Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2001)

Plot: Jimmy is a ten-year-old genius inventor who gets into trouble making his gadgets with his robot dog Goddard. One day, he builds a rocket and sends a meeting message for space aliens which his parents ridicule him for trying to talk to strangers. Jimmy's message is picked up by an alien race called the Yokians who use his message to abduct all of the adults in Retroville which Jimmy and his friends enjoy at first but begin to miss their parents. When Jimmy finds out that aliens kidnapped his parents, he and the other kids build rockets to fly into outer space to save their parents.

When I was a kid, I was in love with Jimmy Neutron. I loved the show, I loved the video games, only heaven knows how many times I listened to the soundtrack, and yes, I loved this movie too. For a while I've wanted to go through a lot of it again and see how some of it holds up more that I'm older. Now that I have I can say that the show is still good, whereas this also still good, but I notice a lot of its flaws now that I'm older.

A lot of the characters are still enjoyable to watch. Libby, Carl, Sheen, Hugh, Judy, Goddard, the list goes on  The only supporting character that I don't think I ever fully cared for was Cindy. Is not that she doesn't have her likable moments, but similar to D.W. in Arthur, she was more of an annoying nuisance to me because of how she's always making fun of Jimmy and pulling pranks on him both in the movie and in the show. The villains, King Goobot and Ooblar are still fun to watch...though it's a little messed up to hear King Goobot's voice now that I know that he's voiced by Patrick Stewart. Maybe he's been in some live-action films where he's the villain, but to me he's the kind of guy you want to see as one of the heroes rather than one of the villains. Sure, he's been a villain in some other animated films like The Prince of Egypt and TMNT, but apart from them and this film, it just doesn't sound right for the guy who gave us Jean-Luc Picard and Professor Charles Xavier to be a villain in anything. Just doesn't sound right.

Then you have Jimmy himself. For a good chunk of my childhood, Jimmy Neutron was my favorite character ever. Sure, he makes a lot of mistakes and usually the problems Retroville encounters are his fault, but he has a good heart and he fixes his mistakes in the end. On top of that, he makes science and making inventions so interesting and cool. From his jet pack, to the bubble gum mobile, to his shrink ray to just about anything he came up with in the show, it was always fun to see Jimmy going on adventures or just hanging out with friends with his various inventions.

The soundtrack still hold up for me personally.  From the film's versions of He Blinded Me With Science, or We're the Kids of America, to Nsync's song Pop and especially all the songs with Aaron Carter. And I know what some of you are thinking; "Really? Aaron Carter?" Well...yeah. Say what you will about his personal life and things like that, but I enjoy his music. I still have all of his official albums and I even have his new one, LøVë. He may be a has been for most people, but his music still holds up strong for me, and his songs in this movie- particularly Leave It Up To Me and A.C.'s Alien Nation are no exception.

So what's wrong with this movie?  Well sadly it's the story - more specifically the morals. Now I know that Jimmy Neutron as a whole is meant solely for children, but the way it shows with the morals that the film is teaching hurts the film harshly. I won't spoil what they are, but while they are important morals for children, they're also morals you've heard before. Similar to The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie and especially Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, the excitement of the adventure that the characters are experiencing is not as effective when the moral is something so commonly told (and sometimes not even that in cases like Little Nemo.) Even when I was a kid and my love for anything related to Jimmy Neutron practically rivaled that of Sheen's love for Ultra Lord, there was a part of me that reluctantly admitted that it was lame that Jimmy and his friends are going on an adventure with spaceships, aliens and a man-eating monster just to learn these morals that Barney the Dinosaur can tell you. This is why so many people like me prefered the show to the movie. Sure he would learn a moral there too every now and again, but the morals he learns in the show are slightly less cliche, and in the end the show is less about that and more of just Jimmy and his friends going on adventures with various enemies and inventions which is all most fans like me really wanted.

And that's my review for Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius. The morals that Jimmy learns makes the film much more corny than I remember, but it's still nice to see Jimmy and all the other characters go on adventures and see all the cool gadgets that Jimmy invents again. If you've never seen this before, I think you'll like it okay... you'll just have to bear in mind the corny moments, but if you grew up with Jimmy Neutron and you're feeling nostalgic, the show is more fun, but this is a nice little blast from the past too.

Rating: 65%

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