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Western Animation / The Rugrats Movie

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Naptime is over.

The Rugrats Movie, as the title says, is the first of three films based on the Klasky-Csupo-produced Nickelodeon cartoon Rugrats. Released to theaters on November 20, 1998, it was the third theatrical film released by Nickelodeon Movies as well as their first animated one and second one based on one of their television series, the first being Good Burger. It was also a huge Western Animation milestone, becoming the first non-Disney animated feature to gross over $100 million in the United States (though not the first to do so worldwide— that was Antz), despite earning mixed critical reviews. The film was also the highest grossing movie based on a animated series until it was broken by Pokémon: The First Movie in 1999 and later The Simpsons Movie in 2007.

Released between the show's fifth and sixth seasons, the plot concerns the Rugrats having to deal with an unhappy amount of changes that have come as a result of the birth of Tommy Pickles's (E.G. Daily) new baby brother, Dil (Tara Strong), who's unable to speak. Tommy feels he's being neglected by his parents Stu (Jack Riley) and Didi (Melanie Chartoff) in favor of Dil, and the other babies do not like Dil at all. Things get worse when the babies get stranded in the forest with Stu's new toy, the Reptar Wagon and a bunch of monkeys who've escaped from a traveling circus. Will the babies learn to cope with Dil and make it back home?

The film also stars Kath Soucie as Phil, Lil and Betty DeVille, Cheryl Chase as Angelica Pickles and Tim Curry as Rex Pester.

See also Rugrats in Paris and Rugrats Go Wild! for the sequels.

This film contains examples of:

  • Accidental Misnaming: When Rex Pester lists the babies that have gone missing, he gets all their names wrong.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Tommy mistakes the pocket watch Stu gave him for a compass, but somehow manages to get some mileage out of using it as one.
  • Adults Are Useless: Averted for a change. 'Cause this time around, the situation is actually very serious.
  • Agony of the Feet: Angelica hurts her foot after kicking the Reptar Wagon out the door and she hops up and down for a few seconds before hearing her show come back on.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese dub has the surprisingly melancholy "Winter's Review" by SHAZNA as its theme song.
  • The Antagonist: Rex Pester. It’s only one true villain in this film of Scar Snout, not him because he’s just an antagonistic jerkass.
  • Armor-Piercing Response: When Chuckie tries to get Phil and Lil to go back to Tommy, they refuse because they say that he only cares about Dil. Chuckie retorts that somebody has to, which leads to the twins going back to save them from the monkeys.
  • Award-Bait Song:
    • "Take Me There" by Mya feat. Blackstreet, Ma$e & Blinky Blink.
    • The above-mentioned "Winter's Review" counts as well.
    • Incidentally, David Bowie was asked by the producers to provide a song for the film. The result was "Safe", which has the qualities of this trope. However, the song ultimately went unused.
  • Because You Can Cope: At night, Didi and Stu don't pay attention to Tommy because they're too busy singing a lullaby to Dil. Left alone, Tommy mournfully sings the lullaby to himself.
    Tommy: Baby, please, rest your head. Now it is time for bed. Please stop. Don't you see? I want mom and dad for me...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Tommy gives Dil a "The Reason You Suck" Speech after he's had enough of Dil's behavior, and nearly lets him get taken by the monkeys.
  • Big Bad: Scar Snout the wolf provides the biggest and darkest threat the babies have ever faced in the entire series, given his vicious and ravenous demeanor.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The film focuses on Tommy developing this for Dil. He does his best to take care of his baby brother, even when Dil becomes bratty.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Spike, just as the wolf is ready to pounce.
    • Chuckie, Phil and Lil have one, using the Reptar Wagon to rescue Tommy and Dil from the monkeys.
  • Big Damn Movie: The show never had the babies going on this kind of adventure. Most of their adventures within the show were purely in the imagination of the babies, or were adventures through relatively mundane environments that would seem fascinating and new to a young child. The film, on the other hand, has them literally lost in the wilderness.
  • Big "WHAT?!": Drew when Rex tells him that Stu lost Angelica.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Angelica Pickles, although downplayed from the show—she's not afraid of looking obnoxious by singing about how awful babies are in front of the adults, at any rate.
