The Rugrats Movie
The Rugrats Movie is a 1998 American animated comedy film based on the Nickelodeon animated television series Rugrats. It was directed by Igor Kovalyov and Norton Virgien and written by David N. Weiss & J. David Stem. The film introduced Tommy Pickles' baby brother Dil Pickles, who appeared on the original series the next year. The film features the voices of E. G. Daily, Tara Strong, Christine Cavanaugh, Kath Soucie, Cheryl Chase, Cree Summer, and Charlie Adler, along with guest stars David Spade, Whoopi Goldberg, Margaret Cho, Busta Rhymes, and Tim Curry. The events of the film take place before the sixth season of Rugrats.
|The Rugrats Movie|
Theatrical release poster
by Arlene Klasky
|Music by||Mark Mothersbaugh|
|Box office||$140.9 million|
Plans for a Rugrats film adaptation, along with Ren and Stimpy and Doug, began when Nickelodeon made a contract with 20th Century Fox to produce films between 1993 and 1995. However, the contract expired with no films into production. Around the same year when contract expired, development of the film restarted with Paramount Pictures since Nick's parent company, Viacom, purchased the studio in 1994.
The film was the first animated film from Nickelodeon Movies, as well as the first to be based on a Nicktoon. Paramount Pictures originally released it in the United States on November 20, 1998. The film received mixed to positive reviews from critics and grossed $141 million worldwide, making it the first non-Disney animated film to gross over $100 million in the United States, and also making it the highest-grossing animated film based on a television program until the premiere of The Simpsons Movie in 2007.
Didi Pickles is pregnant with her second baby, which she believes will be a girl while everyone else believes it will be a boy. Didi goes into labor during her baby shower (with it indirectly being caused by a loud sour note sung by Angelica as she attempts to outperform Susie at karaoke) and her friends rush her to the hospital. While this is happening, the kids crawl off and explore a nursery area before being found by the other parents. When the baby is finally born after a montage of past lives, it is turns out to a boy and they name him Dil.
Dil quickly becomes a very spoiled and bratty baby which includes crying non-stop for attention, keeping all of the toys for himself and refusing to share with Tommy. After a nasty fight between Tommy and Dil over Tommy's teddy bear, their father, Stu has a conversation with him about being a big brother and the responsibility he now has, assuring him that one day he will be happy to have Dil as his little brother. He also gives Tommy a locket with a picture of Tommy and Dil taped together and a watch inside. Tommy not understanding what responsibility is, call the watch his "sponsitility".
When Dil pushes the other babies too far, they decide to take him back to the hospital in spite of Tommy's disapproval, and end up driving recklessly through the streets in a Reptar Wagon which Stu had built for a contest. Along the way, Dil secretly steals Angelica's Cynthia doll, which prompts her to take the family dog, Spike and they embark on a quest to find the babies and retrieve Cynthia.
The babies eventually crash in the woods, where they realize that they are lost. They spot a ranger's cabin where they believe a "lizard" (a mispronunciation of "wizard") lives, and decide to go there, believing that it can take them home thanks to a bedtime story that Didi was telling him earlier in the film. After an encounter with a gang of runaway circus monkeys, Dil is taken away by them. Tommy vows to find Dil by himself, after Chuckie, Phil and Lil agree they are better off without him.
Meanwhile, the parents find out that the babies are missing and try to find them. However, it becomes a media sensation with numerous news reporters constantly asking the adults questions and intentionally enrages Stu's brother Drew into attacking Stu by telling him he lost Angelica.
Tommy eventually finds Dil during a storm, and are forced to take shelter under a tree. But as Tommy tries to take care of him, Dil selfishly drinks all of the milk and keeps the large blanket for himself, causing a struggle between the two boys which leads to the blanket tearing in half and Tommy falling into a puddle of mud. Tommy finally snaps and nearly pours banana baby food on Dil for the monkeys to take him away, but Tommy's rage and the storm's lightning and thunder scare Dil so much that he sees the error of his ways. They reconcile and sleep peacefully.
After the storm, the other babies find Tommy and Dil who has turned over a new life, and after running into Angelica and Spike they make their way to the "lizard". While on a bridge, they are confronted by the monkeys, but are suddenly scared off by a scary wolf known as Scar Snout, who had been hunting and attempting to kill the babies since they first arrived in the woods. Spike intervenes and fights the wolf until they both fall off the bridge. Meanwhile, Stu, who has been looking for the babies via an aircraft he made, finally finds them, but crash lands into the ranger's cabin. Believing he is the "lizard," the babies wish for Spike back instead of going home. Stu falls through the bridge and finds Spike, who had landed on a strut of the bridge. The babies are then reunited with their families, and the monkeys with their circus owners. The monkeys attack Rex Pester, the most obnoxious of all the news reporters, much to Betty and Charlotte's amusement. The families return home and the babies accept Dil as one of the group after he assists them in getting an ice cream sundae from the top shelf of the refrigerator as seen in the beginning of the film.
In a post-credits scene, Grandpa Dil can be seen in the raptor wagon, the goat from earlier kicks it sending him down the street as the goat chases after him as the film comes to a close.
