The Gold Sally Awards recognizes the crucial role screenwriting plays in the filmmaking process. Among the best movies I saw in 2020, you can choose which film contained the best story! Even though you can only vote once per person, you are able to vote for more than one nominee. As I’ve said before, the link to the poll is featured under the list of nominees. This poll starts today, March 15th, and ends on March 21st.
To celebrate the anniversary of 18 Cinema Lane’s beginning, I host a movie awards to highlight the best films I saw in the previous year. As I had several projects on my plate in February, the Gold Sally Awards were pushed back. However, the Gold Sally Awards are still happening, starting with the Best Movie category! In this division, all of the films that were featured on my Top 10 Best Movies I Saw in 2020 list will compete for the title of Gold Sally Awards’ Best Movie. Like in years past, you are allowed to vote for more than one nominee. But you can only vote once per person. This poll starts today and ends on March 14th. On the bottom of the poll, there is a link where you can submit your vote. If you’re having technical difficulties, please don’t hesitate to speak up in the comment section.
I will admit that before I signed up for the Suave Swordsman: Basil Rathbone Blogathon, I wasn’t familiar with Basil as an actor. However, I didn’t let this stop me from participating! While looking through his filmography, I discovered Basil had a role in the 1986 film, The Great Mouse Detective. Because I hadn’t seen this movie before and because I knew I’d likely be one of the few people to discuss an animated film, I selected The Great Mouse Detective as my submission! If you’ve visited my blog before, you’d see that mysteries have a consistent presence on the site. I have set aside time to talk about the films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Some episodes of Murder, She Wrote has been reviewed. I even participated in the Murder, She Wrote Cookalong! Despite the abundance of mystery related content on 18 Cinema Lane, The Great Mouse Detective is only the second animated mystery movie to be featured on my blog. However, at least this review will bring something new to the table!
Things I liked about the film:
The animation: Animated films from Disney’s library usually contain quality visuals and art styles. The Great Mouse Detectivecontinues this pattern of animation excellence! Throughout the film, the backgrounds were presented in softer frames with lighter colors, while close-up images were given sharper lines and brighter colors. One example is when Basil, Olivia, and Dr. David are exploring a toy store. The contrasts within the animation made it easier to focus on the characters and their involvement in the story. This art design reminded me of films such as The Aristocats, 101 Dalmatians, and Lady and the Tramp. Similar to what I said in my From Up on Poppy Hill review, all of the characters were expressive! Their facial expressions and body language were fluid when reacting to different scenarios. A perfect example is when Olivia and Dr. David meet Basil. The Great Mouse Detective’s claim to fame is how it was the first project from Disney to feature computer-generated animation. This creative choice is seen in the climax, when Basil and Ratigan fight in the Big Ben Tower. While it might not seem like a big deal now, this scene was ahead of its time in the mid to late ‘80s. The scene itself has aged well, while also containing gravitas and depth. It reminded me of the bells from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
The use of shadows: The Great Mouse Detective has a primarily darker tone. To emphasize this aspect of the story, shadows were used in various scenes. Toward the beginning of the film, Hiram Flaversham, Olivia’s father, and Fidget, Ratigan’s henchman, are fighting at Hiram’s toy store. In this scene, shadows of the fight are projected over Olivia’s hiding place. Because Hiram and Fidget are not shown on screen, their shadows helped bring an element of suspense and mystery. The shadows also left me wondering what would happen next.
The humor: Despite the film’s darker tone, there were some light-hearted moments that prevented the movie from being too dark. Some of these moments even contained humor. One scene involved Basil ruining a group of pillows in an attempt to solve a mystery. What made this scene funny was the reaction of Basil’s maid over the mess. Another funny moment was when Ratigan called his cat “honey bunny”. What I like about these hilarious scenes is how well written they were. It also helps that there weren’t too many of them, as it would have made the overall picture seem too silly.
