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RUGRATS

SYNOPSIS:
The Pickles household is in turmoil following the arrival of new baby Dylan. Frustrated by his constant crying and the attention he’s receiving, his brother Tommy (E.G. Daily) and friends Chuckie Finster (Christine Cavanaugh), Phil & Lil (Kath Soucie) and Angelica (Cheryl Chase) decide to take him back to the hospital. Tommy’s father Stu has just invented the Reptar Wagon "the perfect children’s toy" and it seems to be just the thing to take the baby back. Unfortunately, a series of mishaps sees the group lost in the forest. There they must face wild animals, cold and a bunch of renegade monkeys in their quest to find the wizard’s house and a way home.

"This rollicking animated feature is the first big-screen outing for the Rugrats, with whom you’ll be familiar if there’s anyone under 6 living in your house. I have two such people in my house which qualifies me as something of an expert, because I’ve seen every episode at least twice. The Rugrats Movie continues the formula that’s made the TV series so popular - making childhood’s trials, hopes and fears accessible for both youngsters and adults . OK, so there’re a few predictable jokes about "poopy" and the kids’ lack of verbal skills, but these are very much sidelines to the main game involving the ultimate childhood nightmare - getting lost. The script concentrates heavily on friendship and family; particularly the relationship between Tommy and his new little brother. The animation is beautifully realised; and the action skips easily from one perilous situation to another. It may come as something of a surprise to find the film is also quite cinematically literate, and grown-ups will find a diversion looking for the references. But make no mistake - this is not a film for adults. It was never intended to be. My three and a half year old daughter loved this film. She laughed, got scared, cried and was amazed - and for me at least, that’s the highest recommendation. If you want to give your kids a cinema or video experience they’ll undoubtedly enjoy and may even leave having learned something about family and responsibility, then this is a film for you."
David Edwards

"There are many mysteries Mankind grapples with as we approach a new century, and many of life's answers still baffle humanity, and will continue to do so, for time immemorial. One last question facing us is yet to be asked and pondered over by the great minds of our time: Why on earth was The Rugrats Movie a hit, when released in the US? How is it remotely possible, that a film of such awkward amateurishness even be allowed to hit the screen, never alone eclipse such superior holiday fare as Enemy of the State? Is this really what American cinema has come to, or is this merely the end of civilisation, as we know it? Make no mistake about it: The Rugrats Movie is a bad movie, a film based on some equally silly TV series that has enjoyed peculiar success in the land of the free. One cannot imagine, however, that the same success will necessarily follow internationally. The cartoon series appeals to the under 10 brigade, but even those minuscule moppets who brave this big-screen mess, will find it tedious beyond compare, while accompanying adults will be cringing throughout. As we approach the 21st century, the age of movie animation has gone ahead leaps and bounds; the cinema of Mulan and Prince of Egypt has made one fully appreciate the depths of that industry. Then something like Rugrats comes along, setting it back decades. It's a film containing a quartet of annoying babies, screaming and pandering for attention. Entertaining they are not, helped by silly adults whose own child-rearing habits are questionable. There's the music, which is atrocious, poorly performed, and the animation itself is crude and simplistic. There's nothing right about this film, one which the odd toddler may find engaging, while the rest of us will be searching for a pillow, as long as one can snooze through the insufferable noise emanating from this cartoon atrocity."
Paul Fischer

"Rugrats has a pretty big problem: it has no idea who its audience is. The TV series manages it pretty well, expecting that the kids have been left to their own devices for the latter part of the afternoon and are not being troubled by their parents. The movie however, swings away from the well established parent-free format and tries to amuse them as well and it is at this point the fatality occurs. Few laughs are had as the jokes tend to be fart jokes or silly intertextual references to Indiana Jones. Added to that, the cameos of Whoopi Goldberg and David Spade (Just Shoot Me) are almost unrecognisable. It's a pity, because Rugrats is one of the more amusing aimed-at-kidz type programs that try to steer away from patronising stories and have a bit of fun with the concept of a two year old having the language of your average 15-year old with a mild case of compulsive malapropisming, if there is such a thing. A film without an identifiable audience is pretty pointless and I'm glad I wasn't there with the intended audience of parents and under-12s. The cinema would have been squirming due to a case of advanced boredom."
Peter Anderson

"Disney often dominates the animated film market, but the Big Mouse rarely creates quirky or engaging characters. At least Rugrats is one that does. Its central characters are a delightful range of troublesome toddlers who, although typecast, are fun to watch. It is therefore a pity that Tommy, Phil, Lil, Chuckie and baby Dillon find themselves stuck in a forest of uninteresting surroundings. A vicious wolf, a team of mischievous circus monkeys and a wizard are some of the attractions, although each of them provide little entertainment value. Before long, the big bad forest becomes more frustrating than amusing. There are some great moments, though, which make this film far from a waste of time. Grandpa Pickle is hilarious and lovable, and every scene featuring him makes the picture worthwhile. Rugrats is a film with good family values and some delightful characters, but bad writing limits its appeal, success and entertainment."
Luke Buckmaster, Teen Critic

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 2
Mixed: 1

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TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

RUGRATS (G)
(US)

VOICES: E.G. Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Kath Soucie, Cheryl

Chase, Iggy Pop, Beck, Laurie Anderson, Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Loeb, Whoopi Goldberg

DIRECTOR: Igor Kovalyov & Norton Virgien

PRODUCER: Gabor Csupo & Arlene Klasky

SCRIPT: David N. Weiss & J. David Stem

MUSIC: Mark Mothersbaugh

PRODUCTION DESIGN:

RUNNING TIME: 80 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: April 1, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: October 8, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: CIC

RRP: $24.95







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