  • The Body Parts That Must Not Be Named: When the adults are discussing the unborn Dil's sex, Charlotte says, "Born under Venus, look for a..." but is cut off by her cellphone ringing.
  • Book Ends: The prologue and the epilogue feature an "Okeydokey Jones" game of pretend, though in the latter Dil makes an appearance, since Dil of course wasn't born until after the prologue. Incidentally, having Dil around is what allows their mission to succeed this time, unlike the prologue where the babies failed.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: When Tommy argues with the twins on top of a hill after Phil blames Dil for them being lost in the woods. While Phil and Lil aren't wrong about how Dil has been causing them trouble and how being a brother isn't what Tommy expected it to be, Tommy rightfully points out how it's their fault they all got lost in the woods in the first place, as they were the ones who put Dil in the Reptar Wagon and tried to return Dil to the hospital, despite Chuckie telling them Tommy wouldn't like the idea, and didn't listen to Tommy when he told them not to do it.
  • Bowdlerise: In the French dub, Didi’s mention of Pearl Harbor is replaced with a rock concert, but this may be a case of a cultural translation as not too many Francs are familiar with the event as much as Americans are.
  • Call-Back: A few small references to the show—or characters from it—make it into the movie:
  • The Cameo: A vocal example. Margaret Cho voices Lt Klavin, who asks Didi if Tommy has "any underworld or mob connections".
  • Canine Confusion: This movie has a wolf that has dew claws on its back feet, which is a trait only found in some dogs; wolves never have dew claws on their back feet. It also sounds like a big cat.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Reptar wagon, and Stu's Dactar glider.
    • The Circus Monkeys.
    • The pocket watch that Stu gives Tommy to show him the responsibility his son now has as a big brother. Tommy's "sponsitility" watch becomes very vital to the plot.
    • The babies end up in a mattress truck that Stu unknowingly causes to crash into the forest. While the babies are of course unharmed, the aftermath of the mattress truck accident is the first scene of investigation for the Parents.
      • Dil's pacifier falls out of the Reptar Wagon on to the road. Later when Spike is towing Angelica across the road, Spike finds the pacifier on the ground and stops. But Angelica keeps going, and Spike is tugged along on his leash as he and Angelica fall into a ditch in the woods. Later, when the police and the adults are investigating the mattress truck accident, Lt. Klavin finds Dil's pacifier and shows it to Stu and Didi, who gasp in shock.
    • The goat that Grandpa Boris gives to Didi.
    • The waterfall the babies almost go over has a bridge right above it. The climax takes place on the same bridge. The waterfall comes back too when Spike pulls the wolf off the bridge and the wolf falls down it.
  • The Chew Toy: Rex Pester. Being an arrogant, nosy jerk reporter in a kids' cartoon, it is kind of expected.
    • First, Stu accidentally slams into his helicopter while riding Dectar, ripping out the throttle and sending him crashing into the forest.
      Rex: And I never won an Emmy!
    • He later reappears with an arm in a sling, pushing away another reporter already on the scene. He is promptly attacked by the monkeys who steal his toupee, with Betty cheering them on.
      Rex: No! Not my toupeé! No!
      Betty: (laughs) Go get him, you little simians!
      Charlotte: Hey, Rex! Time for your closeup!
      Chaz: [in mock sympathy] Oh, dear, too bad.
    • For the babies, Angelica is the one who goes through the worst. She gets dragged around the woods by Spike (and the monkeys at one point), she almost gets killed by the wolf twice, she goes through the most Clothing Damage, and she flies into the air and gets dangled over a bridge by her detective outfit.
  • Clothing Damage: Each of the Rugrats especially Angelica's outfits get damaged while in the woods during the climax, Stu's also gets damaged when he crashes through the shed on his Dactar plane. Even Cynthia is looking pretty ragged by the end.
  • Cool Car: The Reptar Wagon. Downplayed, it's still a children's toy that needs to be pushed to move, but it's a Not Zilla-shaped wagon that's very effective as an onroad and offroad vehicle, the arms can be extended to perform a swing-turn on a pole, becomes a boat with a propellor as "Aqua Reptar", deep-sounding voice clips via Stu's edited recordings, and prior to him removing them, mounted flamethrowers.
