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The Wild Thornberrys Movie Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly

    An average kid-empowerment fantasy with slightly above-average brains.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The movie features a musical score aimed more at boomer parents than their tykes.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    An energetic and eccentric animated cartoon.

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  • 88

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Loren King

    With braces on her teeth and preteen gawkiness, Eliza's a nerdy girl on the surface, but her backbone and chutzpah manage to save human and animal family alike. Move over Bond; this girl deserves a sequel.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 6+

Exciting adventure in Africa for animal-loving TV family.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this full-length, animated theatrical movie (based on the Nickelodeon TV series) with its humor, strong messages, suspense, and inspiring facts about nature and animals will appeal to both kids and parents. The filmmakers show great respect for creatures in the wild, different cultures and people, the study of science, and a close-knit family made up of distinctive individuals. Set in Africa, the movie has some suspenseful scenes that may be scary for the very youngest or most sensitive kids. Family members and/or animals are in danger in a number of action sequences: a stampede, confrontations with gun-toting poachers, falls from great heights, rushing waters carrying kids over steep waterfalls, and more. There are no serious consequences, and everything is resolved humanely. 

  • Families can talk about how the movie compares with the TV series. Is it as good or better in full-lenth film form?
  • Why do Eliza and Debbie feel so differently about the animals?
  • Families may want to discuss the issue of poachers going after wildlife. Kids: Do you see why Eliza would risk her life to save a cheetah cub?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true4

    Educational value: In The Wild Thornberrys Movie, kids will be introduced to interesting scientific phenomena: elephant migration, an eclipse, the character of a friendly tribal village, and some common behavior shared by humans and animals. They'll also learn about the poaching of wild animals. The Wild Thornberrys series is affiliated with the National Wildlife Federation. Easy and inclusive ethnic diversity contributes to the overall viewing experience.  

  • message true4

    Messages: Stresses that it's important not to break parents' rules; they are in place for good reason. The film also promotes: taking responsibility for one's actions, caring for the environment, and doing the right thing even when it's scary. The film also champions recognizing our own "gifts," or talents; they, too, are in place for good reason.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: The Thornberry parents are ideal: They encourage independence, respect their children's differences, and are resourceful, honest, and protective. African figures of authority are smart and fair. Tribal members are characterized as wise, caring, and generous, even though they speak a language different from the Thornberrys. Female characters are shown as equal to their male counterparts in every way.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence and scariness: Eliza, the 12-year-old heroine, is in danger on multiple occasions: hanging from a helicopter ladder, caught in a rushing river, captured by menacing villains, falling from the sky onto a moving vehicle, trying to rescue a wounded rhino, and caught in an elephant stampede. Other suspenseful moments include: a writhing snake, a tornado, a vehicle crashing into a tree, and a gang of kids going over a waterfall.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false0

    Language: A horse farts. "Bunny poop" is mentioned. 

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue