The Wild Thornberrys Movie

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The Wild Thornberrys Movie
Wild thornberrys movie ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Cathy Malkasian
Jeff McGrath
Produced by Arlene Klasky
Gabor Csupo
Written by Kate Boutilier
Based on The Wild Thornberrys 
by Arlene Klasky
Gabor Csupo
Steve Pepoon
David Silverman
Stephen Sustarsic
Starring Lacey Chabert
Danielle Harris
Tim Curry
Jodi Carlisle
Michael "Flea" Balzary
Tom Kane
Lynn Redgrave
Cree Summer
Rupert Everett
Marisa Tomei
Music by Drew Neumann
Paul Simon
Randy Kerber (additional music)
Edited by John Bryant
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 20, 2002 (2002-12-20)
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $35 million
Box office $60,694,737

The Wild Thornberrys Movie is a 2002 American animated adventure comedy-drama film based on the The Wild Thornberrys television series.[1] The film follows Eliza Thornberry on her quest to rescue a baby cheetah cub named Tally from ruthless poachers.

It was produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Klasky Csupo and distributed by Paramount Pictures, and was released on December 20, 2002.


The film begins with 12-year-old Eliza Thornberry (voiced by Lacey Chabert), playing with a family of cheetahs in East Africa, where her parents work as roving wildlife photographers for a television nature show. Eliza has the magical ability to talk and communicate with wild animals. Eliza also rides on the back of a female elephant named Phaedra (Cree Summer) throughout the jungle. The cheetah mother, Akela (voiced by Alfre Woodard), has left Eliza in charge of her cubs; however, Eliza strays beyond the security of the area, and one of the cheetah cubs, Tally (voiced by Kimberly Brooks), is kidnapped by poachers. Eliza's persistent efforts to rescue the cub lead her British grandmother Cordelia (voiced by Lynn Redgrave), who is visiting them, to send her off to an English boarding school, fearing that Eliza is constantly endangering herself in Africa and will be much safer in England much to Debbie's dismay that Eliza had to go instead of her. Darwin (voiced by Tom Kane), Eliza's "pet" chimpanzee, smuggles himself into her luggage and travels to school with her. After a chaotic food fight at a dinner Darwin attends, he is discovered and gets Eliza in trouble. The headmistress tells Eliza that her grandmother will be disappointed in her. Eliza is still guilt ridden for causing Tally to be taken away by poachers.

After having a dream in which Shaman Mnyambo, the person who gave Eliza her power, tells her to save Tally, Eliza persuades her roommate Sarah Wellington to help her and Darwin get back to Nairobi. While on a train to their family's camp, the duo notice an injured rhino outside the train and get off to help it. Eliza speaks with the rhino who tells her that he was shot by the river. They are assisted by a young couple, Sloan and Bree Blackburn (voiced by Rupert Everett and Marisa Tomei), supposedly animal conservationists, but as they attempt to save the rhino, Eliza discovers the same knife carried by the poacher who took Tally. After the rhino is taken away by a ranger, Eliza and Darwin continue to their camp.

Meanwhile, Eliza's sister Debbie (voiced by Danielle Harris), a materialistic girl who dislikes Africa, has been left alone by Nigel and Marianne Thornberry (voiced by Tim Curry and Jodi Carlisle) to take care of her mischievous adopted brother Donnie near their recreational vehicle (the Comvee), while her parents film a huge herd of elephants as they make their way through the fictional Tempo Valley during a solar eclipse. She is visited first by both Cordelia and her grandfather Colonel Radcliffe Thornberry (also voiced by Tim Curry) who are searching for Eliza. The morning after they arrive, Eliza and Darwin themselves appear to plot a course to where Tally was taken, and later leave with Donnie. Debbie demands to know why Eliza gave up a chance for a normal life in England. Eliza, Darwin, and Donnie lock Debbie in a cage and run into the jungle. While Debbie searches for them, she comes to a friendly native village where no one speaks English. After several failed attempts to get her motorcycle out of the mud in which it is stuck, she meets a teenage boy from the village named Boko who helps her to get the motorcycle out. The village members, worried that Debbie will get killed out in the wilderness, send Boko as her guide.