- E. G. Daily as Tommy Pickles
- Tara Strong as Dil Pickles
- Christine Cavanaugh as Chuckie Finster
- Kath Soucie as Phil, Lil, and Betty DeVille
- Cheryl Chase as Angelica Pickles
- Cree Summer as Susie Carmichael
- Jack Riley as Stu Pickles
- Joe Alaskey as Grandpa Lou Pickles
- Melanie Chartoff as Didi Pickles and Grandma Minka
- Michael Bell as Drew Pickles, Chas Finster and Grandpa Boris
- Tress MacNeille as Charlotte Pickles
- Phil Proctor as Howard DeVille
- David Spade as Ranger Frank
- Whoopi Goldberg as Ranger Margaret
- Tim Curry as Rex Pester
- Hattie Winston as Dr. Lucy Carmichael
- Andrea Martin as Aunt Miriam
- Busta Rhymes as Reptar Wagon
- Roger Clinton, Jr. as Air Crewman
- Margaret Cho as Lt. Klavin
- Edie McClurg as Nurse
- Charlie Adler as United Express Driver
- Gregg Berger as Circus Television Announcer
- Tony Jay as Dr. Lipschitz
The talks about having Rugrats making it onto the big screen existed since the beginning of the series. The first attempt was in 1993, when Nickelodeon made a two-year contract deal with 20th Century Fox to produce new material, but a Nickelodeon executive did not rule out the possibility to make films based on their properties, one of those properties that mentioned was Rugrats, alongside that the others were Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show, but the contract expired in 1995, with no movies produced (although Doug eventually got a theatrical film from Disney in March 1999). In 1994, Viacom acquired Paramount Pictures, and Paramount would distribute the movies instead, development on the movie immediately started a year later after both the acquisition of Paramount and the deal with Fox expired.
Two months before the release of the movie, an episode prequel titled "The Family Tree" was aired as the final episode of the fifth season. Both the film's beginning and ending parody Paramount and Lucasfilm's Indiana Jones film series. This later inspired the second segment of the episode "A Tale of Two Puppies / Okey-Dokey Jones and the Ring of the Sunbeams", that aired during the show's eighth season on June 1, 2002.
Two songs were cut from the film during production. The first revolves around Stu and Didi in a nightmare sequence where Dr. Lipschitz criticizes their parenting through a song. The second depicts the Rugrats pushing the Reptar Wagon through the woods, debating what to do about Dil in an army chant style. These two scenes were cut from the theatrical, VHS, DVD, and Laserdisc releases. However, these scenes are shown on CBS and Nickelodeon television airings of the film. These scenes were also present in the print novelization.
The film was released in theaters with a CatDog short titled "Fetch", in which Cat wins a radio contest, and attempts to answer the phone as Dog chases down his tennis ball. This short was later broadcast in CatDog Episode 21. However, the VHS, DVD and Laserdisc release contains a different CatDog short from Episode 28 titled "Winslow's Home Videos", in which Winslow shows clips of some of his favorite home videos featuring CatDog's wacky antics.
The Rugrats Movie was released on VHS and DVD on March 30, 1999 by Paramount Home Video, which was reprinted many times. Paramount also released the film on Laserdisc. In 2011, the film was re-released in a three-disc trilogy set alongside its sequels, in honor of Rugrats' 20th anniversary. In addition, it was re-released in some movie sets by Paramount, in 2016 with all the non-sequel Nickelodeon-animated movies up to Barnyard, as well as a separate 2-disc set with Hey Arnold!: The Movie.  As of 2019, the movie has yet to be released on Blu-ray.
|The Rugrats Movie: Music From the Motion Picture|
|Soundtrack album by |
|Released||November 3, 1998|
|Genre||R&B, hip hop, pop|
|Rugrats soundtrack chronology|
|Singles from The Rugrats Movie: Music From the Motion Picture|
|Entertainment Weekly||C link|
The Rugrats Movie: Music From the Motion Picture was released on November 3, 1998. The enhanced soundtrack contained thirteen tracks, bonus CD-ROM demos and commercials. Amazon.com's Richard Gehr praised the CD for "[bridging] demographics as nimbly as the [original] show itself [did]" and for songs "fans of all ages will love".
Browne noted that, while the soundtrack is enjoyable for children and does "[make] concessions" for parents, adults may dislike the amount of rap. Allmusic's William Ruhlmann reviewed the soundtrack positively, saying "the result" of the singers and songs "is a romp in keeping with the tone of the show and the film".
One song written for the film's soundtrack that was ultimately removed was "(Safe in This) Sky Life", a new track by English rock musician David Bowie; the song marked a reunion with longtime collaborator Tony Visconti, who would go on to produce all of Bowie's material from 2002 up until his death in 2016. The track would later be re-recorded as a B-side for Bowie's 2002 single "Everyone Says 'Hi'", under the shortened title of "Safe".
