Movie Review: The Rugrats Movie (1998)

Starring: Elizabeth Daily, Christine Cavanaugh and Kath Soucie

Directed by: Igor Kovalyov and Norton Vorgien

Tommy and the gang as well as the new arrival in the Pickles household, Tommy’s younger brother Dil, get lost in a forest and have to try and find their way home while encountering a group of circus monkeys.

As a child I was a big fan of The Rugrats TV show and would watch it whenever it was on. Despite really enjoying the TV show I never managed to watch any of the Rugrats movies that were released and I’m not too sure whether it was just something that I had managed to let slip by me or whether I grew out of The Rugrats by the time the movies were released, either way it was about time that I checked at least one of them out. Thankfully this movie was on over Christmas and my wife and I managed to record it before it passed me by once again as who knows when this will be shown on TV again.

Initially I was excited to watch the characters that I once cherished during my childhood but at the same time was a little sceptical as to whether a 30 year old me would enjoy rewatching Tommy Pickles and his gang of friends again. As soon as I heard the opening music all those memories came racing back and I was full to the brim with nostalgia. It was a theme song that was short but sweet and I was could feel the smile on my face develop as Chuckie married the opening scene. The animation looked slightly better quality than the TV series as there was probably a much bigger budget to play around with and seeing Tommy, Chuckie, Phil, Lil and even Angelica again was a nice feeling. As the opening scene develops we are introduced to all the characters from the show such as all the parents and grandparents aswell as Susie and dog Spike. As each character appeared on screen my memory of the show was becoming a lot more vivid as I remembered pretty much all of them from the glory days of when my age was in single digits.

However, with all the nostalgia aside there was a lot about this movie that I really didn’t like. Much of my dislike was mainly due to new character Dil who was the newborn little brother of Tommy Pickles. While I understand that the movie needed the injection of a new character to give it purpose as otherwise it would’ve just been like a regular elongated episode where Tommy and the gang go on some kind of adventure, I just hated the character that they decided to introduce. While Dil was purposely annoying and disruptive, I just didn’t find him funny or cute or even the slightest bit entertaining as he tainted large portions of the movie. I also quite disliked the circus monkeys that the gang encounter in the forest in the second half of the movie. Initially it was quite a fun interaction but they continuously kept showing up throughout the closing of the movie and became rather annoying and needless to say the least.

As I mentioned, I loved the nostalgic feeling that came over me as this movie began and watching characters that were so integral to my childhood TV viewing that it was just a nice reminder of a simpler time. I also loved the way the kids talk and say certain words as it’s something I never really noticed as a kid but now as an adult I can see the clever writing that went into creating The Rugrats.

Overall, I was quite disappointed with The Rugrats Movie as the story was quite poor and I hated the new character addition. I think if I had watched this when I was a kid I probably would’ve really enjoyed it but I just watched it a little too late in life for it to remain charming. It did however fill me with a great sense of nostalgia which was enough at times to make it reasonably ok to watch.


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