Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)

9 Apr

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Smith’s Verdict: **1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

“Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” is a computer-animated theatrical movie by Nickelodeon that is more likely a feature-length pilot episode for a TV show on Nickelodeon. This movie was released around the same time as the first “Harry Potter” movie and the first “Lord of the Rings” movie. After your kids have seen “Harry Potter” but may find “Lord of the Rings” too intense, “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” may be their cup of tea. This is a fun, silly adventure that will entertain its Nickelodeon target audience.

The title character is a grade-school boy inventor named Jimmy Neutron who in the beginning of the film, flew up in his homemade rocket to send a satellite (a toaster) into space. He believes there is an advanced alien civilization out there and plans to prove it but when he arrives back home, he is late for breakfast and his parents are frustrated. (“I don’t care how advanced they say they are,” Jimmy’s mom says. “If your father and I haven’t met them, they’re strangers.”)

Jimmy has many inventions around his house. He has a mechanical canine named Goddard which explodes when told to “play dead” and then fixes itself. He also has many inventions that get him prepared for school—these inventions would make Rube Goldberg proud. At school, his friends are Carl Wheezer, a fat kid with allergies, and Sheen, an odd kid obsessed with a comic-book superhero named Ultra Lord. His enemies are a snobby girl named Cindy and a cool kid named Nick. Why is Cindy an enemy? Because Jimmy and Carl are at the age when girls are “icky.” “We don’t like girls yet, do we, Jimmy?” Carl asks. “Oh no we don’t! No, no, no!” Jimmy exclaims quickly.

But soon, the advanced alien civilization visit Earth and kidnap all of the parents to take them back to their space station. At first, the kids are thrilled and eat all the ice cream they can eat. But pretty soon, they realize they want their parents back. When Jimmy discovers that the aliens kidnapped them, he and his friends have to get them back.

The way these kids travel into space is charming and maybe more than that. What do they do? They invent spacecrafts out of theme park rides. They don’t have to worry about breathing in space because apparently, the space in this movie has room temperature. Silly, I know, but this won’t encourage kids to try this at home. I liked the scene in which they camp out on the moon and tell a story of “The Blair Witch Project.”

I liked the opening scenes and some of the mid-section of the film. But what I didn’t care much for were the aliens. They’re just standard Nickelodeon-type villains and they grew irritating to me. Also, they looked hideous, maybe unintentionally hideous. They look like sunny-side-up eggs that have been waiting outside on a tray for a week. And so, I found the final half, in which the kids do battle with these monstrosities, to be more dumb than charming.

But I understand who “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” appeals to, and it will. The movie is visually stylish and appealing in its main character. But this movie will most likely not be in the same league with the Pixar films or even “Shrek.” Compared to those, the style is a bit inferior and the story is uninspired. Kids will like “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius”—that’s all I can truly say about it.

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