The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron: Boy
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 120 minutes
Starring The Voices Of: Debi Derryberry, Mark DeCarlo, Megan Cavanagh, Jeffrey Garcia, Rob Paulsen
Retail Price: $16.99
Features: Photo Gallery
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen, English Stereo, English Closed Captions, Episode Selections
Released: February 3rd, 2004
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.
This "best-of" DVD features the 44-minute episode "Operation: Rescue Jet Fusion" which is apparently the main sell of this DVD, which is pretty entertaining as it plays on spy flicks and even has the voices of Michael Clarke Duncan AND Tim Curry. Also included are six bonus episodes: "My Son, The Hamster," "See Jimmy Run," "Krunch Time," "Safety First," "The Retroville 9" and "Grumpy Young Men" - so have fun with those.
Just as you'd expect, all the episodes here are presented in 1.33:1 full screen. Other than some slight noise, these transfers are quite exceptional. The animation flows very smoothly, while detail is excellent and color saturation looks rather flawless. The series features a wide array of colors that look quite good here. Still, I am yet again impressed in just how vibrant and sharp the images look - they are very clear and there is depth to the image. Yet again, Paramount does a strong job in presenting the show on everyone's favorite digital video format.
While the episodes may only have English stereo tracks, which can sound a bit limiting at times, the sound tracks are a lot more powerful than you may expect. Other than the clear dialogue and decently-composed music that mesh well and give some life, it's really how the sound effects come through that set things apart. The episodes do have their fair of action and plenty of noises to highlight it. Besides Jimmy's powerful inventions, the "Jet Fusion" episode packs its own power with the kicks, punches, echoes, flying, snowboarding and much, much more. Even small sounds help add to the atmosphere. The tracks go above and beyond then what they should probably do - it'd be nice if these episodes were in Dolby Surround - or even 5.1. Also included is standard English closed captioning through television sets.
Other than the obligatory previews, the only thing here is a Photo Gallery with very standard images from "Jet Fusion." Lame.
Fans of "Jimmy Neutron" will probably want this for their DVD collections, casual fans may just want to give it a rent. As usual, the transfers and stereo tracks on the episodes are quite good, but the lack of extras may not exactly justify the retail price. And it doesn't take a genius to figure that out.