Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
USA, 2002. Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon Movies, Klasky-Csupo, Viacom Productions, Nickelodeon Studios. Screenplay by Kate Boutilier, based on characters created by Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, Steve Pepoon, David Silverman, Stephen Sustarsic. Produced by Kyeung Seon Ahn, Chang Youl Choi, Hong Kyu Choi, Gabor Csupo, Arlene Klasky, Jin Ah No, Wook Song. Music by Gregory Hinde, Randy Kerber, Drew Neumann, Paul Simon. Production Design by Dima Malanitchev. Film Editing by John Bryant. Academy Awards 2002. Golden Globe Awards 2002. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2002. Toronto International Film Festival 2002.
Now that the Rugrats have made it big on the silver screen, it’s time for another Nickolodeon television show to get up there. Sticking to the show’s main premise, that of a family of wildlife documentarians and conservationists and their magically gifted daughter Eliza who can talk to animals, this delightful adventure takes place in the wilds of Africa. Eliza (Lacey Chabert) has to stop a pair of poachers (voiced by Rupert Everett and Marisa Tomei) who want to kill a herd of elephants for their ivory tusks. After she is sent away to boarding school in London to keep her safe from danger, Eliza runs away and goes back to Africa in order to accomplish her dangerous mission, though she just has to be careful not to ever tell anyone that she can talk to animals or she’ll lose her powers. The deliciously goofy animation that is the trademark of both shows looks beautiful on the wide screen and the film’s large scope is matched by an equally generous heart and funny dialogue. Other voices in the cast include Lynn Redgrave, Tim Curry and Brenda Blethyn.