The Wild Thornberrys Movie

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The Wild Thornberrys Movie
Wild thornberrys movie ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
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 date
  • 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 Wild Thornberrys television series.[3] 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 released on December 20, 2002. The film marks the third film made by Nickelodeon Movies to be based on a Nicktoon.


Twelve-year-old Eliza Thornberry plays with a family of cheetahs in East Africa after being left in charge of the cubs by their mother, Akela. When Eliza strays far from the cheetahs' home, one of the cheetah cubs, Tally, is kidnapped by poachers. Eliza is determined to save the cub, which prompts her grandmother Cordelia to bring her to a boarding school in London for her safety. Upon arriving, Eliza discovers that her pet chimpanzee, Darwin, stowed away in her suitcase. He attempts to blend in, but gets both him and Eliza in trouble.

After having a dream in which Shaman Mnyambo tells her to save Tally, Eliza and Darwin return to Africa. While taking a train from Nairobi, they encounter an injured rhino, who was shot at the river by the same poachers who kidnapped Tally. They save the rhino with the help of veterinarians Bree and Sloan Blackburn. Meanwhile, Eliza's older sister Debbie is left alone with her feral adoptive younger brother Donnie at their RV, the Comvee, while their parents, Nigel and Marianne, go to film a solar eclipse at Tempo Valley. Eliza returns to the Comvee for supplies; after a small confrontation, Debbie pursues her, Darwin, and Donnie. Cordelia and her husband, Colonel Radcliffe, meet up with Nigel and Marianne to inform them of Eliza's escape, and they also begin searching for Eliza.

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 find Tally in the Blackburns' RV, exposing their true status as poachers. The Blackburns capture them and reveal the fence is electrified. Meanwhile, Debbie meets a local boy named Boko, who is sent by his village elders to assist her. The two reach the Blackburns' RV, but Debbie is held hostage by Sloan 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.

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, forcing the elephants to 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, Sloan grabs Eliza and throws her into a river. He then attempts to shoot the elephants, but they pull the Blackburns' helicopter out of the air and destroy it. They survive, but are arrested by rangers soon after. Eliza is saved by Shaman Mnyambo, who tells her she saved the elephants using her heart. As a reward, he gives her back her powers.

Eliza reunites with her family, who decide not to send her back to boarding school, while 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]

  • Lacey Chabert as Elizabeth "Eliza" Thornberry, an adventurous 12 year old girl, Debbie sister and Donnie's adopted younger sister
  • Tim Curry as Nigel Thornberry, Debbie and Eliza father, Donnie's adopted father. Curry also voices Col. Radcliffe Thornberry, Nigel's father
  • Jodi Carlisle as Marianne Thornberry, Debbie and Eliza strict overprotective mother and Donnie's adopted mother
  • Danielle Harris as Deborah "Debbie" Thornberry, Eliza 16 year old sister and Donnie's adopted older sister
  • Michael "Flea" Balzary as Donald Michael "Donnie" Thornberry, Debbie and Eliza's adopted 5 year old brother. Donnie's birth parents were murdered by poachers prior to the movie. As a result, he was raised by apes as a baby before being discovered by the Thornberrys. Donnie is a feral child who does not speak any human language, instead communicating in chimp-like chattering.
  • Tom Kane as Darwin Thornberry, A chimpanzee, Eliza's best friend and pet
  • Lynn Redgrave as Cordelia Jasmin McGold Thornberry, Nigel's snobbish mother. She doesn't approve of her son being a nature show host and wants her family to settle down. She thinks it is dangerous for Eliza to be around animals and dislikes her adopted grandson Donnie's feral behavior.
  • Rupert Everett as Sloan Blackburn, Bree's poacher co-leader and husband
  • Marisa Tomei as Bree Blackburn, Sloan's poacher co-leader and wife
  • Brock Peters as Jomo
  • Alfre Woodard as Akela, the cheetah mother of Tally
  • Kimberly Brooks as Tally, one of Akela's cubs
  • Cree Summer as Phaedra, the elephant Eliza is riding at the start of the film
  • Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Fairgood, the no-nonsense teacher at Lady Beatrice's boarding school
  • Obba Babatundé as Boko, a native boy Debbie runs into later on
  • Kevin Michael Richardson as Shaman Mnyambo
  • Melissa Greenspan as Sarah Wellington, Eliza's snobby roommate at Lady Beatrice's
  • Tara Strong, Hynden Walch and Mae Whitman as the schoolgirls
  • Roger L. Jackson as Reggie (an English red squirrel) and Thunder (a Scottish clydesdale)
  • John Kassir and Charles Shaughnessy as the Squirrels
  • Jeff Coopwood as Park Ranger Tim
  • Billy Brown as the Rhino
  • Keith Szarabajka as a poacher
  • Earl Boen as the Gorilla


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 Original 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 and The DVD (The Extended Edition) was re-released on February 16, 2004. 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: 58:07


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 "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. ^ 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]