Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

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Movie Review

Answer the call of the 'Wild Thornberrys'

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Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published December 30, 2002

The Wild Thornberrys Movie

  • Rating: PG

Summary: Eliza Thornberry (voice of Lacey Chabert) is a young girl living in the African plains with her mom and dad (who are making a wildlife documentary), her sister Debbie, her crazy brother Donnie and her best friend, Darwin, a chimpanzee. She has been given the ability to communicate with animals by an African shaman, and that gift is getting her into some trouble. When she accidentally leads a cheetah cub into poacher's hands and puts herself in grave danger, her parents decide to send her to boarding school in London. But, she won't go down that easily, and escapes back to the plain lands with hopes of rescuing the captured cub.
Eliza Thornberry and her father, Nigel, share special moment as they watch as a huge herd of elephants.

My view: Compared with Nickelodeon's most recent attempt at turning a TV show into a movie (Hey Arnold! The Movie), this one is far superior. It's full of excellent voice talent: Lynn Redgrave, Tim Curry, Danielle Harris, Tom Kane and Flea, the Red Hot Chili Peppers' bassist, among others. It instills an awareness of the environment and the plight of endangered wild animals. It's a good, clean story for younger kids that teaches them to appreciate and care about their surroundings. I was actually laughing at the jokes, not the sheer stupidity of the movie, as was the case with Hey Arnold. The animation isn't eye-popping, but that was not a big deal here, because the movie's content was satisfying.

Recommendations: Kids ages 8 and up will thoroughly enjoy it, along with fans of the Nickelodeon show. Overall, it's a good family film.

Grade: B

-- Billy Norris, 15, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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