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Rating: TV G
Running Time: 71 Minutes
Starring the voices of: Christy Carlson Romano, Will Friedle, Nancy Cartwright, Tahj Mowry, Raven, John DiMaggio, Nicole Sullivan, Gary Cole, Jean Smart, Ricky Ullman
Written by: Bob Schooley & Mark McCorkle
Directed by: Steve Loter
Retail Price: $19.99
Features: Deleted Scenes, Music Videos, Bonus Episode
Specs: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selection (12 Scenes)
Released: May 10th, 2005
When it comes to Disney, all things must come to an end. Leave it to the mega-conglomerate to creative a variety of television series on their various channels, have those series skyrocket to immense popularity (thanks to power of cross-promotion and merchandising) and then while things are still high, let the shows die a slow death. You see, Disney is known for having a formula: when it comes to their original programming, they'll only allow a show to have 65 episodes for its production (one of the few magic syndication numbers!). Kids don't exactly realize this though, since Disney actually holds onto episodes long after they've been completed. They'll slowly trickle episodes out to make the kiddies think the shows they love are still going strong.
So yes, after debuting in June 2002 and becoming very popular, The Disney Channel's "Kim Possible" is on its last ropes. It may be a movie, but "So The Drama" is actually the show's final three episodes that ends the saga of the teen girl who's normal and insecure about life by day, but is a teen heroine at night. The plot of the movie has Kim (Christy Carlson Romano) trying to figure out a world domination scheme that's being hatched by her arch-nemesis, Dr. Drakken (Joe DiMaggio). Still, Kim is really bothered by another impending crisis: who to go with to the prom with. Sure, she could go with her best friend and sidekick Ron (Will Friedle)... but she soon becomes smitten with the new guy at her school, Eric. Besides, Ron and Kim just have a platonic friendship going on. He wouldn't be jealous of Kim's new found happiness... would he? And will he and Kim be able to stop Drakken? (Come on, anybody can predict what will happen.)
Even though I'm not entirely familiar with the show, for a series finale, "So The Drama" seems a bit disappointing. Drakken's plot may be complex but there's never really a true sense of tension that come with Kim's villain face-offs and the derivative action. I guess there are some surprises to be had, but other than the storyline being stretched out and having it tie-in with the characters, the stakes don't seem to be on a really large scale. There's not some major show-down, and the last bits of the movie seem a bit rushed and even anti-climatic. Maybe less is more?
Expectedly though, the movie works best when it focuses on Ron's dilemma: he's worried that he and Kim are growing apart, and he has to face up to his more romantic feelings even if it means risking the friendship that is the world to him. This is when "So The Drama" is most at ease and feels natural. The movie won't win any points for originality, but when it comes to G-rated teenage drama that anybody can relate to, it's hard to fault it. The movie handles the much more realistic side of Kim's life quite well, and it's heart is in exactly the right place.
Otherwise, there are some witty lines to be had here and there and the variety of pop culture references aimed at older viewers certainly don't hurt. The 2-D animation looks nice and flows well, and the voice acting definitely stands out. Christy Carlson Romano gives Kim strength and makes her a typical teenager, which definitely helps when she's vulnerable emotionally. John DiMaggio (AKA Bender from "Futurama") and Nicole Sullivan (of "MadTV" fame) certainly do have fun as Kim's foes, and Will Friedle certainly makes an impression as the amusing, hyperactive and emotionally conflicted Ron. Character actors Gary Cole and Jean Smart are fun as Kim's parents, and Bart Simpson herself - Nancy Cartwright - voices the best naked mole rat to ever appear in an animated series.
It's quite possible (no pun intended) that "So The Drama" might get viewers interested in the dozens of episodes that preceded it. And while it's easy to grasp what the series was about from the movie and it's all rather accessible, it's clear that the grand finale to "Kim Possible" is aimed and will be most appreciated by its fans. But don't worry, somehow I get the feeling that Disney isn't done milking this franchise.
Surprisingly, it turns out "Kim Possible" is actually produced in Disney's "family-friendly" widescreen - that being of the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. The DVD transfer is anamorphic to boot, and the overall image quality is near-perfect. Other than some noise, this transfer looks pixel perfect: there's a sharpness and clarity to the image, there's no edge enhancement or and the color saturation is flawless, complete with plenty of vibrant colors. No complaints here - good stuff.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is also really solid, and is pretty souped up. The dialogue is very clear and isn't overpowered, and the show's instrumental music - as well as the pop songs that play during the movie - are mixed quite well, featuring drummed-up dynamics and strong bass. What makes the mix pretty notable though is how well the surround effects are integrated. There are some bombastic effects during the action sequences (such as the prologue), but there's definitely a few subtle surrounds (such as Ron's scooter, the high school hallways) that add to the ambiance. Also included are English subtitles and English closed captions.
There really isn't much, but I'm sure what's here will satisfy who this DVD is meant for. I guess the big thing is that this DVD is the "top-secret extended edition." Since I never saw this movie on television, I can't tell you what new footage has been added in, but the title of the third chapter says "Kim Undercover (Extended Version)." But if you head to tv.com, the show's fanatics there will most definitely give you the detailed scoop.
And despite this being an extended version of the movie, there is still some cut material. There are two Deleted Scenes, both in non-anamorphic widescreen and just with the vocal tracks. The scenes - "10 Times Better" and "High School Evil" - don't add a single thing to the movie. The scenes end up totaling a mere minute and twelve seconds.
Since Disney is all about promoting teen pop which then feeds directly into their album sales, two music videos are included here (for two of the songs featured in the movie): "Could It Be" by Christy Carlson Romano (who voices Kim Possible) and "Get Your Shine On" by Jesse McCartney. Knock yourselves out.
I suppose the only real extra of substance here is a bonus episode of the "Kim Possible" series entitled "Gorilla Fist." And according to the good fanatics at tv.com, the episode hasn't even aired yet on The Disney Channel as of this writing (major incentive for the show's fans to purchase this DVD NOW). The episode, presented in anamorphic widescreen, seems to be some kind of sequel to another episode of the show. The episode involves Ron getting involved on a secret mission in Asia, and highlights Kim's jealousy when it seems like somebody may like Ron romantically. Oh, what fabulous teen drama!
It's pretty clear who's going to be interested in this DVD: families, or more namely, fans of the TV series (who'll want to see this grand finale to the show over and over again). And since Disney is actually nice enough to price this DVD 10 dollars cheaper than most of their titles, they'll be getting their money's worth: a solid 5.1 mix, a really impressive transfer and a few extras (a majority of which are marketing tools).