What I didn’t like about the film:
The musical numbers: A large number of Disney’s animated films are musicals, with their musical numbers feeling like they belong in that production. Because musicals have become a staple in Disney’s animated filmography, it allows their audience to know what to expect. But The Great Mouse Detective was not a musical movie, especially compared to pictures like Oliver & Company or any of the Disney Renaissance films. The Great Mouse Detective also had a primarily darker tone, with some light-hearted moments. These aspects made the musical numbers seem out of place. The two most notable musical scenes were “Let Me Be Good to You” and “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind”, which had entertainment value. While “Let Me Be Good to You” had some reason for its existence, “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind” was randomly placed in the film. It was a light-hearted and upbeat song that came right after a darker scene, featuring Basil explaining the wrong-doings of Professor Ratigan. “The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind” was a combination of “Gaston” from Beauty and the Beast and “Mine, Mine, Mine” from Pocahontas. However, what makes “Gaston” and “Mine, Mine, Mine” work is how they fit within their respective productions.
The oversharing of the mystery: When I talked about The Mystery Cruise in my list of the Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time, I shared how I didn’t like the film’s mystery being revealed after the mystery was introduced. The Great Mouse Detectivemakes a similar mistake with their mystery narrative. Within the first half of the movie, the details of Hiram Flaversham’skidnapping are shown in a series of scenes that share a timeline with the events surrounding Basil. These scenes show the whodunit, howtheydunit, and whytheydunit of the mystery. Because these pieces of information are revealed early in the movie, the audience knows more than the characters in the story. This prevents them from solving or experiencing the mystery alongside the characters.
The subplot of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee: One of the subplots in The Great Mouse Detective revolved around the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This wasn’t a bad idea, but it was very under-utilized. In fact, I forgot this event was taking place within the story until the film’s climax arrived. Because the premise of this movie was basic and straight-forward, this subplot felt like it was there for the sake of being there. If the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee had been removed from the film, it wouldn’t make a huge difference.
My overall impression:
Two years ago, I reviewed Oliver & Company. In that review, I said the movie was the pioneer for what a Disney animated film could and should be at the time of its release. The Great Mouse Detective gave me a similar feeling. Within this film, there were elements that laid the foundation for animated Disney films that came after it. The climax at the Big Ben Tower is one example, with the scenes utilizing computers to bring them to life. Also, in my Oliver & Company review, I said the movie was fine and that there wereanimated Disney films that are stronger than it. The Great Mouse Detective made me feel this way as well. While watching this film, there were scenes that reminded me of scenes from other Disney projects that were executed better. Some scenes in The Great Mouse Detective felt rushed, making me wonder if Disney was trying to meet a deadline or wanted to take advantage of a busy box office year. Even with everything I just said, this film is worth bringing up in the conversation of animated films. It may get overshadowed, but I think it serves as an important part of animation history.
Overall score: 7 out of 10
Have you seen The Great Mouse Detective? What are some of your favorite mystery films? Tell me in the comment section!
It’s time to vote for the Gold Sally Award’s Best Story of 2019! In this poll, you will help determine which movie I saw in 2019 had the best story. You’re allowed to vote for more than one story. However, you can only vote once per person. This poll starts today, February 21st, and ends on February 27th.
For February’s Genre Grandeur, the selected theme was “Animated Comic Book/Strip Movies”. Chosen by Bubbawheat from Flights, Tights, and Movie Nights, this theme required some thought. To search for a possible title, I headed to Bubbawheat’s blog and discovered the list of “every superhero and comic book movie in chronological order”. While scrolling through the list, I came across one movie that I had heard of, but had never seen: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. This cinematic Batman entry has acquired a great amount of praise over its twenty plus year existence. However, it also has a reputation of not performing well at the box office. Any movie fan knows that box office performance does not always equal quality. But what is the quality of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm? Is it truly as good as other people say it is? Has it become overrated through the power of nostalgia? These are the questions I’ll answer in this review!
