River Of Grass
Cozy and Lee go on the lam after an accidental shooting in Kelly Reichardt's debut feature
On Film4: 4 Sep 1:00AM
Entertaining animated feature outing for Nickelodeon's globetrotting family of nature documentary makers. Eco-sermonising mixes with some decent gags as the clan tackle dastardly poachers in the Serengeti
You could be forgiven for thinking that any film featuring songs by Paul Simon, Peter Gabriel, Youssou N'Dour and Sting was bound to end up drowning its audience in a sea of worthy self-righteousness. Nice to report, then, that this Nickelodeon spin-off (which follows the two big screen outings of 'The Rugrats' and 'Hey Arnold! The Movie') owes as much to 'The Simpsons' as to the Discovery Channel, and never lets sententiousness stand in the way of a good fart joke.
The Thornberrys, for the uninitiated, are an endearingly dysfunctional bunch: 12-year old Eliza (voiced by Chabert), decked-out in pigtails and braces, can talk to animals thanks to a shaman's spell. She plays a sort of fag-hag to a flamboyantly camp chimp called Darwin (Kane), while enduring the withering sarcasm of her teen-queen sister Debbie (Harris) and the anarchic antics of her kid brother. Their English blueblood father (Curry) tries to keep his dotty aristocrat parents out of trouble, while shooting wildlife programmes with his wife (Carlisle). Against this lot, the elephant killers and cheeta-nappers are clearly on a hiding to nothing.
It may not pull off any state-of-the art animation coups, but The Wild Thornberrys Movie understands that strong characters and involving storytelling are still the bottom line in a quality kids' film.
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