Unlike the Rugrats (featured in two movies), I was entirely unfamilar with the "Wild Thornberries" going into the feature film. Apparently one of the more recent efforts of cable channel Nickelodeon, "Thornberrys" features the family of the title - Father is the host of a nature show, while mom operates the camera. Young Eliza (voiced by Lacey Chabert) once saved a tribal chief from a warthog, so she has been given the gift of being able to communicate with animals. Her sister is a regular teenager, almost always embarassed by the actions of her younger sibling.
The series is another take on the "Dr Dolittle" theme, but it offers reasonably good writing, enjoyable stories and a solid set of voice talent. While the series wasn't part of the last of what I'd call the "end of an era" in kids' programming (which ended in the early '90's, with treasures like "Duck Tales"), but at least "Thornberrys" was respectful to its target audience and tried to provide at least reasonably developed stories and not just hyperactive flash to entertain its audience.
There's also a mild amount of education weaved in in a way that feels organic and not heavy-handed. It certainly doesn't qualify as a classic, but it's refreshing in comparison to a lot of what's offered for kids these days.
In the series, Eliza can talk to the animals, which fits right in with her family's focus on nature - her parents, Nigel and Marianne produce the award-winning nature show, "Nigel Thornberry's Animal World."
Unfortunately, the series is only being released via these volume sets rather than the full season sets, but there are some highlights included here, such as "Thornberry Island" (the Thornberrys have an unexpected adventure when they're stranded on a desert island), "Reef Grief" (Eliza and Nigel end up crashing into the Great Barrier Reef) and "Have Yourself a Thornberry Little Christmas" (Eliza gives away Christmas presents and decorations in order to save animals.)
2.Show Me the Bunny
5.Dances With Dingoes
7.You Otter Know
8.Have Yourself A Thornberry Little Christmas
VIDEO: The show is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame by Shout Factory and the results are perfectly fine, resembling broadcast quality. Sharpness and detail are just fine, as the picture remained clear and crisp throughout much of the running time. While a couple of minor specks and artifacting were seen, the majority of the show looked smooth and clean. Colors remained bright, vivid and well-saturated, with no smearing or other faults. Overall, about broadcast quality, with no major complaints.
SOUND: Crisp, clear stereo audio.
Final Thoughts: Sweet and swift, "The Wild Thornberrys" offers fine, family-friendly tales with enjoyable storytelling and pleasing animation. It's disappointing that the show isn't offered in seasons, but this is a nice set of episodes that's recommended (although some extras would have been nice.)