The Wild Thornberrys Movie
Monkeys and cheetahs and poachers... oh my!
Eliza Thornberry (Lacey Chabert) and her family are off on an adventure in the African Serengeti in this animated flick. While her preoccupied parents, Marianne (Jodi Carlisle) and Nigel (Tim Curry) film a series of nature documentaries, their three children, Debbie (Danielle Harris), Eliza and a little adopted jungle brother (Flea) tag along on the safari in their high tech van.
Although Debbie grumbles about missing all the teenaged fun at home, her younger sister is perfectly content to talk to the animals (thanks to a special ability granted by a shaman). But when poachers swoop down and kidnap a cheetah cub just outside of their camp, Grandma Cordelia (Lynn Redgrave) insists that this lifestyle isn't safe for her little granddaughter and hauls Eliza back to a London boarding school.
Stuck in a dorm room with the stuffy Sarah Wellington (Melissa Greenspan), Eliza attempts to fit in at the all girl school. Yet before long the pigtailed traveler and her monkey friend, Darwin (Tom Kane) are cutting classes. Hitching a ride at Sarah's expense, they head back to the plains with plans to track down the missing animal.
While rescuing an injured rhino, the pair meets up with wildlife specialists, Sloan (Rupert Everett) and Bree (Marisa Tomei) just in time to discover that poachers are planning to kill a herd of migrating elephants. With little time left for Eliza to warn the pachyderms, the big game hunters capture her sister and force her to choose between saving Debbie and revealing the secret behind her gift.
With a limited number of children's films making their way to the theater this holiday season, The Wild Thornberrys Movie may be one of the few wide release choices parents have for viewing with their kids. This television 'toon enlarged for the big screen has limited moments of peril for the girls and the African wildlife along with some bathroom humor, but little else uncommon to Saturday morning fare.
Taking family time to discuss the consequences of Eliza's disobedience and the implausible storyline may be all this romp on the wild side has going for it.