Flashback Review: The Rugrats Movie

The Flashback Review of the day is about a beloved TV show from 90’s during a time when Nickelodeon was at its prime or as I call it, a golden age. Animated TV shows or Nicktoons were popular hits including Ren & Stimpy, Rocko’s Modern Life, Doug, & Hey Arnold.

Besides Nicktoons, a few non-animated shows were also hits under the former programming block SNICK such as All That, Kenan & Kel, Clarissa Explains It All, and Are You Afraid Of The Dark.

Nick Jr, another programming block for the pre-kindergarten demographic developed their first big hit Blue’s Clues.

Before Spongebob Squarepants, one show became the marker for Nickelodeon, that show is Rugrats. In 1990, the series begins with a pilot episode called “Tommy And The Great White Thing. A year later the officially aired the first season.

The series follows the adventures of the main protagonist Tommy Pickles, his friends including Chuckie, (not the killer doll) twins Phil & Lil, using their imagination explore the concepts of everyday life, using their imagination to change their world into a fantasy while Tommy’s cousin Angelica, the main antagonist of the series with an addiction to cookies, who often causes conflict and sometimes mistreats the group into treating her like a princess.

The show went on to become a massive success spawning merchandise, home video, and the show was awarded a star at The Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Steven Spielberg mentioned Rugrats as The Peanuts of our generation.

In 1998, Nickelodeon released a film based on the animated series called “The Rugrats Movie.” The film is about Tommy and his friends get lost in woods. The film introduces Tommy’s newborn brother Dil. This causes Tommy to become jealous of his younger brother getting more attention than him.

When I first saw it as a kid, I enjoyed every minute of it, now that I’m older, I have mixed feelings about it. Keep in mind this article contains SPOILERS! If you grew up watching Rugrats, go ahead and read it.

Positive: The cast from the show did a good job for their performances including E.G. Daily, Cheryl Chase, Katie Source, and then newcomer to the series, Tara Strong.

The Opening scene is an homage to Indiana Jones.

The Animation is more polished and cleaner than the earlier seasons of the show. Allowing the animators more time to develop.

Character Development involving Tommy’s relationship with Dil while exploring the dangers of his friendship with Chuckie.

There is a sequence with the babies riding The Reptar Wagon resembling something off of a GTA game, plus Buster Rhymes raps in the background. They’re lucky they don’t have a five star wanted level.

Satirized depiction of news reporters who’s job is to tell nothing but lies. That’s fake news for ya.

They did a jab on Bambi, a beloved Disney classic.

The core themes are brotherhood, jealously, and friendship.

Angelica sings a parody version of the Blondie song “One Way Or Another.”

The film gets better during the third act.

The Climax of the film becomes intense.

Doody: The opening scene turns out it the babies imagination. I call it The Bait & Switch tactic.

Poorly written dialogue like the babies speaking improper grammar. How are they speaking English properly?

I’m not making this up, there’s a doctor under the name Dr. Lipschitz. How did they manage to get away with the G rating?

One musical sequence involving a bunch of babies in a delivery room. It doesn’t connect to the plot. They all simultaneously pee on top of the ceiling and a rainbow literally appears inside a building!

Tommy’s brother is named Dylan “Dil” Pickles, and I thought North West is an embarrassing name.

Slacker Grandpa is responsible for the conflict involving the babies lost in the woods. In one scene they mentioned his military experience in WWII, it turns out he possibly napping on the job when Pearl Harbor happened. He stated, “I’ve sounded the alarm as soon as I could.” Way to go Grandpa for losing thousands of lives!

There’s one plot hole involving The Reptar Wagon. The airplane crew opened the crate to see if the babies are okay. In real life, T.S.A. or anybody at the airport will need to check on items before going on board.

When Dil unstraps Tommy’s diaper, Lil gets all googly eyed on him. Did that just happened in a kids film? There’s children watching! As Nostalgia Critic once said, “You know for kids!”

Angelica, the most popular character on the show, had the least amount of screen time. Never had any equal screen time like the rest of the characters.

The Final Verdict: C as in confounded.

Despite the flaws, I’ve enjoyed some of the parts including Tommy’s internal conflict with Dil. If you want to introduce your kids to Rugrats, go ahead and give it a shot.

I’ve heard that Nickelodeon is planning on making a Roger Rabbit like film called Nicktoons. Will have to see if it’s gonna get all the beloved characters from the 90’s back.

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