Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Movie Review

Wouldn't it be great if you could just build a rocket ship and fly up, up, and away when your parents tell you to stop peeing in the shower, make you go to bed before A-Team is over, or confiscate your Playboy collection?

If you were Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, all of that would be possible, plus you'd have voice-activated cup holders. Not that you would actually use voice-activated cup holders or even find room for them on your homemade rocket ship. Besides, you'd be too busy battling green, goopy things called Yokians who have kidnapped your parents and are preparing to feed them to their pagan god on a distant planet.

Jimmy Neutron is a big Christmas present for youngsters in this literary dominated movie season. If your kids don't care about geeky sorcerers or midgets running around with a pretty ring, Jimmy's your boy.

Even though he may only look about nine years in human age, Jimmy Neutron was conceived two decades ago by the film's director, producer, and screenwriter John Davis. By 1995, it had become an award-winning, computer-animated, 40-second short film called Runaway Rocket Boy, which earned a ton of publicity and caught the eye of director/producer Steve Oedekerk (Ace Ventura). Oedekerk was interested in developing Rocket Boy into a television series -- Nickelodeon decided to dig a cross-promotional gold mine: a TV series and a feature film. Sure enough, it's a rounding success on the big screen.

Jimmy Neutron is Retroville's boy genius - the same geek who we all picked on in school but then graduated to make a ton of cash during the dot-com era. With his faithful robotic dog Goddard and a bunch of gee-whiz devices, Jimmy spends the days with his best bud Carl Wheezer (the asthma kid) shooting toaster satellites into outer space and besting the smartest girl in school in show-and-tell demonstrations.

After making contact with an alien species called Yokians, Jimmy Neutron inadvertently causes the abduction of all Retroville parental units by the evil Yokian King Goobot (masterfully voiced by Patrick Stewart) and his knucklehead sidekick, Ooblar (voiced by Martin Short). After the kids find themselves parentless the next morning, an all-night binge of cotton candy fights and shower peeing ensues. But when the dawn comes and the cries for "Momma" ring out, Jimmy and the kids of Retroville refit their local carnival rides for space transportation in order to launch a rescue operation.

Put simply, Jimmy Neutron rocks. Gorgeous CGI animation, truly scary alien creatures (that made the little girl next to me cover her eyes), and an engaging story line balancing good-natured kiddie humor and adult quips kept me interested and busting up in laughter. The film bounces back and forth with a cavalcade of deadpan jokes, enough wacky inventions to MacGyver envious, and the ever-inventive Jimmy leading the charge into the great unknown.

In Jimmy's world of Retroville, Davis and Oedekerk have produced an ultra-slick, fifties-style world equipped with fat cars with tail fins, big computers with funky knobs, and bold primary colors on every street corner and schoolroom. The best part of the animation is that character movements, finally, no longer resemble marionette dolls.

Jimmy Neutron is one of the those rare films that actually delivers for both kids and adults -- and I'm just glad I didn't need to read the book in order to enjoy it.

The DVD features a handful of extras -- music videos and the usual "making of" documentary, with interviews from the voice talents and PC wizards who put this hilarious kiddie flick together.

High five.


Comments

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Rating

" Extraordinary "

Rating: G, 2001

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