Movie Review

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
STAFF WRITER

Good
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Family
Genre:
Animation
Length:
1 hr. 21 min.
Year of Release:
2001
USA Release:
December 21, 2001
Relevant Issues
Scene from “Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius”
Featuring: Debi Derryberry, Patrick Stewart, Martin Short, Rob Paulsen, Andrea Martin
Director: John A Davis, John Davis
Producer: John A Davis, Steve Oedekerk, Paul Marshal
Distributor: Paramount Pictures

“Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” is Nickelodeon’s attempt at computer animation on the big screen, but it doesn’t quite compare to the quality of “Monsters, Inc.”. But what the film lacks in quality, it does make up ground in spirit.

Scene from “Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius” I liked this Tom Swift (my favorite childhood Sci-Fi hero) meets “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” character. Jimmy (voice by Debi Derryberry) reminds us all of those awkward pre-adolescent years. You know—the time where the cooties on girls begin to disappear. Jimmy is regarded as a nerd at school and a challenge to his parents. His best friend, Carl Wheezer (voice by Rob Paulsen), always has a good word for Jimmy. I liked the friendship and the uplifting loyalty that exist between these two school chums. Jimmy receives some jabs from Cindy Vortex (voice by Candi Milo), but you can tell that she begins to respect his leadership. There are many familiar plot points, but John Davis does a great job of not assaulting our youth with offensive material (something “Shrek” cannot boast about).

Jimmy and Carl sneak out one night to see the grand opening of a local amusement park. They have so much fun that they wish their parents were absent from controlling their lives. As if in answers to their prayers, aliens come and take their parents. The youth begin to pursue a utopia of self-indulgence, but it doesn’t take long before they all realize how important the care of parents is (when is the last time you saw that message in a film?).

Jimmy rallies the kids and they build rockets that defy all logic and go after the moms and dads of the neighborhood. They soon meet King Goobot (voice by Patrick Stewart) and learn of his evil plot to make human sacrifices out of the parents. This plot point starts out as startling to any Christian, but quickly moves into a vehicle for some “Veggie Tales”-style humor (you’ll see). “Jimmy Neutron” is a great holiday popcorn film!

My youngest son (age 10) was so impressed he has chosen to build his upcoming birthday party around this movie. If you’ve got the time, consider sending a note of thanks to Nickelodeon for making a film that does not have “in-jokes” and excessive flatulence.


