Movie Name: The Rugrats Movie
Studio: Nickelodeon Movies
Release Date(s): November 20, 1998
MPAA Rating: G
Tommy Pickles is getting a new brother. Unfortunately, Tommy’s new brother Dil is a handful. When Chuckie, Phil, and Lil decide to take Dil back to the hospital, the group ends up lost in the forest in one of Tommy’s father’s inventions. Meanwhile, Angelica finds her doll Cynthia is gone and searches for Tommy, Dil, Chuckie, Phil, and Lil with Spike. The forest is full of dangers like wolves and monkeys…and the children are fighting for survival!
Directed by Igor Kovalyov and Norton Virgien, The Rugrats Movie is a spin-off of the Rugrats series which initially ran from 1991 to 1994. The film features guest vocalists including David Spade, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Cho, Tim Curry, Busta Rhymes, Edi McClurg, and Roger Clinton. The film was a massive hit and one of the largest grossing non-Disney animated films at the time of its release.
I was too old for the Rugrats (and I didn’t have cable). I didn’t really watch much of the series before the movie…but still did enjoy the movie without much background in the cartoon.
Bottom line, The Rugrats Movie is a kids’ movie. The story is pretty simple with the kids getting lost in the forest and the adventures they have when they run into things like a pack of lost monkeys and a dangerous wolf. The characters remind me a lot of Muppet Babies (the Saturday morning cartoon which is shamefully not available anywhere…mostly due to copyright issues I believe). The movie is fun and light.
Despite being for kids, The Rugrat Movie does a lot of stuff for adults. You get a rather “interesting” birth scene with Dil and you also have a musical number featuring a bunch of musicians including Lenny Kravitz, Iggy Pop, Lisa Loeb, B-Real, Lou Rawls, Patti Smith, and Beck among others (ending in a pee rainbow). Unlike a Pixar film, I think the adult humor is more balanced and less about the adults than some of the other comedy for children and adults.
The animation is probably an either “love it or hate it” for a lot of people. Nickelodeon changed up the style of animation with their shows and the style introduced in shows like Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy continues today. It isn’t necessarily “classic” animation, but it isn’t bad animation either. The quality of the film’s animation is slightly better than the standard show.
The Rugrats Movie was pretty entertaining. As a person who didn’t watch the show, I still found it fun and engaging. The film is rather short so it isn’t that much of a commitment (something I find even better) and it does have both laughs and heart. A follow-up movie The Rugrats in Paris: The Movie was released in 2000.