  • Cousin Oliver: Dil. After all, this is his debut.
  • Darker and Edgier: All the great memories we had of Rugrats are on display here; life-threatening situations, murderous animals, psychological tension tearing the group apart, the works.
  • David vs. Goliath: Spike takes on a wolf much larger than him to protect the babies. Like the Trope Namer, David defeats Goliath.
  • Death Glare: Tommy has a few of these when he loses it and blows up at Dil. It's one of the things that causes Dil to change.
  • Description Cut: Didi explains that Stu and Drew are brothers and they get along wonderfully. Cut to them fighting.
  • Determinator: Pretty much all the main cast. The babies searching for "the Lizard" to get home, Angelica searching for Cynthia, and the adults searching for the kids.
  • The Diaper Change: When the babies wind up lost in the forest, they have to change Dil's diaper. This includes a Tinkle in the Eye scene at one point.
    Tommy: Well, I guess we'll have to change his diapie.
    Phil: What do you mean, "we"?
  • Disney Death:
    • Spike who saves the babies from the huge vicious wolf, ending with both of them falling off the bridge and over a waterfall. Fortunately, Spike manages to survive by landing at the bottom of the bridge.
    • Also, for a brief second Phil, as Lil thinks a tree fell on him, but he really accidentally left his shoes behind as he ran for cover.
  • Disney Villain Death: Scar Snout the wolf, who's pulled off the bridge by Spike into the river.
  • Dramatic Thunder: A thunderstorm hits when the babies are lost in the forest, with the first crack of thunder punctuating Tommy thinking Dil turned into a monkey and the rain starts when Tommy decides to go find Dil alone. The thunder also dramatically accompanies Tommy about to pour the jar of banana baby food onto Dil for the monkeys to eat him, until realizing that he's not being a responsible baby brother.
  • Drives Like Crazy: The babies when driving the Reptar wagon through the streets and later through the forest. Having no knowledge of driving, this was inevitable.
    • Stu as well, both behind the wheel of his car and when piloting his Dactar glider. Justified because of adult fear, he's looking for the babies and the rules of the road (and later the sky) are a lesser priority than finding the babies safe and sound.
  • Dropped Glasses: At one point the monkeys steal Chuckie's glasses. A bit later Chuckie complains that the situation couldn't get any worse only to step on his glasses cracking the lenses. For the rest of the movie he has a hard time seeing due to the broken glasses having a kaleidoscope effect.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When Chaz & Howard notice baby footprints and wheel tracks in the woods, the adults realize the kids are in the woods, on the Reptar Wagon. When Drew angrily calls Stu out on this, it gives Stu the idea to find the kids on his Dactar Glider.
    Stu: They must be in my Reptar Wagon!
    Drew: "It's the perfect children's toy!" You and your stupid inventions!
    Stu: My stupid inventions... That's IT!
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Angelica, who had been searching for the babies to retrieve her Cynthia doll, eventually finds and joins them in the Reptar Wagon as they flee from the Monkeys.
  • Everybody Cries: The babies cry, including Angelica, when Spike falls off the bridge while protecting them against the wolf.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The Rugrats in a "Okeydokey Jones" fantasy sequence.
  • Father's Quest: Stu builds the Reptar Wagon for a toy-building contest being held in Tokyo, in the hopes of winning the money to support his newborn son, Dil. When Phil and Lil see the Reptar Wagon, they try to use it to take Dil back to the hospital against Tommy's wishes, which is how they, along with Tommy and Chuckie, get lost in the forest. Stu believes that he accidentally sent the babies to Tokyo (due to the babies having played in the crate he was going to ship the Reptar Wagon in earlier), only to find out the goat is there instead. When he learns the babies are in the woods with the Reptar Wagon, he does everything he can to find them, including take to the skies on his Dactar glider.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Gee, the monkeys caught up to the babies on the bridge, but then get scared and run away... Wonder why...
    Wolf: (growls)
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The monkeys that take over their owners' circus train and end up crashing it into the forest.
    • The wolf that Spike pulls Angelica away from in the beginning returns to menace the kids later. The wolf itself is subtly foreshadowed by the remarks about Little Red Riding Hood by the babies when they first get lost.
