ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002), PG
Analysis Date: December 20, 2002
CAP Score: 64
CAP Influence Density: 0.46

MinMax: -100

The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002) CAP Mini-thermometers

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

THE WILD THORNBERRYS MOVIE (PG) -- several positive features to the movie.

Production: Klasky-Csupo, Nickelodeon Movies, Paramount Pictures
Distribution: Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Cathy Malkasian, Jeff McGrath
Producer(s): Eryk Casemiro, Gabor Csupo, Albie Hecht, Arlene Klasky, Julia Pistor, Hal Waite
Written by/Screenplay: Kate Boutilier, Gabor Csupo , Arlene Klasky, Steve Pepoon David Silverman, Stephen Sustarsic
Music: Randy Kerber, Drew Neumann, Brandy Norwood
Film Editing: John Bryant
Casting: Barbara Wright
Production Design: Dima Malanitchev

Remember, the CAP analysis model was designed around the influence of behaviors of live actors and actresses. It was discovered after development of the CAP model that it could be used on animated films *if* it is assumed that any animated behavior which can reasonably be duplicated by or subjected to a child may be treated as equivalent in influence and emboldenment to live action behavior.

Because of the threats to kill a child, the attempted murders of a child, twice [Matt. 18:10], and the plethora of disrespect for and arrogance toward parents [Eph. 6:1, Col. 3:20] in this children's movie, it earned a CAP score of 64, equivalent to a PG-13 in the comparative baseline database scoring range for PG-13 movies (55 to 67). A high PG-13 but PG-13 nonetheless. I know this sounds as if the CAP analysis model has gone off the deep end, but I did not write the Rules against disrespect of and rebellion against parents and I did not desensitize us toward the Rules. It may also be that since this is a cartoon, the creators took extra liberties with violence and with arrogance against parents, liberties not recognized by the MPAA.

Nigel and Marianne Thornberry (voices of Tim Curry and Jodi Carlisle) are in Africa to study and film a peculiar migration habit of a thousand elephants each time a solar eclipse happens. Accompanying mom and dad are daughter Eliza (voice of Lacey Chabert) and her snobby and vain older Valley Girl sister Debbie (voice of Danielle Harris) and brother Donnie (voice of Michael "Flea" Balzary). Eliza is happy to be in Africa with her family. Donnie is too young to care. Debbie is as out of her element as she can be and she makes certain everyone hears about it.

Eliza saves a tribal shaman from injury and possible death by a wild hog. In exchange for this act of bravery, the shaman gives Eliza the power to talk to animals -- to speak to them and understand them. Since a shaman is "a person who acts as intermediary between the natural and supernatural worlds, using magic to cure illness, foretell the future, control spiritual forces, etc." [ref: Random House Webster's College Dictionary, ©1991], to say his power and the power he gave to Eliza are holy would be really stretching it. I wonder if there is any connection between "sham" and "shaman?" Remember, the source of the "magic" determines its holiness, not the use of it or the user.. And if the "magic" is not from God... [Deut. 18:10 - 12, Rev. 22:14-15, Rev. 21:8] A witch, diviner, soothsayer, sorcerer, etc., is precisely that no matter how s/he uses his/her "magic."

One of Eliza's friends is a professor-sounding chimpanzee (voice of Tom Kane) named, what else, Darwin. In keeping the with thrust of Darwinism, all the animals are as articulate and intelligent as humans. Each is even as experienced and practical as humans. Darwin reminds Eliza there is only 2% difference between his DNA and hers. Maybe there is only 2% difference between human and ape DNA, but it might as well be 200%. Apes are still not human. Never were. Never will be. And never were we apes *because* of that 2% difference. And that is as if DNA is the only thing that separates us from the apes. There is also that non-empirical entity called a soul which apes do not have. That God used similar design parameters in creating the physical host does not make us apes. Indeed, God placed us above all that moves on the planet. [Gen. 1:28]

By defying her parents, Eliza treks out on her own to converse and play with the animals. By promising to stay within certain boundaries, Eliza convinces a panther mother, Akela (voice of Alfre Woodard) to let her take Akela's three cubs and play. In Eliza's act of defiance not only of her parent's rules but of Akela's warning, poachers Bree and Sloan Blackburn (Marisa Tomei, Rupert Everett) capture one of the cubs. It is difficult indeed to effectively impress human personality characteristics on an animated character, but the filmmakers were quite successful at making the poachers exceptionally bitter and vicious. They even attempt to murder Eliza, twice, in this children's movie. Eliza even defied her parents when they sent her to boarding school for her own safety. She miraculously found resources to come back to Africa to continue her rescue of the panther cub. And in the process of saving the panther cub, Eliza saves a thousand elephants, too.

There are several positive features to the movie. One was racial brotherhood as a strong friendship is portrayed between Debbie and one of the tribal members. Others are for your discovery, mom/dad. But there are several counterproductive influences as well. Especially adolescent defiance or disrespect of parents [Prov. 8:13, Eph. 6:2]. Beware. As in most chldren's fare, the parents are doddering idiots. And all couched in a snuggly cartoon adventure with high appeal.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
  • Eph. 6:1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
  • Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
  • Deut. 18:10 - 12 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
  • Rev. 22:14-15 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city [Heaven]. For without [outside Heaven] are dogs, and [the unforgiven] sorcerers [those who practice unholy magic arts including witches, warlocks, wizards, etc.], and whoremongers [the sexually immoral], and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie [all liars - see Rev. 21:8].
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice [unholy] magic arts, the idolaters and all liars -their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
  • Gen. 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
  • Prov. 8:13 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.
  • Eph. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it]. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change [warp, distort, falsely represent] the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.


    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    The Wild Thornberrys Movie (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • adult abuse of child
  • attempted murder of child, twice
  • child taking potentially lethal risks, repeatedly
  • bondage of a child
  • threat to kill, repeatedly
  • assault on teen girl
  • action peril
  • kidnapping

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • adolescent arrogance at parent(s), repeatedly
  • child disobeying rules, risking others, repeatedly
  • teen rudeness, repeatedly
  • flatulence
  • child sneaking out and running away
  • punk dress
  • lies, repeatedly
  • caging of sister
  • vanity
  • wedgie humor
  • toilet humor
  • crude monkey display

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • camera angle

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • magic to transform & give power to talk to animals
  • favoring of Darwinism
  • trusting life to a shaman
  • magic loss of power and promise to give it back

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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