The Wild Thornberrys Movie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Wild Thornberrys Movie
Wild thornberrys movie ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
  • Cathy Malkasian
  • Jeff McGrath
Produced by
Written by Kate Boutilier
Based on The Wild Thornberrys 
by Arlene Klasky
Gabor Csupo
Steve Pepoon
David Silverman
Stephen Sustarsic
Music by Drew Neumann[1]
Edited by John Bryant
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • December 20, 2002 (2002-12-20)[1]
Running time
85 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $25 million[2]
Box office $60.7 million[2]

The Wild Thornberrys Movie is a 2002 American animated adventure comedy-drama film based on the The Wild Thornberrys television series.[3] The film follows Eliza Thornberry, on her quest to rescue an 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.


12 year old Eliza Thornberry is playing with a family of cheetahs in East Africa, where her parents Nigel and Marianne Thornberry work as roving wildlife photographers for a television nature show. Eliza also rides on the back of a female elephant named Phaedra throughout the jungle. Eliza has been given the magical ability to talk and communicate with wild animals by Shaman Mnyambo. Eliza's older sister Debbie, is a materialistic girl who dislikes Africa, and the girls have a mischievous adopted brother Donnie, who is a feral child formerly raised by apes.

The cheetah mother, Akela, has left Eliza in charge of her cubs; however, Eliza strays beyond the security of the area, and one of the cheetah cubs, Tally, is kidnapped by poachers. Eliza's persistent efforts to rescue the cub lead her British grandmother Cordelia, who is visiting them, talk her parents into sending her off to a Boarding school in England, fearing that Eliza is constantly endangering herself in Africa and will be much safer at boarding school much to Debbie's dismay that Eliza gets to go instead of her. Darwin, 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, 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 notices 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, 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. After notifying Eliza's family that she escaped from boarding school Cordelia plans to send her youngest granddaughter back to boarding school to keep her safe.

Meanwhile, Debbie has been left alone by her parents to take care of 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 who are searching for Eliza in hope of taking her back to England without Nigel and Marianne knowing that Eliza left England. 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, but they 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, she meets a teenage boy named Boko who helps her. 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 the couple are actually the poachers responsible for capturing the cheetah cub, shooting the rhino, and building the fence. The couple later capture them, and it is revealed that the fence is electrified, and that the poachers plan to stampede the elephants into it, which will kill them so their ivory tusks can be harvested for money. 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. 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 for "breaking" the secret, and the group ends up drifting down the river on a log.

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, and the sisters 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 powers.

As Bree and Sloan get their henchmen to detonate explosives in the valley to persuade 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 order 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, 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 the two poachers 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 catches up with Debbie, who gives him her watch as a gift before returning 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 a savanna, 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. Eliza's parents decide against sending her back to boarding school and she's allowed to stay with her family.

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 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 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]

Reviews were mostly positive.[6][7][8][9][10] It currently holds an 80% rating on Rotten Tomatoes (making it the best ranked Nickelodeon Movie on the site, until The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008) and Rango (2011) overtook with 80% and 89% respectively, however it is still the highest rated film based on an series from Nickelodeon) and a rating of 69 (meaning generally favorable reviews) on Metacritic.


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.[11]

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 (2003), SpongeBob SquarePants, and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.[12]


The Wild Thornberrys Movie Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Various Artists
Released November 19, 2002
Recorded 2002
Genre Soundtrack
Length 60:47
Label Jive Records/Nick Records

An original soundtrack for the film was released on November 26, 2002, on compact disc, LP and audio cassette on Jive Records.

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

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1. "Father and Daughter"   Paul Simon 4:10
2. "Iwoya"   Angélique 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 Rainmaker)"   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 and Youssou N'Dour featuring Shaggy 5:08
12. "Get Out of London"   The Pretenders 3:11
13. "Africa (Ila Ra Waisco)"   Las Hijas del Sol 3:56
14. "Awa Awa"   Wes 4:27
Total length:


The Wild Thornberrys Movie Original Motion Picture Score
Soundtrack album by Drew Neumann
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.


  1. ^ a b
  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. ^ Thomas, Kevin (2002-12-20). "Serengeti surprise: a delightful family film". LA Times. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  7. ^ 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]
  8. ^ Burr, Ty (2002-12-20). "'Thornberrys' is fun, but gets a little too wild". Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  9. ^ Puig, Claudia (2002-12-20). "Cute, spunky 'Thornberrys'". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  10. ^ "Wild Thornberrys'". Film Four. Retrieved 2010-08-25. 
  11. ^ "Eminem builds on Oscar buzz". BBC. 2003-02-14. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  12. ^ Beierle, Aaron (2003-03-26). "Wild Thornberrys Movie". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2016-06-06. 

External links[edit]