Things I liked about the film:
The voice acting: When it comes to animated films, the audience’s attention is so focused on what’s happening on screen, that they don’t think twice about the voice acting. Even though it seems like a small piece of the overall project, it actually can make or break the characters’ and their memorability. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm had an exceptional cast! Each actor brought more than enough emotion to match the facial expressions presented in the movie. These two components felt they were paired perfectly, with the voices themselves feeling like they belonged to that character! The casting itself couldn’t have been better! All of the actors effortlessly embodied their character through their voice talents. They were able to successfully gave life to their roles and enhance their memorability!
The animation: Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is filled with great animation! Its 2-D style still holds up twenty-seven years later! What works in this movie’s favor is the color palette found throughout the project. Most Batman stories adopt a dark color scheme, to showcase the destruction and dismay that has overcome Gotham City. While Batman: Mask of the Phantasm does feature darker colors, the way lighter colors are paired with them is visually interesting. A great example is when a criminal named Buzz Bronski visits the cemetery. The entire scene is filled with the hues of black, gray, and dark blue. The red roses on a wreath are one of the few light colors that can be found in that scene. This makes the wreath pop with color and forces the audience’s attention toward the flowers. It also gives the film a style similar to movies with a “film noir” label.
The music: Another element in animated films that sometimes gets overlooked is the music. For Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, a piece of music that really stood out was the official score. Composed by Shirley Walker, this score was powerful and helped the overall production gain its own identity. An orchestral composition and an operatic choir make this piece of music, as well as the overall film, feel grand in scale. This score was used during the opening credits, with similar tunes featured in two climatic moments of the film. Batman movies have historically incorporated orchestral scores into their projects. The score from The Dark Knight is one of the most iconic pieces of music in film history. Shirley Walker’s musical contributions to Batman: Mask of the Phantasm help keep that tradition alive.
The writing: I was really impressed by the writing in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, as it was clever and well thought-out! The film’s overarching mystery is a perfect example of this. It’s the kind of mystery that allows the audience to take a journey alongside Bruce/Batman. They get to experience events and situations when Bruce/Batman does. At times when a surprise comes, it catches the audience off-guard, as they are so invested in Batman winning over evil that they don’t see a surprise coming. Despite the movie’s darker tone, there was room in the script for humor to be included. One great example is when a party guest believes that the word “engagement” starts with the letter i. Because of how the joke was written and the delivery of the voice actor’s performance, the joke itself was executed flawlessly!
What I didn’t like about the film:
An unclear timeline: Throughout Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, it was difficult to determine when this film took place. In a flashback scene, Bruce and Andrea visit the Gotham World’s Fair, mirroring World’s Fairs that have taken place in decades past (for a point of reference, a World’s Fair was featured in Captain America: The First Avenger). That same flashback scene showed Andrea using a car-phone, an invention known for its popularity in the ‘80s. At two separate moments in the movie, Bruce uses a computer to solve the film’s overarching mystery. Batman stories, more often than not, make a conscious effort to ground themselves in reality. Since this film was released in 1993, the story should have taken place in the early ‘90s, in order to reflect its “current” setting.
Too many flashbacks: Flashback scenes are meant to provide additional context to the film’s plot. They are placed at certain points in the story, so they can present their full impact on the audience. In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, several flashback scenes were shown, explaining the nature of certain relationships and giving clues to the film’s mystery. However, I feel there were too many of them. More than three flashback scenes existed in this narrative. At times, it seemed like every other scene in the movie was a flashback. It also didn’t help that some of them were a little too long. One example is when Bruce meets Andrea’s father for the first time. I liked the scenes themselves, but they made the flow of the film a little clunky.
My overall impression:
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm is not just a solid Batman film. It’s also a solid animated film in general! For my first time watching an animated movie starring the world’s favorite ‘Caped Crusader’, I really enjoyed what I saw! It contained a lot of elements I look for in good animated projects, such as the quality in animation and the story itself. What’s great about this film is how Bruce/Batman was allowed to be a detective within the story. This aspect of the character is not often seen in cinema, as Warner Bros. has usually placed more emphasis on making Batman an action-hero. In Batman: Mask of the Phantasm, it was nice to see Bruce/Batman use multiple talents to save the day. This is definitely one of the better of the Batman cinematic entries! It has stood the test of time and is an enjoyable picture! I want to thank Bubbawheat and MovieRob for giving me a chance to finally see this film! Looking back on it, I have to wonder, where has Batman: Mask of the Phantasm been all my life?
