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Running Time: 112 minutes
Starring The Voices Of: Debi Derryberry, Mark DeCarlo, Megan Cavanagh, Jeffrey Garcia, Rob Paulsen
Retail Price: $19.95
Features: Pilot Episode, Behind The Scenes Spots, Previews
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Stereo, Spanish Stereo, Portuguese Stereo, English Closed Captions, Episode Selections
Released: May 27th, 2003
The television show "The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius" is the final phase in Nickelodeon/Paramount/Viacom's master plan. You see, in 2001 a movie called Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and went on to become a smash hit at the box office and with critics (it was even up for an Oscar® under the catagory "Best Animated Feature Film" - it lost). The idea of the film was it was going to introduce people to a television series starring characters from the movie, and to hype the movie, promotional spots were shown throughout Nickelodeon months before the film opened in theaters (not to mention a trailer that debuted in the year 2000). It seems for Nick a new franchise was born - you couldn't turn away from Jimmy Neutron and you had to be subjected to his antics in a variety of different ways. I thought it was a brilliant marketing strategy and it was one that obviously worked. "The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" has gone on to become a very popular show kids, adults and even critics. Thankfully, the show is quite bearable and very inventive.
For those unfamiliar with the movie or the character, Jimmy Neutron is an elementary school kid who also happen to be a boy genius (almost reminds you of Dexter from rival network Cartoon Network's "Dexter's Laboratory"). He has two loving parents, a robot dog named Goddard and is always building new gadgets to get him out of trouble but always seem to get him into more trouble. Jimmy has a rival in a girl named Cindy, and he also has two best friends: the fan boy known as Sheen and the always afraid, semi-obese Carl. The show follows Jimmy, his parents and his peers as he seems to get into one zany situation after another. It's pretty formulatic actually: Jimmy does something wrong and he has to fix it. Nonetheless, it's always entertaining.
I enjoyed the Jimmy Neutron movie quite a bit, but I have to say I like the television show even better. The writing is even sharper and at times, it's even a bit more "out there" with some really funny bits of dialogue. The plotlines on the TV show are really creative and downright clever for the most part as they are well crafted. The characters are pretty funny, and so are the scenarios and many bits of the dialogue. Like many great cartoon shows, all ages can enjoy this. There are a lot of wonderful references (be it from popular culture, history or wherever) for older viewers that is sure to fly right over the heads of younger viewers (afraid you won't fit in because you missed a pop culture event based on an obscure piece of pop culture you've never heard of? a selling machine called the Willy Loman 3000? Just classic!). You really have to see an episode of the show to know what I am talking about since this show is so inventive and very imaginative.
It's hard to pinpoint what I like about this show best, since there's so much you can enjoy - be it the weird situations or obscure ideals that are covered in such a light-hearted manner. The characters are very likeable and seeing many of them interact is always great since they're all so weirdly but joyfully different. The show is entertaining in all aspects, and in fact, may even teach you something about doing things the right way and about science (all in my favorite way: being subtle and not preachy - huzzah!). In fact, I'll even go out and say that "The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" is one of the best and most noteable cartoon series to debut in the past fifteen or so years. It really helps that there is always so much to take in throughout each episode as most warrant repeated viewings to catch every little thing. Oh, and as I keep stressing, it helps that the show works on quite a few different levels so there are things the kids can enjoy and there are things older folks can enjoy.
The animation is exactly same as the movie, which is fine by me. I still think the computer animation the show features is really neat. Everything looks quite cartoony, bright and very detailed - like the movie, the show has a nice, full and clean look to it. Retroville is nicely imagined while the character, prop and setting designs are very nice all while maintaining a very simple but natural look. The show features some of the best computer animation ever for a computer animated TV series if you ask me, and was created with off-the-shelf software - stuff you can probably pick up in your local computer store or on the Internet. It all looks more complex than it looks. On a different note, the show has some terrific voice acting that really shines.
For the first every "The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" DVD release, Paramount has given us a nice compilation of episodes. The show's first episode (a double-length one that aired around two months before the show premiered as a sneak preview) called "When Pants Attack" is really enjoyable when Jimmy accidentally gives pants minds of their own. The DVD also has the episodes "Normal Boy" (pretty amusing stuff), "Birth Of A Salesman" (one of the show's most clever episodes if you ask me), "Brobot," "The Big Pinch," "Granny Baby," "Time Is Money," "Jimmy On Ice" and "Battle Of The Bands." Fans of the show will definitely want to watch these over and over. And if you've never seen the show, once you do, you'll want to see them over and over again too. The Jimmy Neutron series is definitely great, so don't be afraid or label this yet another animated show for kids - do check this DVD out and you'll be surprised. Enjoy!
