The Wild Thornberrys Movie
Directed by Cathy Malkasian
Jeff McGrath
Produced by Gabor Csupo
Arlene Klasky
Written by Kate Boutilier
Starring Lacey Chabert
Tom Kane
Tim Curry
Lynn Redgrave
Jodi Carlisle
Danielle Harris
Music by Drew Neumann
Randy Kerber (additional music)
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Nickelodeon Movies
Release date(s) December 20th, 2002
Running time 85 minutes
Gross revenue Domestic:
Followed by Rugrats Go Wild (which featured the characters)
IMDb profile

The Wild Thornberrys Movie was a 2002 animated feature film based on the The Wild Thornberrys animated series.


The film begins with Eliza Thornberry, aged 12, playing with a family of cheetahs in East Africa, where her parents work as roving wildlife photographers for a television nature show. Eliza has the magical ability to talk and communicate with wild animals. The cheetah mother, Akela, has left Eliza in charge of her cubs; however, Eliza strays beyond the security of the area, and one of the cheetah cubs, Tally, is kidnapped by a poacher. Eliza's persistent efforts to rescue the cub lead her British grandmother Cordelia (who is visiting them) to send her off to an English boarding school, as Cordelia believes that Eliza is constantly endangering herself in Africa and Eliza will be much safer in England. Eliza is unhappy because she will no longer be able to view the imminent solar eclipse and will not be able to locate Tally. Debbie, a materialistic girl who dislikes Africa, is upset and envious that she is not the one being sent away to England. Darwin, who is Eliza's "pet" chimpanzee smuggles himself into her luggage and travels to school with her. Rumors about Eliza's past spread through the school, but Eliza becomes more popular over time. However, Eliza quickly becomes fed up of the school and manages to persuade a stuck-up British school girl to lend her a visa in order to get out of England.

Eliza and Darwin catch an airplane back to Nairobi followed by a train back to their family's site. While on the train the duo notice an injured rhino outside the train and get off to help it. Eliza speaks with the rhino who tells her about an electric fence set to kill elephants coming through a pass. Then they are assisted by a young couple, supposedly animal conservationists, and the rhino is taken away by a ranger. A night spent with the couple reveals that the two are actually the poachers planning to kill the elephants coming through the pass on the day of the eclipse. Eliza also discovers her friend, the cheetah cub, who was kidnapped. Eliza is discovered by the poachers while she is sneaking around and they interrogate her about how she came to know about the fence.

Meanwhile, Debbie has been left alone by Mr. and Mrs. Thornberry to take care of her mischievous adopted brother Donnie near their motor home. One day Debbie becomes lost in the jungle while trying to find Donnie. She comes to a friendly native village where no-one speaks English. After several failed attempts to get her motorcycle out of the mud in which it is stuck, she meets a teenage boy from the village who helps her to get the motorcycle out. The village members, worried that Debbie will get killed out in the wilderness, send the teenage boy as her guide. Back at the poachers' camp, as Eliza is getting her hands tied, the poacher tells her about the animal powers, and then the other poacher hears something coming. They finally find Debbie, and Eliza and Debbie end up in a skirmish with the poachers. The teenage native boy is lost during the commotion, and to save Debbie, Eliza admits to how she got the information on the electric fence. A storm takes away Eliza's abilities to speak to animals, preventing her from apologizing to Darwin after an argument. Darwin, Donnie, Eliza, Tally, and Debbie end up on a log drifting down the river with Darwin still holding a grudge.

Debbie and Eliza talk about her powers and Debbie apologizes for some things she had done in the past to hurt Eliza. They get to the pass, just in time for the eclipse. They find hundreds of elephants, being led to death by their matriarch, unaware of the fence. Eliza jumps onto the lead elephant, and desperately tries to tell her to stop. Then she remembers how elephant mothers tell their young how to go; she taps the elephant in a certain way, causing her to stop right in front of the fence. Everyone stops, and the elephants are saved. Eliza then meets the shaman who originally gave her the power to speak to animals. He tells her that she saved the day using not her powers but with her heart, and as a reward he gives Eliza her powers back. She apologizes to Darwin, and the poachers are captured. They return to their trailer and explain to their parents what has been happening. Eliza tells Debbie that if she does not keep her secret she will be turned into a baboon, and upon hearing this information Debbie becomes hysterical and interrupts her father's recording session.

Cast and Crew


Besides the regulars (The Wild Thornberrys|Wild Thornberrys article), the cast also includes:


  • Sequence Director- Mark Risley
  • Sequence Director- Frank Marino

Who Talked to Eliza

  • Black Rhinoceros
  • Cheetah
  • Gorilla
  • Red Squirrel voice by John Kassir
  • Horse
  • Elephant


Box Office

It opened in the US box office on December 20, 2002, finished #6 for the weekend, and grossed only a modest $40 million domestically, in spite of generally favorable reviews.


It was subsequently nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song for "Father and Daughter" by Paul Simon but not for Best Animated Feature.


  • This Could Be The Beginning Of A Beautiful Adventure.
  • New Home. New Friends. No Powers.
  • You don't need extraordinary powers to do extraordinary things.
  • Go Wild!!!


  • The film's poor box office performance was the beginning of the end of the long, fruitful relationship between Klasky Csupo and Nickelodeon and the harbinger of the demise of Klasky Csupo.
  • The shaman looks drastically different and more confident than in the show.

External links

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