Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Rugrats Go Wild!

Go To

"The family vacation goes overboard."

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 due to the lack of warning. 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 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.

Rugrats Go Wild! provides examples of the following tropes:

  • 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 Thornberry's power giving him a speaking role.
  • Artistic License – Biology: About the only way they could make Siri, a clouded leopard, into a threat against anyone. She's made out to be massive when in reality, they're no such thing.
  • 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 come.
    • 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.
  • Advertisement:
  • Captain Obvious: Stu; bonus points for being an actual captain before his ramshackle boat sinks:
    Stu: I can't help but feel that somehow this is all my fault. (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).
  • Conspicuous CG: A few pretty jarring examples — most notably the sea when there are waves.
  • 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 movie 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 movie.
  • 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 for the movie since 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 actually cry, but he does shed a few tears at the moment.
  • 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.
  • Friend to All Children: Nigel Thornberry 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.
  • Injury Bookend: Nigel Thornberry 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.
  • 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 is able to build a device to raise the submersible from under water.
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • Seldom-Seen Species:
    • Siri, the Sunda clouded leopard.
    • Slow lorises also appear 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.
  • 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).
  • Smelly Feet: Phil's. He even has Dil smell them at one point just to prove they still are.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: This is more of a Rugrats movie. With the exception of Nigel, the Thornberrys don't do much.
  • Stealth Pun: Stu Pickles 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 Voiced: Spike note , 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, Betty is the only person keeping her from jumping overboard with 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 (Sucks) Song: The "Big Bad Cat" number is a combination of both, where it's a Villain Sucks Song for Spike, and a Villain Song for Siri.
    • Angelica and Susie, weirdly enough, also get this in the form of "Island Princess", which is a Villain Song for Angelica and Villain Sucks Song for Susie.
  • 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.


Example of: