys Movie.
  • Lighter and Softer: Like Rugrats in Paris, this movie is lighter and more comical in comparison to The Rugrats Movie.
  • MacGyvering: Stu attempts to make a radio out of a coconut and some of his pocket-sized inventions.
  • Mirror Routine: Chuckie and Donnie do this through a waterfall after Donnie takes Chuckie's clothes and glasses.
  • Mistaken Identity: When the babies see Donnie wearing Chuckie's clothes (and his glasses), they assume he's Chuckie. It doesn't help that they (somewhat) resemble each other anyway.
  • Nature Tinkling: Chuckie relieves himself in the forest at one point, remarking on how much easier he finds it compared to doing his business in the more conventional manner since he doesn't have to worry about "gettin' any" on the walls or floor.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Rather than put everyone on a nice cruise, Stu brought them all on some old, rat-infested boat. They end up capsizing in the middle of the sea. He later tries to make up for it by building a communications device, only to have allowed the babies to wander off. He's able to build a device to raise the submersible from underwater.
  • Oh, Crap!: Eliza's response when she realizes that Siri wants to eat the babies. She also has this reaction when she realizes that she's looking for human babies instead of the puppies she assumed Spike had lost.
  • Only Sane Woman:
    • Betty's the only adult who remains calm after the group is stranded. This is part of why they make her the leader.
    • Marianne fits this role when the other parents start panicking about their children going missing and are later discovered to be in the bathysphere.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Eliza assumes that when Spike talks about his "babies", he means puppies and she's quite horrified to find out small children are lost on the island.
  • Predators Are Mean: Siri. She likes to eat babies simply For the Evulz!
  • Reaching Through the Fourth Wall: Attempted this by giving each theatergoer a scratch-and-sniff card, with instructions to scratch a certain number or symbol on the card when it appeared in the film.
  • Shout-Out:
    • After the families board Stu's ship, we cut to Angelica standing at the bow holding Cynthia, shouting "I'm queen of the world!", referencing Titanic (1997), as a song sounding a lot like "My Heart Will Go On" plays.
    • The tugboat being capsized by a giant tidal wave forcing the cast to break through the hull to get to the boat's one life raft, after which the ship is shown sinking beneath the waves before Angelica sings “The Morning After” by Maureen McGovern is all a big homage to The Poseidon Adventure.
    • When Spike meets Eliza and he realizes that they can understand each other, he asks "You talking to me? You talking to me?"
  • Shown Their Work:
    • At the beginning, Nigel refers to the jaguar by its actual scientific name ("Panthera onca").
    • Everything about the giant squid at the end. Nigel briefly refers to it by its genus ("Architeuthis"), it's stated to have never been seen alive before (this was certainly true at the time the film was made, though since then some giant squids have been observed alive) and is depicted as a Gentle Giant rather than a Sea Monster (a real giant squid would be more likely to silently observe you than try to kill/eat you), though this is a case of Accidentally-Correct Writing given the giant squid hadn't yet been encountered alive during the film's time.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: This is more of a Rugrats movie. With the exception of Nigel, the Thornberrys don't do much.
  • Stealth Pun: Stu buying everyone tickets for a luxury cruise, then making them take a smaller, rickety-looking boat instead, resulting in everyone getting shipwrecked. In short, what he did was completely Stu-pid.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Spikenote , by Bruce Willis. Though at the very least, this is explained through Eliza's powers of talking with other animals. Naturally, this is the only time in the series he does talk, so it's not a permanent thing.
  • Too Dumb to Live: In the middle of a dangerous storm, Charlotte calls Jonathan, asking him to divert it. And later when she loses it to the ocean, Betty has to physically restrain her to keep her from jumping overboard after it.
  • Undying Loyalty: Spike's loyalty to the babies and the Pickles clan overall really shines through in this film, especially when he risks his life to save the babies when it seems they're going to drown in the bathysphere.
  • Urine Trouble: Spike pees on Siri's tail.
  • Vacation Crossover: The Rugrats characters meet the Wild Thornberrys because they were vacationing on a boat and got stranded where the Thornberrys were filming their latest nature documentary.
  • Villain Song: Two songs serve as this and "The Villain Sucks" Song.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: A seasick Kira pukes over the side of the SS Nancy.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Siri at first, seemed to be a major antagonist in the film. She only appears in a few scenes and is never seen or mentioned again.
    • The subplot of Lil swearing off bugs is never resolved either and is quickly forgotten about.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Tommy receives reassurance from the other kids after they get stuck in a cave:
    Tommy: Angelica was right. I am just a backyard baby with a diapie full of dreams.
    Susie: No, you're not. Tommy, you took us through the drainforest all by yourself!
    Kimi: And led us up the side of the mountain.
    Lil: And you founded Nigel Strawberry.
    Chuckie: And you saved me from the giant kitty cat.
    Phil: Oh, you got lots more than dreams in your diapie, Tommy.
    (the kids stare awkwardly at Phil, who shrugs with confusion)
  • You Taste Delicious: Spike says this to Eliza while he's licking her face in thanks for offering to help him find his family.


Video Example(s):


Spike speaks

Because of Eliza Thornberry's ability to talk to animals, Spike communicates orally for the first time ever.

How well does it match the trope?

4.9 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / SuddenlySpeaking

Media sources: