The Rugrats Movie (1998)

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Released 5-Dec-2001

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Childrens Featurette-Winslow's Documentary
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 76:42
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Igor Kovalyov
Norton Virgien

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring David Spade
E.G. Daily
Keith Coucie
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Mark Mothersbaugh

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    In my humble opinion, Nickelodeon produce some of the best contemporary cartoons available today. With parents besieged by many cartoons with a decidedly violent bent, it is a great relief that cartoons such as The Rugrats, Real Monsters and Rocko's Modern Life exist. Not only are they great from a parenting point of view but they are entertaining and have a real appeal for children.

    Rugrats in particular has a very broad appeal. Children love it and many of my fellow parents also find it a very funny and entertaining show. This is a godsend - something that the kids watch that doesn't drive the parents up the wall.

    Here we have the first of two movie-length episodes of The Rugrats. They have done a pretty good job in expanding the Rugrats to a 77 minute feature. It does lag for just a few minutes at about the 50 minute mark but recovers very well and rolls on to a great ending. The only real difference from the normal show is that they have added some songs for the cast to sing. The songs are quite good but nothing really catchy that you will be humming afterwards.

    For those that have no idea about what I am talking about, here's a quick introduction. The Rugrats is a cartoon wherein we see the world from the point of view of a group of toddlers, namely Tommy, Phil and Lil the twins, Chuckie and Angelica who is the antithesis of her name. This young group gets up to all sorts of adventures and their interpretation of the world that they see is a large part of the appeal that the show holds for adults. It is a world of imagination, wonder and learning with a truly unique twist at times. The parents are also an interesting bunch with a slice of American life laid out. We have the executive family with the parents working hard and always on the mobile phone, we have the bumbling inventor looking for his big break and so on. There is some surprising depth for a children's cartoon and some interesting satire. This is of course missed by the kiddies who are along for the fun ride of the adventure with the toddlers.

    In this, their first movie appearance, we are introduced to a new character. Tommy's mum is having a baby. We start with a visit to the hospital for the birth. Our intrepid toddlers as usual wander off to explore this new environment and find... a baby shop (their view on the crèche at the hospital)! When the new baby arrives home, life is no longer the same for Tommy and he has to come to terms with a new brother. Initially things are not going well, and Tommy's friends decide that it would be best if they returned the new baby to the 'baby shop' and got their money back. Due to a big mix-up, they all end up lost in the forest and the real adventure begins as they try to find their way home. Along the way they all learn a little about the true meaning of friendship.

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Transfer Quality


    The short length combined with the big areas of monochromatic colours that make up this traditional animation means that they have been able to place this movie onto a single layer disc without any deleterious effects. In fact, it is a very good transfer.

    Presented at 1.78:1 and 16x9 enhanced, it is interesting to single step parts of this transfer. There is a mixture of standard two shots per cell intermixed with 1 shot per cell where there is movement or action. This has given a very smooth look to the cartoon.

    The transfer is very sharp and the shadow detail is excellent. There is no low level noise present.  

    The colours are beautiful - fully saturated and very clean. There is no chroma noise or colour bleed evident.

    There are no MPEG artefacts at all. There is a tiny amount of aliasing present but unless you are viewing this on a big screen this probably won't even be visible. The film source is in very good condition with very few marks.

    The only subtitles are in English. They are easy to read but only about 80% accurate. 

    This is a single layered disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


   This is a full 5.1 soundtrack, with good use made of all the speakers.

    There is only the one English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack on this disc.

    Dialogue quality is pretty good throughout. Any problems with the dialogue come from the sibilant accents of the younger characters and not the disc. The audio is in sync with the on-screen action.

    The music is very good and matches the film well. The songs written for the film work well within the film.

    The surrounds are very active with good ambience and music effects as well as a surprising number of split surround effects. They have really worked hard at the voice positioning within the soundfield and this works really well throughout the film.

    The subwoofer gets into the act as well. The majority of activity seemed to be redirected bass from the other channels but this does not detract from a very well-integrated soundtrack.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use




    The menus are static with no sound. They are presented at 1.78:1 and are 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer

    This is presented at 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 and the surround flag has been set. The trailer is of the same high quality as the main feature and represents the film quite well. It runs for 2:19.

CatDog Short

    This is a 3:41 clip from another of Nickelodeon's cartoons, CatDog. One of their more unusual efforts, this is a cartoon about a creature that consists of the front half of a cat and the front half of a dog joined in the middle. It is presented at 1.33:1 and accompanied by a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack with the surround bit set.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    There is a clear distinction here; 16x9 enhancement in Region 4, giving us a clear Region 4 winner.


    My son (who is 2.75 years old), sat though this film with no problems. While he is probably a little younger than their target audience, there is plenty of colourful on-screen action to keep any toddler happy. This film will appeal to a very wide audience.

    The video is excellent.

    The audio really is very well done.

    Not much in the extras department.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Terry McCracken (read my bio)
Saturday, December 29, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDSkyworth 1050p progressive scan, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252Q CRT Projector, 254cm custom built 1.0 gain screen. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre.
AmplificationSony STR-DB1070
SpeakersB&W DM305 (mains); CC3 (centre); S100 (surrounds); custom Adire Audio Tempest with Redgum plate amp (subwoofer)

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