Kiddy imagination is about to run wild on your screen, but expect it to take on a whole new dimension.
The beloved Nickelodeon cartoon Rugrats (2021) has recently premiered its 3D animated reboot. And you can now watch on the streaming service Paramount Plus!
Starring the same cast — and the same voice actors — the children’s cartoon currently has a total of five episodes in its first season. Four of these episodes have two segments.
Long-time fans of the series had been anticipating Rugrats’ return since early May this year when Nickelodeon and Paramount Plus released the official trailer. On May 27, the streaming site released all five episodes.
If you’ve been a Nickelodeon fan since the ‘90s, chances are you’re curious to see how this reboot is doing. As expected, a flurry of mixed reviews resulted ever since the 3D animated Rugrats reboot trailer dropped.
But Nickelodeon president Ramsey Naito said its production was given great care and that they take “pride in creating [it] for a brand-new audience,” several sources note.
This is what the Rugrats reboot is offering viewers so far.
The Cast & Available Episodes In the 3D Animated Rugrats Reboot
Despite its modern 3D rendering, the Rugrats remains as faithful as possible to the original. From the themes of its episodes to its voice actors.
Several reports say the original voice actors have returned after nearly three decades. The cast members include E.G. Daily (as Tommy), Nancy Cartwright (as Chuckie), Cree Summer (as Susie), Kath Soucie (as the twins Phil and Lil), and Chery Case (as Angelica).
According to Entertainment.ie, familiar names have joined the original crew. Nicole Byer, Natalie Morales, Ashley Rae Spillers, and even Jameela Jamil play the roles of other characters on the show.
The first five episodes feature a whole new world of shenanigans the toddlers get themselves into. According to Paramount Plus and the Rugrats Fandom, the first episode, totaling more than 40 minutes, is a Jurassic Park-themed one centering around Chuckie in a bid to overcome his fears. In contrast, the second two-part episode is all about decluttering toys and adopting dogs.
The last three episodes include family issues, robot dogs, balloons, and a kind Angelica. The Rugrats franchise has also made shorts — or clips featuring very short events — available on Paramount Plus or YouTube.
Some Reviews on the 3D Animated Rugrats
As with many reboots, the 3D animated version of Rugrats was met with disapproval, particularly because of its unfamiliar style. However, the characters’ design looks pretty much the same, save for its resemblance to dolls.
But a review on IGN by Kristy Puchko likens them more to inflated balloons as “[t]he hard lines of the design are all softened.” “This reboot’s plump CG approach softens the oddness of the original designs, which was always part of Rugrats’ appeal,” she says.
Nickelodeon fans know Klasky Csupo for its unique art style, which many find endearing, Creative Bloq says. Some of the popular cartoons it produced, aside from Rugrats, include The Wild Thornberrys and As Told By Ginger.
CBR’s reviewer Brandon Zachary agrees with the sentiment, saying “[t]here’s a polished look to the new Rugrats that at times can feel like it’s missing something — a sense of style that was largely afforded by the show’s original unique art design.”
However, he also commends the remake for remaining true to the original’s characters and even went on to say the show’s bright visuals give “the weird world around [the toddlers] plenty of pop.”
Praise and criticism aside, it’s important to remember this revamped Rugrats series mainly caters to a brand-new audience, as Naito put it. And while older fans are partially the target, there’s a reason behind the 3D reboot.
It could mean the younger generations are more inclined to watch 3D. Or perhaps with the number of shows with CG elements in the market, show producers could want to jump in on the trend.
Giving Beloved 2D Classics the 3D Animation Treatment
In recent history, we’ve seen a number of popular 2D cartoons transform into modern 3D shows. For example, Pokemon Detective Pikachu (2019) received a mix of good and bad ratings. Aside from its storyline, a part of the discussion always included the CGI design of the Pokemon.
In a similar vein, the 3D movie Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) initially got a ton of flak from its fans because of the lightning-fast blue hedgehog’s character design. Eventually, Sonic was redesigned.
Not long after, Studio Ghibli released its first-ever 3D title Earwig and the Witch (2020). This was a far cry from their classic hand-drawn animation, so fans were generally disapproving of the studio’s direction.
When asked by The Verge why 3D became the style employed in Earwig and the Witch, director Goro Miyazaki said he felt the style was fitting for the story and for what they intended to achieve with the project.
That could be a common reason why so many 2D cartoons are receiving the 3D animated treatment. It simply goes well with the new project. However, it’s also possible to rehash a series and render it in 3D because shadows and depth are appealing to younger audiences.
Whatever the case, it’s easy to see why having 2D characters traverse a new dimension is likely to cause some level of discomfort. But as long as there’s a solid reason behind the direction — and as long as it’s done well — then studios are free to jump into that new territory by all means.
The 3D animated reboot of the classic cartoon Rugrats is currently available on Paramount Plus. The series will have the main actors voicing the toddlers (Tommy, Chuckie, Susie, Phil and Lil, and Angelica) and new actors voicing the rest of the cast.
The first five episodes have been available on the streaming channel since May 27 this year, garnering a mix of positive and critical reviews.
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