The Rugrats Movie (1998)
Directed by Norton Virgien and Igor Kovalyov
Cast Voices: E.G. Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Kath Soucie, Cheryl Chase, Tara Charendoff, Tim Curry.
1998 76 minutes
Rated: (nothing objectionable, except for the film itself).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, November 21, 1998.
Although I had not been a viewer of the "Rugrats" television series, I went into their first animated feature film, "The Rugrats Movie," with a positive attitude. The trailer looked cute enough, after all. After seeing it, I think the words in my recent "Antz" review, in which I stated that it was the worst film of its type since 1995's "The Pebble and the Penguin," were a bit premature. "The Rugrats Movie," is bottom-of-the-barrel children's fare at its worst, and starts to make, "Antz" look good in comparison.
As in the show, "The Rugrats Movie," is about a group of very little friends, ranging from babies to a three-year-old. The head of the group, Tommy Pickles (E.G. Daily), becomes distraught when his mother has a newborn baby named Dill (get it? Dill Pickles?...hardee-har-har!) and is informed by his three-year-old cousin, Anjelica (Cheryl Chase), that the new babies always take all of the attention away from the other children. When the other children, Chuckie, and twins Lil and Phil, suggest taking Dill back to the hospital, Tommy goes along with it, but on their way there, they crash in the forest, and become lost, running into wolves and circus monkeys, among other things.
"The Rugrats Movie," judging from the idea of being lost in the woods, could have been a potentially fun family film, and there were many different things that could have been done with the story. So what did the writers choose to do? Why, they set up a protracted, cliched scene where the children almost go over a waterfall, of course!
For the youngest of children (ages 3-7), "The Rugrats Movie," may very well entertain them, judging from the audience I saw this with. Of course, if you looked around at all of the older kids and their parents, they were all desperately struggling to stay awake, and that included me. For an adult, "The Rugrats Movie," is a piece of garbage. The plotline is unoriginal and the writing has absolutely no wit or charm. There isn't one laugh to be had in the film, nor is there any excitement.
If anything is even marginally good in the picture, it is the bright animation style, so it is especially unfortunate that it wasn't to service a more quality film.
"The Rugrats Movie" is DOA from the start. I am all for a worthwhile family movie, but sometimes an animated film comes along that is simply awful. As said before, young children may like it, but even they deserve better than this. For adults, it is a nearly unbearable, excruciating chore to sit through. As for me, "The Rugrats Movie," is not the worst of the year, nor is it the most deeply hated, but it is the most boring. Parents: do yourselves a favor and take your kids to see the rerelease of, "The Wizard of Oz." That is a picture that contains a great deal of magic and wonder, two things of which, "The Rugrats Movie," is completely missing.
©1998 by Dustin Putman