    • If you listen closely, when Angelica tells Spike to quiet down with the barking, you can hear "One Way or Another" playing on the TV. Angelica ends up singing her own version later during the storm.
    • The argument between Stu and Drew when we first see them sets up the relationship that, at first, Tommy will have with Dil because of how the brothers (both Stu and Drew and Tommy and Dil) don't connect.
    • When the Reptar Wagon is tearing down the neighborhood, it winds up in a playground, where it rides a ladder bridge like train tracks. It not only foreshadows the involvement of the monkey train, but also when the Wagon repeats this with real train tracks during the climax when the babies outrun the monkeys.
    • When the wolf sneaks up on Angelica in the woods after her roller skate breaks, Spike pulls her out of the way just in time, saving her life. Spike goes on to save all the babies from the wolf in the climax (and even stops the wolf before it can bite Angelica again).
  • Gross-Out Show:
    • Dil poops in his diaper at one point while they’re lost in the woods and the other Rugrats are forced to change him, thankfully we don’t see anything.
    • Dil pees on the other Rugrats as they attempt to change his diaper at one point.
    • Or the "fountain" during the musical number. Rainbow at the end aside...
    • Dil also vomits on Chuckie when the Reptar Wagon is tearing down the streets.
  • Hartman Hips: Miriam Pickles.
  • Hate Sink: Rex Pester, the obnoxious news reporter who gets Drew to fight Stu and tells Didi that she might never see her children again. He's also not all that subtle about the fact that he doesn't really care about the lost babies he's pretending to be all heartbroken about and is exploiting the situation just to boost his own career.
  • Heel Realization:
    • When Tommy is about to pour Dil's banana baby food on him and let the monkeys take him away (then eat him), Dil realizes that he's been a real brat and hugs his brother to apologize. Dil spends the rest of the movie being nice to Tommy and helping the rest of the babies escape the monkeys.
    • In the same scene, Tommy also gets this when he sees how terrified Dil is and goes back to being a good big brother.
    • Chuckie himself gets one when he realizes that he left his best friend to die in the woods. He gets Phil and Lil to go back to help because somebody has to and there's nobody else who can.
  • Hero Insurance: Nothing is said of the damage and destruction the babies cause riding in the Reptar Wagon. They cause at least two cars to crash (and the fate of the drivers is unknown), smash a stairway banister in the park, shatter a large amount of glassware from a moving truck, cause a big mess in a mattress factory, and smash a "DO NOT ENTER" sign into splinters, among the most notable destruction caused.
  • Heroic Dog: As (ironically) the wolf realized, Spike is more than ready to go Papa Wolf to protect the children.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Spike. Or at least it seems this way at first.
  • Heroic BSoD: Lil has one after she thinks Phil was crushed by a tree.
  • High-Pressure Emotion: Drew Pickles' head boils red after finding out Stu lost Angelica. One guess as to what Drew attempts to do afterwards.
  • Historical Rap Sheet: Grandpa Lou apparently slept through Pearl Harbor when he could have sounded the alarm to alert the military on base.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Twice, Ranger Frank gives Ranger Margaret some helpful advice, before promptly acting like the opposite of the advice he just told her.
      Ranger Frank: You see Margaret, out here in the country, you have to be just a little tougher. (sees the Reptar Wagon floating in the river from his telescope) AAAH! THE DRAGON! I JUST SAW IT! I SAW IT!
      Ranger Margaret: Where? Where? (looks through the telescope, but the wagon is nowhere to be seen) Here? Where?
    • Later when the adults arrive at the ranger station and discuss the situation:
      Ranger Frank: I know you rookies can get excited and lose your heads, but veterans like me know the key is to remain calm and cool and collected.
      (the adults enter; panicking; Frank falls from his chair)
      Didi: Please! Our kids are lost in the storm! You've got to help us!
      Ranger Frank : There's dragons out there! I'm a park ranger! Not a knight at a round table! GO FIND SOMEONE WITH A LANCE!
      Ranger Margaret: Never mind him. Come with me!