Overall score: 8.4 out of 10
Do you have a favorite Batman film? Is there an animated movie you’d like me to talk about? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
With the 2nd anniversary of 18 Cinema Lane comes the start of voting for the 2nd Annual Gold Sally Awards! The first poll is to determine the best movie I saw in 2019! Just like last year, you are allowed to vote for more than one movie. But you can only vote once per person. This poll will run from today, February 7th to Thursday, February 13th. Below is the poll and the link where you can vote. If you’re having any difficulties, don’t hesitate to mention it in the comment section.
If you want to learn why the polls have changed this year, here’s the like to the announcement post.
Two weeks ago, 18 Cinema Lane received a hundred and twenty-five followers! However, because my blogging schedule revolved around the four blogathons that are scheduled for August, I haven’t found the time to publish this review. I knew I wanted to post this review before the end of the month, so I made some room in my schedule for this review to become a reality. For this post, I chose a movie that was released in August of 2016. I had the option of two Hallmark Channel films and Kubo and the Two Strings. Since I reviewed a Hallmark Channel movie for my previous blog follower dedication review (that film was Desolation Canyon) and since the last time I reviewed an animated film was back in February (the movie I talked about was All Dogs Go to Heaven 2), I decided to talk about the latter. Kubo and the Two Strings is a movie that I had not seen, but definitely had heard about. Mostly positive things were said about it, with the animation itself being a highlight. I don’t watch stop-motion animation often, so that means this is the first film of this kind to be reviewed on my blog! Even after reviewing over a hundred films, there’s still a “first for everything”.
Things I liked about the film:
The animation: Stop-motion animation can be hit or miss. You can either get something that looks whimsical, like The Nightmare Before Christmas or off-putting, like Coraline. Kubo and the Two Strings, however, falls more on the whimsical and imaginative side of the genre. The use of colors is what makes this movie stand out, as the balance between bright and dark palettes was complimentary. A good portion of the landscapes looked very realistic. Water, cliffs, and snow are just a few examples. I also liked how each character had a unique design. No two characters looked alike and their personalities were different from one another. All of these factors made for a truly stunning visual!
The humor: Family-friendly/children’s films sometimes try to incorporate humor by telling the same types of jokes. These jokes can be so overdone that they fall flat or become offensive. The humor in Kubo and the Two Strings was witty and clever. Funny moments felt like they were naturally extracted from the situation, instead of having the characters say or do something hilarious for the sake of it. Kubo and the Two Strings’ humor was well spaced out. It was mostly placed in the quieter scenes of the film, where there was less action and suspense. These moments never overshadowed or took away from the movie’s dramatic and serious parts.
The messages and themes: Kubo and the Two Strings contains several messages and themes that not only compliment the narrative, but help create an enriching story. An overarching theme is family, which plays a huge role on more than one occasion. It provided a moral compass for the characters and even put a new take on a familiar trope from family-friendly/children’s films. The message of how powerful story-telling is was impactful, changing the way certain things are presented. Something as simple as a piece of paper or the sounds of a bird as just two examples. Kubo and the Two Strings is a movie that gives the audience valuable words of wisdom!
The pacing: As I previously stated, the film’s humor was placed in the quieter scenes that featured less action and suspense. I should also add that the humor played a role in assisting the movie’s pace. Kubo and the Two Strings’ pace felt like the ebb and flow of an ocean’s waves. When an action scene came into the story, calmer scenes soon followed. These scenes were used to provide character development and feature interesting character interactions. Because of this balance between action-heavy and dialogue-focused scenes, it never made the movie feel drawn out or longer than its run-time. It made the movie-viewing experience that much more enjoyable!