As Eliza, Donnie and Darwin trek through the forest, a gorilla informs them that people have built a fence across Tempo Valley. The trio later encounter Bree and Sloan again, and Eliza realizes that the poachers are after the elephants that will be traveling through the valley. The trio later find Tally in Bree and Sloan's RV, and realize that the couple are actually the poachers responsible for capturing Tally, shooting the rhino, and building the fence. Bree and Sloan later capture them, and it is revealed that the fence is electrified, and that the poachers plan to stampede the elephants into it. Sloan demands to know how she found about the rhino and the fence.

Debbie and Boko later encounter the RV while searching for Eliza and her friends. When Sloan and Bree go to investigate their arrival, Tally chews on the rope bounding Eliza to free her. She and Darwin then get into an argument. Eliza argues that she tried to do the right thing and thought Bree and Sloan were like her; however, Darwin argues that Eliza always gets them into one trouble after another and he yells at her for using her powers poorly. Eliza ends by yelling at him to, for once in his life, be quiet, and upsets Darwin. Meanwhile, Sloan takes Debbie hostage when Debbie comes to bring Eliza home, and threatens to throw her over a cliff unless Eliza tells him the truth about how she knew about their plan. Eliza has no choice but to admit she knows because of her ability to talk to animals. A storm begins, blowing Boko away while Eliza and the others escape from the poachers. Eliza finds that her powers are gone when she can no longer communicate with Darwin, and the group ends up drifting down the river on a log as the storm continues.

Later on, after the storm has stopped, Eliza tells Debbie the story of how she got her powers and that she had kept them a secret all this time. Debbie asks Eliza to prove it, but Eliza tells her she can't anymore because she told someone else about her gift, and now she can't even apologize to Darwin for their argument earlier. Debbie then realizes how much Eliza's powers meant to her and is amazed that she gave it up just to save her life. Debbie and Eliza reconcile their differences. They get to the pass, just in time for the eclipse, but Eliza is doubtful that she can save the elephants without her power. Debbie convinces her to try when she points out that Eliza was always willing to help animals before getting her power (although she quickly tries to get her to stop out of fear for her life).

As Bree and Sloan get their henchmen to detonate explosives in the valley to get the elephants to stampede, Eliza jumps onto Phaedra, and desperately tries to tell her to stop. She uses a necklace her father gave her before she left and hurls it at the electric fence, causing it to react and the elephants to subsequently stop. They begin to turn around but Bree and Sloan ordered their henchmen to fire off another round of explosives, making the elephants charge towards it again. Eliza remembers how elephant mothers tell their young which way to go; she taps the elephant behind its ear, causing her to stop right in front of the fence. The herd again stops, and begins to turn around, much to the poachers' anger. Sloan then swings in on a helicopter and grabs Eliza, throwing her into a river, but not before saying that she won't be there once he and Bree cut out the ivory tusks of the elephants. Fortunately, she is saved by Shaman Mnyambo, who tells her that she saved the day using not her powers but her heart. As a reward, he is willing to give Eliza her powers back.

Meanwhile, the elephants pull Bree and Sloan's helicopter out of the sky, and Bree and Sloan are arrested by rangers contacted by the Thornberrys. Soon, Eliza, Debbie, and the others are then reunited with the rest of the Thornberrys, who have all been searching for them, and Eliza makes amends with Darwin. Boko then caught up with Debbie, and she gave him her watch as a gift before he return to his village. Phaedra returns to Eliza to thank her for what she had done by returning her father's necklace to her. Later on, the group returns to the savanna they were at during the beginning of the film, where Tally is reunited with his mother once again. Eliza also reveals to Debbie that although she got her power back, it was on condition that if Debbie tells anyone about it, she will turn into a baboon, much to her fury. She frightens a group of baboons that Nigel and Marianne are filming and one of them turns on the radio which plays Brandy, P. Diddy and Bow Wow's "Dance With Us". The Thornberrys and the baboons dance to the song together while the cheetahs play with each other on a hilltop overlooking the Thornberry's campsite.

