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
Written byKate Boutilier
Based on
Produced by
Edited byJohn Bryant
Music byDrew Neumann[1]
Distributed by
Release date
  • December 20, 2002 (2002-12-20)[1]
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$25 million[2]
Box office$60.7 million[2]

The Wild Thornberrys Movie is a 2002 American animated adventure film based on the television series of the same name.[3] Directed by Cathy Malkasian and Jeff McGrath, 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. The film was released on December 20, 2002, to mostly positive reviews and grossed more than $60 million worldwide. The film was also nominated for Best Original Song at the 75th Academy Awards, making it the first and only film based on a Nicktoon to be nominated. It is also the third film to be based on a Klasky Csupo series (after The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats in Paris: The Movie). The crossover film/sequel titled Rugrats Go Wild was released on June 13, 2003.


Eliza Thornberry plays with a family of cheetahs in East Africa's Kenya after their mother, Akela puts her in charge of the cubs. When Eliza strays far from the cheetahs' home, poachers kidnap one of the cheetah cubs, Tally. Eliza is determined to save the cub, causing her older sister Debbie to tell on her family about Eliza's antics, which prompts her grandmother Cordelia to bring her to a boarding school in London for her safety much to Debbie's dismay since Debbie wanted a normal life. Upon arriving, Eliza discovers that her pet chimpanzee, Darwin, stowed away in her suitcase. He attempts to blend in, but gets both himself and Eliza in trouble.

After having a dream in which Shaman Mnyambo tells her to save Tally, Eliza convinces her roommate Sarah Wellington to buy plane tickets for her and Darwin to return to Africa. While taking a train from Nairobi, they encounter an injured male rhinoceros, who was shot at the river by the same poachers who kidnapped Tally. They jump off the train to save the rhino with the help of veterinarians Bree and Sloan Blackburn. Meanwhile, Debbie is left alone with her feral adoptive younger brother Donnie at their comvee, while their parents, Nigel and Marianne, go to film a solar eclipse at Tempo Valley. Eliza returns to the Comvee for supplies, and has a small confrontation with Debbie. Debbie demands to know why Eliza ran away from London and giving up her chance for a normal life; however, Eliza locks her in a cage. Debbie pursues her, Darwin, and Donnie. Cordelia and her husband, Colonel Radcliffe, try to find Eliza and take her back to London before Nigel and Marianne find out; however, they meet up with Nigel and Marianne to inform them of Eliza's escape. They also begin searching for Debbie, Eliza, Donnie and Darwin.

Darwin, Eliza, and Donnie meet a gorilla who mentions seeing people setting up a fence across Tempo Valley. Then, they run into the Blackburns again. Eliza concludes that the poachers are targeting the elephant herd traveling through the valley. Later, the trio get invited to spend the night at the Blackburn's RV, then the next day they find Tally inside the RV. The Blackburns reveal their true nature as the poachers and capture them, revealing that the fence is electrified. Eliza and Darwin get into an argument and Eliza shouts at Darwin to be quiet. Meanwhile, Debbie meets a local Mbuti boy named Boko, who is sent by his village elders to assist her. The two reach the Blackburns' RV, but Sloan holds Debbie hostage after she reveals she is Eliza's sister. When Sloan threatens to kill Debbie if Eliza doesn't tell him how she found out their plan, Eliza admits it was because of her ability to talk to animals. A storm comes and takes away Eliza's powers while the Blackburns flee. Eliza, Debbie, Darwin, Donnie and Tally ride a log on the river.

After the storm, Eliza tells Debbie about her ability to talk to animals and that she lost it because she revealed her secret to the Blackburns. Debbie reconciles with Eliza when she learns that Eliza gave up her powers to save her. They reach Tempo Valley in time to see the elephant herd heading for the electric fence. When Eliza becomes doubtful of herself, Debbie reminds her that she has been helping animals long before gaining her powers, restoring her confidence. The Blackburns, riding a helicopter, order their men to set off explosives, scaring the elephants and making them charge toward the fence. Eliza triggers the fence's electricity prematurely, causing the herd to stop temporarily, and then convinces the lead elephant to turn around. Infuriated by this, Sloan throws Eliza into a river. He then attempts to shoot the elephants, but they pull the Blackburns' helicopter out of the air by its rope ladder and destroy it, causing him and Bree to fall. Eliza nearly drowns until Shaman Mnyambo saves her; he praises her for rescuing the elephants using her heart instead of her powers. As a reward, he gives her back her powers, on the condition that Debbie will also keep Eliza's powers a secret.

Following the eclipse, the Blackburns are arrested by rangers. Eliza reconciles with Darwin and she reunites with her family, who decide not to send her back to boarding school as she rescued the elephants. Boko returns to his village, keeping Debbie's watch as a memento. The Thornberrys return to the Savannah, where Eliza reunites Tally with his family. Debbie is angered when Eliza tells her that she will turn into a baboon if she reveals her secret, and in the process frightens a group of baboons Nigel and Marianne are filming. One of them activates the radio, which plays music that the Thornberrys and the baboons dance to.