What I didn’t like about the film:
Choppy movements: Whenever characters moved, it was always in a fluid motion. Some examples include walking and putting up objects. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for the motion of human characters’ mouths. Any time a human character spoke, the movements of their mouth appeared choppy and they didn’t flow with the rest of the animation. The only character I didn’t feel this way about was Monkey. I’m not sure if this is a production issue or if it’s because I don’t watch stop-motion animated films often. But it got to the point where these choppy movements were distracting.
My overall impression:
When it comes to my blog follower dedication reviews, I always try to choose films that are worth my followers’ time. Because they helped my blog reach the milestones that it has, I feel they deserve a good, quality movie as well as review. Well, I can honestly say that Kubo and the Two Strings is that film! This movie has everything I could ever want or ask for in a cinematic story, holding on to my attention from start to finish. While we’ve seen the “hero’s journey” narrative before, this film takes that template and breaths new life into it. It’s a story with so much heart, that it feels like the creative team behind this film truly cared about the movie they were making. With relatable and inspirational messages and themes, Kubo and the Two Strings makes me want to be a better person. Speaking of people, thank you to all of my one hundred and twenty-five followers, as well as my readers, for helping me get to this point. You have and will always play a vital role in this blogging journey.
Overall score: 9.1 out of 10
Do you like that I review animated films? Which movie from this genre would you like to see me talk about? Let me know in the comment section!
I received 30 followers on 18 Cinema Lane two weeks ago! It’s time for me to review a film that was released 30 years ago (in 1988)! Because I’ve never reviewed a Disney animated film on my blog before and since the last time I reviewed an animated film was Rugrats Go Wild (for my 15 follower thank you review), I chose Oliver & Company for this milestone post. Oliver & Company is a film that I’ve only seen bits and pieces of, so I was looking forward to seeing this movie in its entirety. While choosing which movie I would talk about for this particular post, I realized that Oliver & Company was released the year before the start of the “Disney Renaissance”: when The Little Mermaid made its film debut. I came across a review of Oliver & Company from the blog, Reviewing All 56 Disney Animated Films And More!. In that review, Rachel, the creator and author of the blog, provided some insight into the importance of Oliver & Company. This insight made me interested to see the type of foundation that this film possibly put in place for the “Disney Renaissance” and beyond. Keep reading my review of Oliver & Company to see how I felt about the movie as a whole!
Things I liked about the film:
The characters: There were several likable characters in Oliver & Company! I liked how they each had their own unique personality and it was fun to see the various interactions between the characters. Some of the creative choices that were made in relation to the characters were interesting. For instance, there are times when a character who is a bulldog could be portrayed as a mean-spirited and tough individual. In Oliver & Company, however, Francis (who is a bulldog) is an aspiring actor who has a deep appreciation for the theater. This character stood out to me because I had never seen a bulldog, in television or film, portrayed this way before.
The animation: The animation style in Oliver & Company felt very reflective of the art styles and pop culture that could have been found around the film’s release (mid to late ‘80s). This reflection made the movie feel like an idea of what the ‘80s might have been like, shown to the audience as if they were looking at a snapshot. There were a lot of bright colors in this film that I felt complimented the movie overall. The use of light and dark colors was also well done. An example can be found toward the beginning of the film, when Oliver is left by himself in the middle of a rainstorm. In this scene, Oliver’s bright orange fur stood out against the dark blue background of the city. These choices relating to the use of specific colors added to the artistry of the animation!
The music: I really liked all of the music in Oliver & Company! While “Good Company” is a sweet and gentle song, the rest of the songs are upbeat and fun to listen to! To me, all of the music added to the entertainment value of this film. I can definitely see myself listening to Oliver & Company’s soundtrack long after the credits have rolled!
