Runaway Reptar is a television special of the animated television series and part of Season 6 of Rugrats. Notably the first hour-length episode of any Nicktoon, it was originally released as a direct-to-video special on August 3, 1999, after airing on Nickelodeon on May 27th of the same year. The plot follows the babies watching a Reptar movie and getting sucked into it.
"Runaway Reptar" was written by Ali Marie Matheson and Jon Cooksey based on an idea by Scott Gray and directed by John Holmquist and Jim Duffy.
Grandpa Lou takes the Rugrats to a drive-in movie featuring Reptar. But when the giant lizard starts destroying the city along with the evil Dactar, the babies know something isn't right. With the help of their Reptar Wagon and their imaginations, the Rugrats literally "drive-in" to the movie to see what's behind Reptar turning bad. Soon they discover the evil force behind the transformation: Angelica! - Description from Klasky Csupo
The Rugrats are at a multi-screen drive-in movie theater getting ready to watch a Reptar movie "Runaway Reptar". It's the pre-movie intermission, and the babies have plenty of concessions. The Carmichaels are also watching the film next to the Rugrats, with Susie talking to Angelica through their 2-way phones. The Rugrats mistake the drive-in for a parking lot movie, so Angelica explains it to them, and they go over the advantages over a traditional cinema. Grandpa Lou has parked his car in the opposite direction, so he can watch "Deep Sea Fisherman of the Rugged North," while the Rugrats watch their Reptar movie. Then the movies began, with "Runaway Reptar" beginning with the pterodactyl Dactar terrorizing Tokyo. But when Reptar arrives, the kids are shocked to find that Reptar is helping his enemy Dactar. The scientists and reporter in the movie are also wondering why he is helping Dactar. Tommy says they should go to Tokyo ("Pokyo" as Tommy puts it) to help Reptar go good again. So he takes out his Reptar mobile and they all get in, with their clothes changing into suits, except Chuckie, but when they turn on three of the four engines, Chuckie finally gets in. They turn on the last engine and fly into the movie screen, as Angelica says "Who drooled on my cookies?" In the car, Chuckie asks if they are going too fast, and Tommy replies by stating that everyone ran away when Reptar and Dactar came and they are the only people in the street. Lil says "'Cept for the big butterfly!", and the babies see that Dactar is flying over their head, and so, they scream.
As Dactar tries to peck at them, they go through a tunnel so Dactar will get stuck. They see Reptar eating a fire truck and this convinces them that he has actually gone bad. So Chuckie suggests a snail for a new hero. Tommy gestures to a big video screen, featuring a scene from the actual movie where the scientists say to set a trap for him. Back at the Reptar car, Chuckie finds a snail and tries to follow what it does, but Dil throws it. Tommy, Phil and Lil set a trap for Reptar and he walks up behind them, Chuckie sees him and has a slug (Dil threw the snail into the air); he tries taking advice from the slug, instead he throws it and helps Tommy. As Reptar walks closer behind him Chuckie pushes him out of the way and falls in the dinosaur treats. But Reptar's foot gets stuck in the trap and Tommy tries to save Chuckie from being eaten.
The Rugrats finally find out the truth that Reptar is a robot controlled and built by Angelica, from "Pego" building blocks. The man who gave her the idea appears on a blimp, and tells them his plan. So, the robot Reptar goes towards their houses; then Tommy and the gang call up Susie to tell them what's going on. The rugrats head to Mount Fugelica to stop Angelica, but Dactar is behind them again. They fly lower to the ground past a bell, and Dactar follows them and hits his head on the bell. Susie and her brothers try to stop robot Reptar in their Halloween costumes. In Mount Fugelica, Angelica captures the rugrats and she has already captured the real Reptar, encased in a giant snowglobe. So, Susie and her brothers had captured robot Reptar and stopped him from crushing Tommy's house. Dil, while Tommy tries to break them out, pulls the "tinkly thing" and darts shoot out and breaks Angelica's machine which controls robot Reptar. Robot Reptar then appears in Mount Fugelica, and brings Susie with him. He chases Angelica, and Tommy asks her to let them out so they can help her. They hide Angelica in her in her pile of cookies, then the robot Reptar leaves with Dil, as Tommy frees Reptar with his screwdriver. Reptar then helps the babies by fighting the robot Reptar, while they fight Tommy rescues Dil. They all say bye to Susie and thank Reptar for his help, who then returns with a thumbs up, as Angelica is captured. Then we go back to reality as the film ends. As they go home, Tommy uses Angelica's 2-way phone and thanks Susie for helping. Then he falls asleep as Angelica says "Reptar!" and drops her snow globe and Reptar appears in the globe as the episode ends.