Viewer Comments
Positive—…C+. (a bit of hammy-begining.) I enjoyed it though. I liked Toy Story better. Some of the cooler scenes involve what they build the space ships out of, the camp scene, the lab that plays she blinded with science. The reason I write is to say that the movie is full of inside jokes, whereas you say there are none. Here are some. After the teacher is shrunk, she is attacked by this “dune” or alien worm on her desk. When they go to the amusement park, they pass a ride called “show me the mummy” (Jerry M.) on to the ride “bat out of heck” (musician Meatloaf). To me, the Ultralord character sounded a lot like Major Glory (from the Dexter cartoon. I wonder if the same person voices them.) When JN is asking his G-dog what to do, one of the replies is “get me a girl dog”. In the campfire scene, (I chuckled hard at this), the “cool” kid tells scary story about “three filmmakers that found sticks that look like people and then the girl filmmaker starts crying…” It is obviously a spoof or reference to Blair Witch. When the aliens turn on the Tv, they are watching Entertainment Tonight, except it is YT instead of ET. When the parents are being ready to be fed to the giant alien (note: my lil bro noted that chicken gods are not good because there is only One God.), they are all dressed in Star Trek uniforms which is fitting since the head alien is voiced by Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard). The chicken dance was pretty funny too. The sword/laser beam things that the guards had looked sort of like the things that kirk battled the aliens with but that could be just my opinion) One other good thing is that mom is fixing the car in pearls, I guess you could said the best of both worlds… The only things that might be considered bad would be endorsement of tai chi and after the parents leave and the kids eat all the candy. JN wakes up with a candy “hang-over” (and a stomach ache) and he feels awful. The “cool” kid replies that “he was sick the first time he did it too.” He is not affected by it now…
My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
—Linda, age 23
Positive—My wife and I took our 2-year-old son to see this movie and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. My son particularly enjoyed the burp cola, all the cool space ships, and Jimmy’s robot dog Goddard. I appreciated the strong family message and fine NOT TOO REALISTIC animation which I think enhanced the hilarity of the film. The alien god thing was a bit over the top but came across as just plain silly (forty foot chicken). For once we didn’t have to shield our son’s eyes from objectionable content or worry about harsh language. He sat through the majority of the film in his seat without fussing. That in my book is a good kid flick. Thank you Nickelodeon for an entertaining family film.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Woody, age 34
Positive—I took my 9-year-old son to see this movie. We both liked it—chuckled several times throughout. Lots of “kid” humor… But… we sure would have appreciated a little more “advanced” plot, other than that the alien “god” wanted to “eat” the humans. That concept, was, well… a little disgusting. wouldn’t it have been just as “cool” (especially since the moral of the story was “kids need their parents”) to find out that the aliens needed the parents’ brain power for “common sense?” Or something? Anything! Ok… maybe kids would rather think that parents are going to be “eaten…” but, I thought the writers could have been a little more creative and spared us the crudeness of the parent-sacrifice detail. That kind of spoiled what was a pretty fun movie for me.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Cara, age 35
Positive—What a hoot! All clean, too. For once I wasn’t leaning over to my children saying, “We don’t use that word,” or “We don’t do that.”
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Laura, age 38
Positive—Decent plot, good lessons for kids. By the end of the film, the children characters appreciate anew their parents. Strong emphasis on the family unit… we need more films like this one. My 9 and 7 year old loved it. Oh, and the nice guys finished first.
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 1]
—GK, age 40
Negative—I didn’t like this load of dirty bunkis. It obviously tried to mimic Toy Story, which was naturally “bunkis free”. See this only if there is nothing else playing at the cinema. I doubt many children would find this entertaining as it was kind of slow.
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 1]
—JD, age 25
Positive—My husband and I took our three boys (ages 2, 4, and 7) to see this movie. It was clean and funny. All three of the boys did not budge from their seats the whole time. In my opinion that rates good for a kids movie. As a parent I was relieved to hear good morals being learned and an exciting adventure as well.
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 4]
—Mom of three, age 28
Negative—I took my family to see this 2 days before Christmas as a special family treat and we were all very disappointed. Kids ages 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22, and 26 as well as we parents found the movie boring and soon we were looking forward to the end. If we had been at home watching it on tape we would probably stopped the tape after 30 minutes. The movie was way too intense for my 5 year-old. We wasted our time and money seeing this.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 1½]
—Mary-Margaret Price, age 51
Positive—I found “Jimmy Neutron” to be a fairly good film. (not as good as Monsters Inc.) The movie conveys the message that children need parents and adults to guide them. This message is timeless and is conveyed very well in the film. I gave the film a better than average rating that probably would have been in the good range except for the part of sacrificing the parents to an alien deity. Also, parents of young children will want to be aware if their child is easily frightened. (One child had to be taken from the theater when the massive and somewhat grotesque alien deity shows up.) However, with those issues aside, the movie was good. A parent could use the movie as a springboard into a discussion about Who is the One True God and how people in the real world are misled by following false gods, just as the parents were. You can also talk about the foolishness and danger that comes with serving a false god…
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Jamie, age 27
Movie Critics
…reasonable acceptable for viewers 4 years and older… the theme of children finding out the importance of parental love and care is very commendable…
—Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…several references to an alien god…
—Kids-in-Mind
…smart, funny, exciting, entertaining, and full of great moral messages that will have audiences cheering… a pro-life message…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…Nothing spectacular but likely to entertain most younger kids…
—ScreenIt!
…When I asked my kids if they thought there was a lesson in ‘Jimmy Neutron,’ in essence they replied, “No matter how smart kids think they are, they need their parents and they should listen to them.” …Though the movie is cornball and silly, the message is clear, parents really do know best.
—Kelly Boggs, BPNews