      (Margaret leaves with the adults, leaving Frank whimpering and sobbing hysterically)
  • Idiot Houdini: While Stu faces repurcussions for his part in losing the babies and is pivotal in recovering them, Lou retains a Never My Fault attitude about his own neglectful actions and is The Load for most of the movie. The other adults justify this as Stu should have known Lou was too incompetent to left alone with the kids in the first place (to Lou's indignance). A bit of karma might have hit him in The Stinger however, napping in the Reptar Wagon when it rolls away again.
  • It's All About Me: Dil has this attitude until Tommy blows up at him and is about to let the monkeys take him away. At that moment, Dil suffers a Heel Realization.
  • Infant Sibling Jealousy: Early in the film, Tommy doesn't get along with his newborn brother, Dil at first. Tommy hates how much noise Dil makes and feels his parents are neglecting him to focus on his brother. He and his friends trying to send Dil back to the hospital is how they end up lost in a forest. By the end of the film, Tommy realizes how much he loves Dil, and his Big Brother Instinct often appears in the post-movie seasons of the TV series.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Angelica, sort of. Despite being mean to the babies and Spike, kicking the babies out the door in the wagon causing them to get lost, and attempting to track them down for inadvertently stealing her doll, she is very distraught to see Spike nearly taking his life to protect her and the babies from the wolf, even distracting the wolf when he almost kills Spike which helps him defeat the wolf, crying out of remorse for her previous behavior towards him and tearfully concurring to the babies' wish to the 'wizard' to bring Spike back. She is also relieved to see Spike alive along with the others.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: A few, in fact, involving a father and daughter.
    • Drew had very legitimate points about his brother Stu's career choice. With no insurance, savings and is barely capable of supporting his family before Dil was born, he is merely trying to look out for his brother and his family. Not to mention, Stu's pigheaded attitude makes it seems like he isn't thinking about his family's future either and is banking too much in a probably cause. He was incredibly lucky he manage to get success by the time the next movie came along.
    • During Angelica and Susie's fighting over singing the song at the baby shower, Angelica does raise some valid points that raising a child does come with difficulties like dealing with dirty diapers and constant screaming.
  • Just Train Wrong: You can't just stop a freight train at a station for a coffee break like it's a car at a rest stop. Also why is there a 19th century steam train operating in the late 90's? While circus trains still exist today, they use modern locomotives and rolling stock and the train operators are not affiliated with the circus. There would also be numerous safety regulations that would not allow leaving a loaded and operational circus train unattended.
  • Kick the Dog: Rex is full of these moments, such as harassing Didi about how she'll "never see her children again" or literally kicking Stu when he (in his flying machine) collides with Rex's news helicopter, immediately after having said "our hearts go out to these poor babies' parents."
  • Knight of Cerebus: Scar Snout the wolf brings a noticeably more tense atmosphere and would've killed the babies had Spike not been around. He is also the only Rugrats antagonist that is seemingly Killed Off for Real.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • At the end, arrogant Jerkass reporter Rex Pester (already injured from Stu accidentally causing his chopper to crash) finally meets his karma when being ambushed by the circus monkeys, to everyone's amusement.
    • Given his falling asleep while watching the babies led to them ending up in the forest with the Reptar Wagon, it's only appropriate that The Stinger shows Grandpa sleeping in said wagon...only to them be bucked down the street in it by the goat.
  • Last-Minute Baby Naming: Justified in this case, as Stu and Didi were told they were having a girl and planned on naming her after Stu's mother. When Dil makes his appearance, they quickly rework the idea and name him after Didi's cousin.
  • Let Me at Him!: Betty rightfully gets upset with Rex and the other reporters for asking her friends upsetting questions about their missing children and tries to charge at Rex. Stu and Lou hold her back while Rex is enjoying her reaction.
  • The Load: Dil is firmly in this role for the most part. Averted after his Heel Realization as he helps the babies escape the monkeys in the climax.
  • Meaningful Name: Rex Pester, the nosy and irritating reporter covering the lost kids' story.