Presented in their original 1.33:1 full screen aspect ratios (as aired on Nickelodeon), Paramount is certainly great at bringing their shows on DVD with nice transfers of the episodes. All the episodes on "Confusion Fusion" look really great. The depth of the image is pretty staggering for a television show as these episodes really pop right out at you. The show is also very colorful and the DVD shows off the colors nicely - all of them are bold and very vibrant. Colors are well saturated, detail is excellent while black levels are solid. Everything just looks really pretty and really sharp, which is very pleasing to the eye. My only complaint is that the transfers have a tiny bit of noise, but it's nothing annoying or major. This DVD wonderfully captures the show's great animation.
Stereo tracks in English, Spanish and Portuguese are included on this release, and like the transfer, they're pretty nice and fit the show well. Fidelity is much higher than I expected, and while dynamics are limited, the DVD gets a good work out in the sound department that'll engage you in the show even more. All of the show's music, sound effects and dialogue are mixed well together and seem to be naturally blended. The sound effects bring quite a nice punch to the sound tracks on each show, be it Jimmy's devices at work, pants attacking, applause or some explosions or electric shocks, the series has a lot of sound effects through each episodes that are usually action and science-fiction in nature (with lasers and "whirrs" and those kinda things). The sound effects are very effective and really add the extra "oomph" to what are normal stereo tracks. The sound elements are sharp and really do add extra kicks, and I found that to be pretty thrilling since the music and sound effects on the show sound pretty darn cool. I hate to babble, but by now you should have gotten the idea of how nice, strong and even the stereo tracks are. Also included are English closed captions for the hearing imparied in case you need them (so enjoy those too).
We get an extra episode on this DVD, that being the Pilot Episode. To be honest, I have no idea if this ever aired on television or not (I know "When Pants Attack" was the first episode that aired though), but I am going to guess that it didn't. Nonetheless, the episode (entitled "Runaway Rocketboy!") is quite enjoyable and hints at what the series is like and what it offers. It involves the alien characters from the movie and even borrows some elements from the movie, and I wonder if this pilot episode was used to pitch the concept of the franchise, the movie or perhaps the actual show (I'm betting on either the franchise or the movie). The opening of the show when the theme song plays is very different (to the point of where it tries to establish the show differently), as well as the title cards. The animation is good, but it seems to be a bit rough - on the actual show it is much more polished, vibrant and detailed. Also, some of the characters (like Carl) look very different and sound different (like Jimmy). Still, it's very nice to have this pilot episode on the DVD as we can check out the roots of the character and how much Jimmy Neutron and his pals have evolved from their original inception to what we see now. It's the perfect pilot actually since so much was changed.
Behind The Scenes Spots are broken into three sections. The first, "How Hugh Moves" lasts a minute and fifteen seconds. Supervising animator for the show, Matthew Russell, guides us through how they "bring the characters to life." This involves dialogue recording and acting things out. "Hugh's Virtual Makeover" lasts a minute and sixteen seconds and is hosted by head of modeling Sean Jensen. Basically, we see how a character animation was created in a short amount of time (same character but different costume). Finally, "The Storyboard Artist" lasts thirty-eight seconds and features storyboard artist Paul Claerhout. We see Paul in action and his drawings, how he got into storyboarding and what makes his job important. These are short and fun with clips from the show and behind the scenes footage, but are pretty promotional as I think these aired on cable TV.
Finally, we have Previews for "SpongeBob SquarePants" DVDs, "The Wild Thornberrys Movie" and a videogame called "Tak and the Power Of The JuJus" due out in fall 2003. On a different note, the menus are pretty nice too.
"The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" is a very creative, often hilarious and very fun show for all ages. Since this franchise has been gathering a lot of attention, I can only assume that Paramount will be releasing more "Jimmy Neutron" TV show DVDs in the future a la "SpongeBob SquarePants." Certainly, this first volume is worth picking up with great transfers of the episodes, fine stereo mixes in three languages and some decent extra features (like the "SpongeBob" DVDs, I crave extras here too). Very well worth picking up if you enjoy a solid cartoon or if you're a fan of the television show. Here's to a beautiful start of this great show on DVD.