Wild Thornberrys Movie, The
Entertainment: +3
Acceptability: -1

As the animated Thornberry family travels through Africa making documentaries about wildlife, 12-year-old Eliza (voice of Lacey Chabert) secretly talks to animals, a gift given her by an African witch doctor. If she ever tells anyone, the power will vanish. When poachers from a helicopter abduct a baby cheetah, Eliza risks her life in an unsuccessful attempt to save her. Her frightened parents, Marianne and Nigel (Jodi Carlisle and Tim Curry), decide Eliza must go to an exclusive London boarding school. But Eliza cant forget the baby cheetah and runs away from school, accompanied by her constant companion Darwin (Tom Kane), a comical chimpanzee. While Eliza and Darwin lead us on a harrowing adventure, Elizas self-absorbed, sarcastic, teenage sister Debbie (Danielle Harris) takes off into the jungle to find the Thornberrys adopted wild child, Donnie (Michael Balzary). Animal lovers and fans of the Nickelodeon TV cartoon will find The Wild Thornberrys, with its hilarious characters and spellbinding adventure, an entertaining experience.

Jokes about flatulence abound. But more disturbing is the movies use of witchcraft to empower Eliza to talk to the animals, which eliminates the film from the family-friendly category. The use of superstitious beliefs to influence a childs life should alarm parents. Eliza keeps this huge secret from her parents, going to great lengths to hide the truth, which encourages deception. To save her sisters life, Eliza finally has to give up her powers and later saves thousands of elephants from poachers without the magic. Unfortunately, because of her bravery, the shaman reappears and bestows upon her the power to talk to animals once again. Parents will want to discuss Elizas magic power to make sure that children know that witchcraft is non-Christian, whether it is used for good or evil. Because of the witchcraft, the intensity of the films antagonist, and mild peril, parents are cautioned about taking viewers under eight years old.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Paramount Pictures, 5555 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90038

Crude Language: Few (3) times Moderate
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Many times Mild and moderate (animals shot by poachers, girl swept away in river, falls from great heights, deer attacked by predator, food fight in school dining room, scary situations in jungle)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Example of loving family, girl risks life for sister and helpless animal, magic powers enable girl to talk to animals, lesson that heart and mind can replace need for magic, magic power restored as reward for bravery
Running Time: 85 minutes
Intended Audience: 5 years and older

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