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Jimmy Neutron is a boy genius and way ahead of his friends, but when it comes to being cool, he's a little behind. All until one day when his parents, and parents all over Earth are kidnapped by aliens, it's up to him to lead all the children of the world to rescue their parents. Written by
I know son, but if all your friends were named Cliff, would you jump off them?
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius isn't the best movie I have ever seen, in fact, it is very rare that I deem any film with those words, but it was worth an hour and a half of my time. What stood out immediately was the animation, the coloring, the bold attention to detail, and the fact that none of it was lost on the DVD. Occasionally, you find yourself watching an animated film wondering how many drinks the animators may have had while attempting to create artwork, which suddenly becomes even more visible in the comfort of your own home. There has been, in my time reviewing these films, one film that has been animated flawlessly. That was The Incredibles, and while Neutron is not that film, the two do stand very well together. Aside from the standing ovation animation, the rest of the film is actual a fun watch. Going into this film with no knowledge of the character Jimmy Neutron or his history, I found myself eager to enjoy more of his adventures and further deeper into his world.
One of the enjoyable elements of this film has to be the pacing. While some will argue that you cannot judge a film by the mere merit of time, for Jimmy Neutron you can. I didn't want to get bogged down, I didn't want to loose my attention span, and thankfully with the skilled penmanship of one Steve Oedekerk I learned to sit back and thoroughly enjoy what Jimmy had to offer. I wasn't distracted by small, insignificant plot alleys or forgettable characters; with Neutron what you see is what you get. For approximately 82 minutes we are packed with one exciting element after another without getting sidetracked. From the opening "pull" sequence to the center amusement park transformation, all the way to the final climactic scene which incorporated all the themes and elements from earlier in the film, Neutron honestly didn't let you down. The humor was crisp, the characters were actually enjoyable to watch, and unlike other films of this genre, you knew what was going to happen, but you weren't quite sure how. I think that is what kept my attention the longest, with the brain power of Neutron; I was never quite sure what he was going to combine next. The opportunities were endless, and I enjoyed seeing them unfold right before me. Laugh all you want, but Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius was an enjoyable experience.
Why is it that women can do pre-pubescent boy voices better than anyone else? I loved the voices in this film mainly because it didn't focus on trying to give you the "who is that voice" quiz game, but rather employ unknowns and allow the film to do the talking. While I have to give the entire cast excellent marks on their work with this film, it was Patrick Stewart and (I can't believe I am saying this ) Martin Short's comical combination that did it for me. They aren't big stars, so I didn't hear the voice and immediately see the actor, I saw the Martian counterparts that they were trying to portray! Coupled with the fact that they looked hysterical (humorous physical depictions of alien life), I found myself laughing at this pair more than I imagined. Stewart controlled his voice and delivered (with ease) some of the best one-liners of this film, while Short added the final punch needed to make the kiddies in the audience laugh. For me, the two worked brilliantly together and could honestly carry a show of their own together. Short wasn't over the top, and the two created a strong balance which coupled well with the seriousness of Neutron's quest.
Alas, I cannot give it the full five stars, mainly because of an issue of redundancy. Perhaps that isn't the right word, but what I am trying to say is that this is a show that prides itself on the genius of the main character, Jimmy. What makes this show work is that he is by far the smartest child on the Earth, yet his parents keep him grounded (which creates likability for the viewers) by making him do chores, get in trouble, and create boundaries. Yet, for all the inventions that Jimmy creates, for all the tests that he passes in school, he seems to forget that there is no air in space and therefore the entire plausibility of all the children in his town flying to this obscure planet is debunked. I realize that this is a cartoon, a-hem, an animated feature and that I should just accept the fact that in this world there is air in space, but I couldn't buy it. Without the masks or helmets, I felt cheated and was pulled away from the truth, thus forcing me to realize I was watching a film. Make sense? I was deeply involved with this film until the kids rallied together and shot into space, because of the fake nature of it. I couldn't move past it, and was a discouraging element to the film.
Overall, I would strongly suggest this film to families, and in fact, friends. I thought this was a very funny, very smart, and exceptionally well animated film, especially during the age of Pixar. The voices were perfect, the pacing (as mentioned before) was a slice of perfection, and the overall molding of this film was nearly flawless. Outside of the scientific elements that should have been caught (due to the intelligence of our main character), there were moments of pure Oedekerk that made me grin from ear to ear. I liked Jimmy Neutron, and while it may get me laughed at on the playground, I thought that for what it was worth, it gave a good 92% -- and that is still an A isn't it? Check it out you will be happy!
Grade: **** out of *****
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