  • Missed Him by That Much: When Stu is speeding his car after Grandpa Lou lost the kids, he's right behind the mattress delivery truck that the babies are currently inside of. The truck door opens briefly, but Stu isn't watching the road at that moment, as he's talking to Grandpa. ("We'll never find the babies with this jerk in front of us!") Then the truck door closes shut just as Stu turns his attention back to the road. Then as Stu passes the truck, he inadvertently causes it to swerve and crash through the guard rail and plunge into the forest. Good thing the truck driver jumped out just in time and the truck was full of mattresses to protect the babies.
  • Missing Child: The film focuses on the babies Tommy, Chuckie, Phil and Lil trying to send Tommy's younger brother Dil back to the hospital and ending up getting lost in the woods. Tommy's spoilt, older cousin Angelica later goes missing too when she sets out to get back her Cynthia doll Dil snatched from her earlier.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Chuckie is the first to realize that abandoning Tommy and his younger brother Dil in the dark forest (out of frustration with the latter) was a terrible mistake. It drives him to convince the twins that they need to go back for them.
  • Naked People Are Funny: Tommy's diaper falls down because of Dil during an argument at one point, and it quickly dissolves all the tension in the scene while the other kids start giggling.
  • Narrator: Chuckie, very briefly at the beginning and the end.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: The woods that the babies get lost in are big and dark woods. The babies almost fall over a waterfall, Dil gets taken away by escaped circus monkeys, and also a wolf stalks and almost kills the babies.
  • Never Had Toys: In response to Stu bragging about the Reptar Wagon being a great toy for kids, Grandpa Lou claims that when he was young, he'd throw rocks as a game and says a bag of dirt is what children want, implying that he played with those as well.
  • Never My Fault:
    • It's quite clear that the entire mess is Grandpa Lou's fault, who once again fell asleep while watching the kids. Grandpa tells Didi that Stu lost the kids, but Didi doesn't buy it. They both call Grandpa out on this.
      Grandpa: Einstein here lost the kids.
      Stu: I lost the kids?!
      Grandpa: See?
      [Didi gasps and drops her grocery bag, sending all products rolling on the floor]
    • Also the fact that the babies are lost in the woods is the twins' fault, as they tried to put Dil in the wagon against Tommy's wishes and Chuckie tried to talk them out of it, but they wouldn't listen. Tommy even calls the twins out on it, while Chuckie is just in the middle of the argument.
      Phil: This is all Dil's fault, right, Chuckie?
      Chuckie: Uh...
      Tommy: Nuh-uh! This never would've happened if you guys hadn't put him in the wagon in the first place! Right, Chuckie?
      Chuckie: Uh...Nuh-uh?
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Happens a lot throughout the film.
    • Phil and Lil were mostly the whole reason that the gang ended up lost in the woods.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: The monkeys, if the ending is any indication—in the end, they and the babies had the same end goal: To go find their family, in this case, the two circus ringleaders who raised them.
  • Obligatory Swearing: Despite the movie being rated G, the word "ass" was heard during the Reptar wagon chase from the Busta Rhymes song "On Your Marks, Get Set, Ready, Go!".
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Stu and Grandpa when they first realize the babies are lost.
    • Stu when Drew hears about the babies going missing, leading to Drew attacking him.
    • The babies the second time they hear Scar Snout the wolf howl in the distance (the first time it happened, it looked like Tommy did it), and then again when he actually appears on the bridge.
    • Spike has a moment of it earlier too when Scar Snout is behind Angelica and nearly eats her.
  • Out of Focus:
    • Once the babies get lost, Angelica gets the least screen time out of everybody including the adults up until the climax.
    • Also, Susie only appears for Didi's baby shower and disappears from the movie once Didi goes into labor.
  • Papa Wolf:
  • Parasol Parachute: The circus monkeys jumped off the roof of a crash train cart and used an umbrella to float down. Phil and Lil attempt to do the same with a broken umbrella but falls down faster than the monkeys.
  • Police Are Useless: Played straight with Ranger Frank who is too busy deliriously ranting about the "dragon" (actually the Reptar Wagon) he saw to be of any use to the Parents, but averted with Ranger Margaret.
  • Poorly Lit Pareidolia: When Chuckie, Phil and Lil are lost during a thunderstorm, lightning strikes cast impressions of faces in the treetops.