- When the babies are not in the movie, Reptar is visibly obvious that it's an actor in a costume, with visible arm holes, gloves, shoes, and masks (as well as Dactar being a marionette), but when they are in the movie, everything looks like it should be. This also contrasts with earlier episodes, like "Reptar on Ice", where the Reptar costume isn't as obvious except for the mask line on Reptar's neck.
- When the robot Reptar is seen in the actual movie, he has a slightly lighter green color, like the real Reptar does. Once the babies begin imagining they are in the movie, the robot Reptar is a much darker shade of green.
- Pego blocks are an obvious spoof of the Lego building blocks.
- This is the first appearance of Dactar on the TV show.
- This was notably the first hour-length episode of the series (or any Nicktoon, for that matter), and as such, was also the longest Rugrats episode until "Acorn Nuts & Diapey Butts".
- When Angelica is captured near the end, she says "I would've gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you meddling babies!" This references what certain villains in the classic Scooby-Doo episodes have said (although they refer to the main gang as "meddling kids"), but newer productions such as What's New Scooby-Doo have made the phrase a regular part of the franchise.
- This episode is basically based on one of the Godzilla films, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla (1974, a.k.a. Godzilla vs. The Bionic Monster & Godzilla vs. The Cosmic Monster); in that film, Godzilla battles with a robotic replica of himself, built by alien apes bent on conquering earth. This episode also has references to Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) and War Of The Gargantuas (1966), plus homages to Toho films in general, such as villains, scientists assigned to help stop the crisis, side characters such as reporters (this episode has "Pam, the spunky reporter", always seen on camera with her dog, Fritzi), even rather cheap special effects (people in monster costumes, strings holding flying monsters, etc.). This episode also has a reference to Orson Welles' classic, Citizen Kane (1941).
- In addition, there's also a reference to Fox's popular TV series, The X Files -- during a scene where the Rugrats are at the park, one of the buildings has a picture of a flying saucer with the words "I Believe"; this is similar to the poster hanging in Mulder & Scully's office. Also, there's an "X" to the left of this picture, similar to the one used in the logo for The X Files.
- The drive-in the Rugrats went to had at least six screens. In the 1980's, in a measure to catch up with the growth of indoor multiplexes, many drive-ins added one or more additional screens (at one time the Ford-Wyoming drive-in in Detroit - Dearborn, MI, had nine screens, but has since decreased to five screens). However, due to the increasing popularity of indoor theaters and their qualities (such as wide screens and surround-sound), plus the increasing insurance rates and property values, many drive-ins closed up during the 1980's.
- Additionally, the drive-in the Rugrats go to still uses separate speakers on posts to provide sound for people in their cars. This was typically the norm for single-screen drive-in theaters, as very few real-life surviving multi-screen drive-ins (such as the aforementioned Ford Drive-In) use separate speakers. Many multi-screen drive-ins use a simple radio transmitter to broadcast each movie's sound to an FM radio station, so people can listen to the movie through their car radio. (Though if the drive-in the Rugrats went to did this, since his car had only one radio built-in, he most likely would've smuggled in a second smaller radio for the kids to listen to the Reptar movie over.)
- This is the first Rugrats episode to be colored digitally, as opposed to using hand-painted cels, like the rest of the episodes were using by this time. The show switches to digital coloring full-time beginning with Season 7.
- This is the first episode to use the 1998 Klasky Csupo logo.
- The title card sequence was used twice in the Season 6 DVD and foreign versions.
- The 2-part special aired on TeenNick on April 1, 2015 as part of The 90's Are All That "Out of the Vault" week.
- Chuckie claims that Tommy has only been walking for three months as of this episode.