RUGRATS IN PARIS: THE MOVIE
Reviewed by Michael Jacobson
Sarandon, John Lithgow, E. G. Daily, Christine Cavanaugh, Kath Soucie
Directors: Stig Bergqvist, Paul Demeyer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 78 Minutes
Release Date: March 27, 2001
Not being a big television fan, I went into Rugrats in
Paris with little or no rudimentary knowledge of the show or its characters.
That didn’t stop me from enjoying the film…far from it.
I found the structure of the movie was conceived well enough to introduce
me to and make me familiar with these little tykes very quickly…so much so,
that I found myself cheerfully entangled in their little world, which was both
funny and surprisingly touching.
The Rugrats have enjoyed success on the Nickelodeon cable
channel for years. Kids like them
because the babies are the stars of the show, and life is often seen directly
through their point of view. Parents
watch with the kids because there is a kind of sophistication to some of the
humor that grown-ups can appreciate. This
movie is in that vain, beginning with a delightful send-up of The Godfather, and
climaxing with a spoof of Godzilla movies that has to be seen to be believed.
The story centers around little Chuckie and his quest for a
new mommy. Fate brings the Rugrats
and their families to Paris, where one of the fathers is called upon to fix a
theme park’s biggest attraction (literally):
a gigantic animatronic robot of Reptar, who has controls so simple that a
child can use them (ahem!).
There, Chuckie’s father Chas meets two potential
candidates for marriage: Coco
(deliciously voiced by Susan Sarandon) is the wrong choice, as we see she is
attempting to marry to further her career while secretly heartless and kid
hating. Kira, her assistant, is
very obviously the right choice, but Coco has her designs and plans already in
This movie is very funny, with a talented cast of voices
bringing the characters to life. There
is enough slapstick and bodily function humor to please the little ones, but the
characterizations, spoofs and witticisms will have the adults enjoying it as
well. Kids may find Reptarland a
cool place, for example, but the parents will be chuckling at the obvious Disney
But where the film truly won me was with its sense of
heart. Little Chuckie is one of the
most appealing characters I’ve seen in years…sweet and loving, he inspires
the audience to care about his mother-seeking plight. I wasn’t surprised at how much I laughed during the movie,
but I was caught off guard when I found myself having to wipe at my eyes
a little bit.
Rugrats in Paris is about as perfect a family film
as you could ask for. It’s good,
heartwarming fun for audiences of all ages, and proves the rare kid’s cartoon
that will please the parents as much as the children.
This is an outstanding anamorphic offering from Paramount,
proving yet again that animation and DVD were meant for one another.
The color palate is wide and beautiful, with a rich full array of tones
and textures that render perfectly, with no distortions or bleeding.
Save one or two darker scenes that suffer slightly from a bit of
softness, the images are strong, sharp and crystal clear throughout, with solid
lines and good detail, and no evidence of grain or compression.
Those who expect their animation to look great on disc won’t be
The 5.1 soundtrack is equally strong and enjoyable, with
good dynamic range and frequent uses of discreet channel capability.
One or two action sequences, particularly the Godzilla-styled battle that
levels a part of a city and the dream “Chuckie Chan” sequence make excellent
use of front and back stages, with smooth crossovers and terrific clarity, with
the .1 channel bringing in some extra depth to the louder moments.
The music sounds terrific, too, but this disc won’t give to the
question “who let the dogs out”…sorry.
The extras start with a charming making-of featurette,
containing interviews with the cast and crew and some behind-the-scenes footage.
There are two alternate endings (in case you had wondered what became of
Coco), a trailer, a sound effects showcase of the Chuckie Chan sequence
(basically just with or without Foley effects), the music video for “Who Let
the Dogs Out?” by the Baha Men, and 2 DVD ROM games.
Rugrats in Paris is a thoroughly charming and winning family film that looks and sounds great on DVD. Need I say more? Pick this one up for your little ones…or, if you don’t have kids, just go ahead and grab it for yourself. I won’t tell.