In honor of its twentieth anniversary, the film's soundtrack was released on vinyl on November 30, 2018.
|1.||"Take Me There"||Blackstreet & Mýa featuring Mase & Blinky Blink||4:04|
|2.||"I Throw My Toys Around"||No Doubt featuring Elvis Costello||3:02|
|3.||"This World Is Something New to Me"||Dawn Robinson, Lisa Loeb, B-Real, Patti Smith, Lou Rawls, Laurie Anderson, Gordon Gano, Fred Schneider, Kate Pierson, Cindy Wilson, Phife Dawg, Lenny Kravitz, Beck, Jakob Dylan and Iggy Pop||1:59|
|4.||"All Day"||Lisa Loeb||3:30|
|6.||"A Baby Is a Gift from Bob"||Cree Summer & Cheryl Chase||1:57|
|7.||"One Way or Another"||Chase||3:17|
|8.||"Wild Ride"||Kevi featuring Lisa Stone||2:43|
|9.||"On Your Marks, Get Set, Ready, Go!"||Busta Rhymes||3:41|
|11.||"Take the Train"||Rakim and Danny Saber||4:05|
|12.||"Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Yum"||E.G. Daily, Christine Cavanaugh & Kath Soucie||2:18|
|13.||"Take Me There (Want U Back Mix)"||Blackstreet & Mýa featuring Mase & Blinky Blink||3:59|
Video games were released for Game Boy and Game Boy Color titled The Rugrats Movie and Rugrats: The Movie respectively, with the former being released on June 19, 1998 and the latter on March 12, 1999. Both games were developed by Software Creations (US) and released by THQ. They were side-scrolling video games and featured 8 levels, with the plot revolving around finding a replacement for Dil after he disappears. IGN's Peer Schneider graded the Game Boy Color game with an overall score of 5 out of 10.
Schneider states that the game doesn't have much "to hold the attention of older gamers", but that "kids will love the easy gameplay, recognizable characters and memorable Rugrats tunes". He closes with saying that "unless you're looking for something to entertain and challenge at the same time, parents can't go wrong in buying the game for their kids." Writing for GameSpot, Cameron Davis gave the Rugrats: The Movie a mixed review, stating that it wasn't "groundbreaking or innovative", but that the game "does what it sets out to do well".
Davis noted that the game was aimed at children and praised the "difficulty level" as being "set just right", so that "younger players can explore the levels in comfort thanks to the good collision detection and responsive controls, while those with a bit more Game Boy experience can use the generous time limits to ferret out hidden objects". The game overall was given a 6.2 by the critic. On aggregator site GameRankings, The Rugrats Movie is rated as a 55% while Rugrats: The Movie earned a 61.75%.
A computer game inspired by the film entitled The Rugrats Movie: Activity Challenge was developed and published by Brøderbund and released on September 14, 1998. It features six games and a bonus level that can be attained if a certain item is obtained in a game.
Several books were released by Simon & Schuster's Simon Spotlight branch and Nickelodeon inspired by The Rugrats Movie. Tommy's New Playmate and The Rugrats Versus the Monkeys were also released on October 1, 1998, authored by Luke David and illustrated by John Kurtz and Sandrina Kurtz.
The Rugrats Movie Storybook, released on the same date and using the same illustrators and publishers, was written by Sarah Wilson. The same date saw the release of The Rugrats Movie: Hang On To Your Diapies, Babies, We're Going In!: Trivia from the Hit Movie!, a trivia book written by Kitty Richards.
A novelization of the film written by Cathy East Dubowski was published on October 1, 1998, by Tandem Library. The following month, a 144-page guidebook, The Making of The Rugrats Movie: Behind the Scenes at Klasky Csupo, was released on November 1, 1998, by MSG. In May 1999, Hal Leonard Publishing Corporation released a book titled The Rugrats Movie.
The film was released on November 20, 1998, and made US$27,321,470 in its opening weekend, from 2,782 theaters, averaging about $9,821 per venue and ranking as the #1 movie that weekend, beating out Enemy of the State. In total, The Rugrats Movie made US$140,894,675, $100,494,675 from the domestic market, and $40,400,000 from its foreign release.
The Rugrats Movie holds a 60% rating on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 50 reviews (30 positive and 20 negative), with an average rating of 5.8/10. The consensus is: "Charming characters; loads of fun for kids and adults."
Roger Ebert gave the film 2 stars out of 4. Ebert wrote that the film's target audience was primarily younger children, and that, while he as an adult disliked it, he "might have" liked it if he were younger and would recommend it for children. The New York Times's Anita Gates reviewed The Rugrats Movie positively, calling it a "delight".
Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly graded the film with a B. Schwarzbaum praised the movie for its appeal to both adult and child audiences, "juxtaposing the blithely self-absorbed parallel universes of small, diapered children and their large, Dockered parents". However, other Entertainment Weekly reviewer Ty Burr gave The Rugrats Movie a B−, criticizing that the film's issues sprung from it being "bigger" than the original series, thus it having more cultural references, out-of-place CGI scenes, and "[going] into scary territory". Despite these faults, Burr did praise the "escaped circus monkeys" for being "scary in a good way", as well as a joke that was accessible to younger audiences.
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