What I didn’t like about the film:
Lack of character development for the human characters: In Oliver & Company, there are only four human characters within the story. As I was watching this movie, I found myself wanting to know more about these characters. How Jenny felt about her parents, apparently, putting more emphasis on their dog, Georgette, than her was something that I was curious about. I also wanted to know more about how Fagin ended up in his particular situation as well as see him move out of poverty in order to achieve a comfortable life for him and his dogs. I understand this story is primarily about the animal characters. But, when it comes to character development for the human characters, I felt there was more to be desired.
A limited presence of the villain: When it came to the villain in this movie, I thought that Sykes was unsettling. However, compared to other Disney villains (and even some non-Disney villains), he wasn’t as terrifying as he could have been. In fact, I found his Doberman side-kicks, Roscoe and DeSoto, to be scarier than Sykes himself. This is because Sykes has a very limited presence on-screen and doesn’t receive a lot of character development. For these reasons, Oliver & Company doesn’t seem to have a lot of high stakes.
The run-time: There were a few times in Oliver & Company where situations seemed to happen too quickly. An example of this is when Oliver learns, at a fast pace, how to steal hot-dogs alongside Dodger. This issue is a result of the film’s shorter run-time. The other aforementioned things that I didn’t like about this film are also the results of a shorter run-time. Oliver & Company is one hour and fourteen minutes, which, as I look back on the film, made me feel like the movie went by very quickly. If this movie would have been an hour and 30 or 35 minutes, the human characters could have received a little more character development and the villain could have been featured more in the film.
My overall impression:
As a Disney animated film, Oliver & Company is fine. As a movie in general, it’s good for what it is. I know that there are other Disney animated films that are stronger than Oliver & Company, but I would never consider Oliver & Company to be the worst or weakest movie from the Disney animated catalog. I like to think of this film as the older sibling to The Little Mermaid. While Oliver & Company was the pioneer for what a Disney animated film could and should be (at that time), The Little Mermaid was able to enjoy the fruits of Oliver & Company’s labor because of those important building blocks that were set in place before the “Disney Renaissance” began. Oliver & Company’s efforts should be celebrated, which is why it’s receiving a “standing ovation” on 18 Cinema Lane! As always, thank you to each and every one of my 30 followers as well as my readers! 18 Cinema Lane and this review would not be the same without you!
Overall score: 7.4-7.5 out of 10
What is your favorite Disney animated film? Which movie from 1988 do you like the most? Let me know in the comment section!
Have fun at the movies!
The link to Rachel’s review of Oliver & Company: https://54disneyreviews.com/2014/09/11/movie-27-oliver-and-company/
Last week, I achieved the milestone of receiving 15 followers! As usual, I am reviewing a movie that, in 2018, is turning the same age as the number of followers I have on 18 Cinema Lane. When thinking about which movie I would review next, I realized that the five and ten follower dedication reviews were about films that were more serious in tone (Saving Mr. Banks was a drama and The Dark Knight is a darker superhero film). To change things up a little bit, I’ve chosen Rugrats Go Wild as the film I would review in honor of 18 Cinema Lane’s fifteen followers! Besides picking a film that was more light-hearted, I decided to review Rugrats Go Wild because:
I’ve never reviewed an animated film on my blog before
This is the only Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys movie I haven’t seen
I talked about the upcoming Rugrats television show and movie in a Word on the Street post last month
On September 1st, The Wild Thornberrys will be celebrating its 20th anniversary
Rugrats Go Wild was released 15 years ago (in 2003)
I am a fan of both Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys, but I haven’t seen an episode of either show in several years. Though I have seen The Wild Thornberrys Movie, The Rugrats Movie, and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, I haven’t watched those movies in a number of years. Despite all this, was I able to find any enjoyment in this movie? Pack your bags and take a trip to my review of Rugrats Go Wild to find out!