Voice cast[edit]


Box office[edit]

It opened in the US box office on December 20, 2002, and finished at #6 for the weekend, with only $6,013,847 for 3,012 theaters for an average of only $1,997 per venue.[2] The film ended up with a modest $40,108,697 domestically, partly because the film came out on the same day as The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. But, in light of generally favorable reviews it managed to out-gross its holiday animated feature behind Treasure Planet.[citation needed]

It is one of only twelve feature films to be released in over 3,000 theaters and still improve on its box office performance in its second weekend, increasing 22.5% from $6,013,847 to $7,364,432.[3]

Critical response[edit]

Reviews were mostly positive.[4][5][6][7][8] It currently holds an 80% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes (making it the best-ranked Nickelodeon Movie on the site until The Spiderwick Chronicles and more recently Rango took over with 80% and 89% freshness respectively, however it is still the highest rated film based on a Nickelodeon series) and a rating of 69 (meaning generally favorable reviews) on Metacritic. A parody featured on a movie poster in an episode of The Simpsons called 'The Wild Dingleberries Movie.' in "The Ziff Who Came to Dinner"


The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song for "Father and Daughter" by Paul Simon, but lost to Lose Yourself by Eminem for the movie 8 Mile.[9]

Home media[edit]

The Wild Thornberrys Movie was released on VHS and DVD on April 1, 2003. Special features on the DVD are the "Father and Daughter" music video by Paul Simon (also at the end of the VHS), The Wild Thornberrys Movie PC game demo (DVD-Rom feature, requires Windows 98 Second Edition or higher), the theatrical trailer, and previews for Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, SpongeBob SquarePants, and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius.


The Wild Thornberrys Movie Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released November 26, 2002
Recorded 2002
Genre Soundtrack
Length 60:47
Label Columbia Records/Nick Records

An original soundtrack was released on November 26, 2002 from Columbia Records.

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars link

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Father and Daughter" - Paul Simon (4:10)
  2. "Iwoya" - Angelique Kidjo featuring Dave Matthews (3:47)
  3. "Dance with Us" - P. Diddy and Brandy featuring Bow Wow (4:56)
  4. "Animal Nation" - Peter Gabriel (7:20)
  5. "Happy" - Sita (4:06)
  6. "Motla Le Pula (The Rain Maker)" - Hugh Masekela (5:35)
  7. "Monkey Man" - Reel Big Fish (2:36)
  8. "Don't Walk Away" - Youssou N'Dour featuring Sting (4:42)
  9. "Acci-dent" - Baha Men (2:48)
  10. "End of Forever" - Nick Carter (4:05)
  11. "Shaking the Tree (02 Remix)" - Peter Gabriel & Youssou N'Dour featuring Shaggy (5:08)
  12. "Get Out of London" - The Pretenders (3:11)
  13. "Africa" - Las Hijas Del Sol (3:56)
  14. "Awa Awa" - Wes (4:27)


The Wild Thornberrys Movie Original Motion Picture Score
Soundtrack album by Drew Newman
Released April 8, 2003
Genre Soundtrack
Label Silverline Records/Nick Records

The original motion picture score was released on April 8, 2003 from Silverline Records, and includes the theme song "Bridge to the Stars". The album is currently out of print.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Bridge to the Stars" - Randy Kerber and J. Peter Robinson
  2. The Wild Thornberrys Movie Theme
  3. Poachers Get Tally
  4. Photo Album / Elephant Legend
  5. Darwin's Adventures in London
  6. Stampede
  7. A Rainy British Eve
  8. Spooky Story
  9. Like a Caged Teen
  10. The Poachers Strike Again
  11. Debbie Meets Boko
  12. A Race Against Time
  13. Eliza Loses Her Powers
  14. Sneaky Mission
  15. Eliza Saves the Elephants


  1. ^ Mallory, Michael (2002-12-16). "Thornberrys movie plan: Pretend series never existed". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10. 
  2. ^ "Two Towers rules US box office". The Age (Melbourne). 2002-12-23. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  3. ^ "Smallest Second Weekend Drops". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ Thomas, Kevin (2002-12-20). "Serengeti surprise: a delightful family film". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  5. ^ Kehr, Dave (2002-12-20). "FILM REVIEW; Cartoon Characters Are at Home, Home on the Veldt". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. [dead link]
  6. ^ Burr, Ty (2002-12-20). "'Thornberrys' is fun, but gets a little too wild". Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  7. ^ Puig, Claudia (2002-12-20). "Cute, spunky 'Thornberrys'". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  8. ^ "Wild Thornberrys'". Film Four. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  9. ^ "Eminem builds on Oscar buzz". BBC. 2003-02-14. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 

External links[edit]