  • Post-Support Regret: Tommy prioritizes his Big Brother Instinct over his friends’ annoyance over Dil being The Load and an Annoying Younger Sibling, even leaving them when they refuse to help him rescue Dil from circus monkeys. When Dil is an Ungrateful Bastard who still hogs all of the resources and laughs at Tommy’s misfortune, Tommy snaps and declares that he was wrong to choose him over his friends and should have just let his friends get rid of him.
  • Predators Are Mean: Scar Snout the wolf. The one trait that puts it more on the evil end of the scale is that it spends most of the movie specifically targeting the babies. During it's fight with Spike in the climax, Angelica blows as raspberry at it and it actually takes notice of this, turns around and is ready to bring his jaws down on her, making this wolf seem exceptionally petty in addition to being mean.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Mark Mothersbaugh's arrangement of the opening bars to Richard Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra are heard when the babies encounter Stu after he crashes his Dactar glider.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After saving him from the monkeys, Dil's constant selfishness finally pushes Tommy over the edge, and he promptly chews him out.
  • Raiders of the Lost Parody: The film has an entire opening Fake-Out Opening recreating the first scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark straight down to the original score. Hell, Tommy dons the moniker and outfit of Indy, or "Okeydokey Jones", later on in the movie.
  • Refuse to Rescue the Disliked:
    • Dil gets taken by a pack of runaway circus monkeys. Tommy sets off to rescue him, and asks Chuckie, Phil, and Lil if they're going to help him. Phil and Lil refuse, because they see Dil as nothing but a nuisance. Chuckie refuses to help Tommy by reminding him of all the times throughout the movie he didn't help him (because at those times, Dil needed his attention).
    • This is repeated later in the movie, when Chuckie suffers a Heel Realization and insists they go back to help Tommy. Phil and Lil again refuse, reminding him he only cared about Dil's wellbeing rather than his. Chuckie makes the meek reasoning "Well somebody has to... don't they?". It seems to work.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Tommy gives a HUGE one to Dil when he's had enough of Dil's behavior.
    Tommy: You think it's funny?! Phil and Lil was right! You're a bad, naughty baby, and you're never gonna get any better! I'm through being your big brother! I don't want my sponsatility NO MORE! (tosses his watch away, the monkeys notice)
    Dil: Monkey! My monkey! Mine!
    Tommy: You want monkeys? Oh, okay. I'll give you monkeys. You'll have a monkey mommy and a monkey daddy and a monkey brother! I shoulda let my friends take you back to the hopsicle, but "Noooooo," I said. "He didn't mean it," I said. "He was only playing." Well, I was wrong! Now I don't even have friends. (throws a diaper over his shoulder, the monkeys grab it) Dil wants monkeys, and monkeys want the nanners. (takes out the mashed bananas) Sooo, EVERYBODY GETS WHAT THEY WANT!
  • Runaway Train: When the Banana Brothers stop their Monkey Circus train at a railway station for a coffee break, the unsupervised monkeys climb aboard the steam locomotive and start it up, causing it to speed out of control along the tracks until it approaches a sharp curve and derails in the forest.
  • Running into the Window: Tommy, Chuckie, and Phil and Lil all do this in the movie's prologue after Didi finds them trying to get in the fridge. Currently provides the page image.
  • Savage Wolves: One that stalks and tries to kill the babies.
  • Say My Name: Angela shouts "Cynthia!" a few times. A standout example is when she realises her Cynthia doll is missing (because Dil has her and Angelica failed to ger her back), and it's accompanied by the camera zooming out and panning across town to where Cynthia is (in Dil's hand as the Reptar Wagon tears through the streets).
    • The babies all shout "SPIKE!" in horror when they realise Spike is about to fall off the bridge with the wolf.
  • Scared of What's Behind You: At the climax, the monkeys corner the babies, but suddenly flee. The babies cheer... only to turn and see a huge vicious wolf slowly stalking them ready to pounce. Thankfully, Spike saves them just in time.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After Tommy finds out Dil was taken by the circus monkeys, Phil and Lil refuse to help Tommy find him and say that Tommy can find Dil on his own. Chuckie also refuses to help Tommy because of how Tommy has only looked out for Dil's wellbeing over his, so all three of them leave Tommy and Dil behind in the woods. Granted, it was Phil and Lil's fault in the first place they were stuck out there and karma does bite them back when Phil almost gets crushed by a falling tree, which drives Chuckie to get the twins to help him go back for them. The second time is Tommy's Heroic Breakdown where he decides to leave Dil with the monkeys after he finally reaches his Rage Breaking Point. Thankfully, he reconsiders and doesn't go through with it.