Things I liked about the film:
The voice acting: I liked how the creative team behind this movie cast most of the original voice actors from both shows to star in this movie. It helped keep the continuity alive not only for the characters, but also for each show. The only character that had to be recast was Chuckie Finster, but Nancy Cartwright’s (the voice actress who was cast as Chuckie in Rugrats Go Wild) voice acting performance sounded pretty close to how Chuckie normally sounded on the show that, at least for me, didn’t seem to make a difference. I was also pleasantly surprised by Bruce Willis’ voice performance as Spike (the Pickles’ family dog from Rugrats)
The character interactions: As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m a fan of both Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys. With that in mind, it was nice to see the different character interaction combinations that took place in this film. One interesting example was having Nigel Thornberry supervise Tommy and his friends on their adventure. From what I remember, Nigel wasn’t really portrayed as being a silly, humorous character on The Wild Thornberrys. Having him interact with Tommy and his friends showed fans of the show a different side to the character that we’ve rarely seen. My favorite character interaction moment was when Angelica (my favorite Rugrats character) and Debbie (my favorite character from The Wild Thornberrys) sang their duet of “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash! It just brought such a huge smile on my face and made me so happy!
The humor: More often than not, both Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys are known for being light-hearted shows. The humor in Rugrats Go Wild felt on-par with both shows, having the film’s comedic elements compliment each show. Never did it feel like the comedy from Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys clashed with each other. While watching this movie, I noticed a few movie and pop culture references that I not only thought were funny, but that I was able to understand.
What I didn’t like about the film:
Some of the musical numbers: There are about six musical moments that are featured within Rugrats Go Wild’s 80-minute run-time. Out of those six moments, there were two musical pieces that I was not a fan of: when Tommy and his friends sing “It’s a Jungle Out Here” and Spike’s musical number. These musical pieces were, to me, too long and they felt like material that was created just to fill time. Rugrats Go Wild is not an animated musical like some other beloved animated films (example: The Lion King). With that said, the aforementioned musical pieces didn’t add anything to the movie, as well as feel unnecessary and random.
Too many subplots: Rugrats Go Wild has two main plots, one given to each show. Along with those main plots, there are about seven subplots that were written into this film. While all of these plots were resolved relatively well, it still felt like there was a little too much going on in the story overall. In this film, there were interesting and creative story elements that were brought up, but never revisited. A good example of this is when Lil doesn’t want to eat bugs anymore and Phil is shocked by Lil’s refusal to participate in the same activities like before. The idea of Phil and Lil, who are known in the Rugrats world for sticking together as siblings and twins, having different interests despite being twins sounds interesting for their character development and from a story-telling perspective. However, because of how many stories were told in this movie, those concepts seemed to be forgotten.
The movie not feeling like a movie: With the combination of two of Nickelodeon’s most beloved shows, at that time, Rugrats Go Wild sounds like it could have been an “event film” (an example of this is Avengers: Infinity War or Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2). The longer I watched the movie, the more it felt like a glorified television show episode. When I think about theatrically released films, what comes to mind are stories that are too great in scope to be told on television. The stories that were told in Rugrats Go Wild didn’t feel any different from what would have taken place in an episode of either Rugrats or The Wild Thornberrys. The only notable difference is having most of the characters from both shows sharing the big screen.
My overall impression:
For an animated movie, as well as a Rugrats/The Wild Thornberrys production, I thought this was a good movie! I think that fans of both shows will enjoy this movie, especially since the movie keeps the continuity of Rugrats and The Wild Thornberrys. But, as I fan myself, I am willing to point out the flaws this movie has. I respect the ambitious and creative ideas that the creative team behind this movie were trying to incorporate in Rugrats Go Wild. However, because of how many stories were featured in this movie and because this movie felt more like a TV show episode, I feel that Rugrats Go Wild should have been a two to three-part crossover episode. That way, if each part were one hour, the stories could be fleshed out more and interesting story elements could be further explored. To me, this sounds better than having nine plots stuffed into an 80-minute movie. As I wrap up this review, I’d like to take a moment to thank all of my followers. You are one of the reasons why this review exists and why this blog is becoming successful.
Overall score: 7.5-7.6 out of 10
Have you seen any of the Rugrats and/or The Wild Thornberrys movies? Which animated shows would you like to see in a crossover movie or television show episode? Let me know in the comment section!