Voice cast[edit]


Box office[edit]

It opened in the box office in the United States on December 20, 2002, and finished at #6 for the weekend, with only $6 million for 3,012 theaters, for an average of only $1,997 per venue.[4] The film ended up with a modest $40 million domestically, partly because the film came out on the same week 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 fourteen 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 million to $7.4 million.[5]

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 80% of 89 critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.7/10. The site's consensus states: "The Wild Thornberrys Movie brings its beloved clan to the big screen for an animated adventure that should prove entertaining for all ages."[6] On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 69 out of 100, based on 25 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[7] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[8]

Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times called it "a witty and delightful Christmas present for the entire family". Thomas said it "balances some honest heart-tugging with a sophisticated sense of humor", making it rare among children's films.[9] Writing for The New York Times, Dave Kehr described it as an "extended Saturday morning cartoon" that is "bland but harmless", comparing it negatively to Disney's The Lion King.[10] In USA Today, Claudia Puig rated it 3/4 stars and wrote, "The Wild Thornberrys will no doubt brighten the day of parents looking for family activities during the holidays."[11] It was also reviewed by[12] and Film4.[13]


The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Father and Daughter" by Paul Simon, but lost to "Lose Yourself" by Eminem for 8 Mile.[14]

Home media[edit]

The Wild Thornberrys Movie was released on VHS and DVD on April 1, 2003.[15]

Video game[edit]

THQ released a video game of the movie, released for the Game Boy Advance and PC. The game's story mode you control Eliza as it loosely follows the events of the movie, and contains mini-games that allow the player to control other members of the Thornberrys.



The Wild Thornberrys Movie: Music from the Motion Picture
Soundtrack album by
Various Artists
ReleasedNovember 26, 2002
GenreHip hop, world music, teen pop
LabelJive Records
Nick Records
Zomba Music
ProducerVarious Artists
Singles from The Wild Thornberrys Movie: Music from the Motion Picture
  1. "Father and Daughter"
    Released: 2002
  2. "Dance with Us"
    Released: 2002
  3. "Happy"
    Released: 2002

An original soundtrack for the film was released on November 26, 2002, on compact disc and audio cassette by Zomba Music, Jive Records, and Nick Records.[16] The executive producer was George Acogny.[17] Paul Simon's "Father and Daughter", written for the film, was released as a single. It went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song,[14] as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.[18]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[17]
1."Father and Daughter"Paul Simon4:10
2."Iwoya"Angélique Kidjo featuring Dave Matthews3:47
3."Dance with Us"P. Diddy and Brandy featuring Bow Wow4:56
4."Animal Nation"Peter Gabriel7:20
6."Motla Le Pula (The Rainmaker)"Hugh Masekela5:35
7."Monkey Man"Reel Big Fish2:36
8."Don't Walk Away"Youssou N'Dour featuring Sting4:42
9."Accident"Baha Men2:48
10."End of Forever"Nick Carter4:05
11."Shaking the Tree ('02 Remix)"Peter Gabriel and Youssou N'Dour featuring Shaggy5:08
12."Get Out of London"The Pretenders3:11
13."Africa (Ila Ra Waisco)"Las Hijas del Sol3:56
14."Awa Awa"Wes4:27
Total length:58:07


The Wild Thornberrys Movie: Original Motion Picture Score
Soundtrack album by
Drew Neumann
ReleasedApril 8, 2003
LabelSilverline Records/Nick Records

The score was released on April 8, 2003, from Silverline Records, and includes the theme song "Bridge to the Stars", music by Randy Kerber (who composed the additional music for the score) and J. Peter Robinson, with lyrics by Maribeth Derry and performed by Tracey Amos and Lisa McClowry. The album is currently out of print.

Crossover film[edit]

A crossover with Rugrats (another series from Klasky Csupo), entitled Rugrats Go Wild, was released on June 13, 2003.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Detail View of Movies Page". Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  2. ^ a b "The Wild Thornberrys". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  3. ^ Mallory, Michael (2002-12-16). "Thornberrys Movie Plan: Pretend Series Never Existed". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-11-10.
  4. ^ "Two Towers Rules US Box Office". The Age. Melbourne. 2002-12-23. Retrieved 2010-10-30.
  5. ^ "Smallest Second Weekend Drops". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  6. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys Movie". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  7. ^ "The Wild Thornberrys Movie".
  8. ^ "Find CinemaScore" (Type "Wild Thornberrys" in the search box). CinemaScore. Retrieved November 16, 2020.
  9. ^ Thomas, Kevin (2002-12-20). "Serengeti Surprise: A Delightful Family Film". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  10. ^ Kehr, Dave (2002-12-20). "Film Review; Cartoon Characters Are at Home, Home on the Veldt". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  11. ^ Puig, Claudia (2002-12-20). "Cute, Spunky 'Thornberrys'". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  12. ^ Burr, Ty (2002-12-20). "'Thornberrys' Is Fun, but Gets a Little Too Wild". Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  13. ^ "Wild Thornberrys'". Film Four. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  14. ^ a b "Eminem Builds on Oscar Buzz". BBC. 2003-02-14. Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  15. ^ Beierle, Aaron (2003-03-26). "Wild Thornberrys Movie". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2016-06-06.
  16. ^ Ball, Ryan (October 21, 2002). "Wild Thornberrys To Swing Into Record Stores". Animation Magazine. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ Rick Lyman (December 20, 2002). "'Chicago' and 'The Hours' Lead Golden Globes Race". The New York Times. Retrieved 2019-06-16.

External links[edit]