  • Selfless Wish: The babies are very willing to make one. Rather than wish to go home like they originally wanted, they wish to get Spike back. Thankfully, it turns out that Spike was alive and right after, the parents arrive to reunite with them.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sleep Cute: Tommy and Dil under the blanket, under the tree.
  • Stock Audio Clip:
    • If you listen closely during the film's trailer, you'll notice that the music playing is ripped straight from the Jim Carrey movie Liar Liar.
    • Snippets from the Beetlejuice main titles are used as well.
    • In the film itself, Tommy's crying.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: While most of the babies' antics and brushes with danger are Played for Laughs in the show, the movie makes the stakes and consequences much more real, complete with emotional breakdowns and fall-outs among both the child and parent groups, and a mass search party and media breakout over the disappearance.
  • Take That!: At Disney, when a Bambi-esque scene with cute woodland animals is shattered by the runaway Reptar Wagon.
  • Tears of Joy: Didi when she finds Tommy and Dil alive.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • When Angelica comes across the wrecked circus train in the woods, she says to Spike (who's pulling her along by his leash), "Dumb dog! There's no babies around here!", right before Chuckie almost runs into her.
    • After Angelica hitches a ride on the Reptar Wagon, she begins berating the babies for almost leaving her behind... seconds before the Wagon gets caught on a hole in the bridge, almost launching her off the bridge in the process.
  • The Song Remains the Same: The Japanese dub keeps "Get Set, Ready, Go!" and "Witch Doctor", as well as The Stinger, in English.
  • The Stinger: After the closing credits, we see Grandpa sleeping in the Reptar Wagon...which the goat then accidentally knocks onto the road.
  • Toilet Humor: Frequently, such as when the babies in the nursery make a pee rainbow.
  • Unconventional Food Usage: Tommy, who is jealous of the attention his newborn brother Dil has been getting and annoyed by his crying, smears mashed banana on Dil so that the monkeys will raise him instead of his family. However, he changes his mind and decides to keep Dil with the Pickles family after all.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The biggest and most deadly threat the babies ever encounter comes in the hungry and Dead Serious form of Scar Snout the wolf. He is a very scary antagonist from a kid's cartoon franchise. He’s made even worse by the fact that this is a shared universe with The Wild Thornberrys where most animals are sapient and aware of humans.
  • Wanted a Son Instead: Dil was expected to be a girl and was going to be named after Stu's deceased mother Trixie. When he turned out to be male, he was named after Didi's cousin Dylan.
  • Wham Line: After they find the wolf's paw print, Tommy seems to imitate the wolf's howl. Phil compliments him on the imitation, only for Tommy to say he didn't do it. Uh-oh.
    (Tommy trips over something)
    Chuckie: Tommy, are you okay?
    Tommy: I'm fine. I just tripped in a little hole, that's all.
    (camera zooms on a large paw print on the ground)
    Chuckie: Gosh, it looks kinda like Spike's feet, only if he was a giant.
    Phil: I saw feetprints like that in our storybook. A wolf made them, and then he ate that Little Red Riding girl.
    Chuckie: The wolf ate a girl?
    Phil: They got her out.
    Tommy: I don't think it's a wolf, Chuckie. If it was, we'd hear him say...
    (The wolf howls in the distance as Tommy prepares to mimic such a sound.)
    Phil: That was pretty good.
    Tommy: I didn't do anything.
    (The wolf howls again.)
    All: WOLF!!! (The Rugrats jump into into the Reptar Wagon and speed off)
  • Would Hurt a Child: The hungry Scar Snout hunts five babies (including a newborn) and a toddler throughout the movie.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: When the wolf is stalking Spike and Angelica. Angelica, oblivious to the wolf, smells its breath and thinks it's from Spike. Spike notices the wolf and quickly manages to drag the unsuspecting Angelica out of the wolf's clutches.