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Jimmy Neutron (voice of Debi Derryberry) is a little kid with a big brain. He also has understanding parents who give him the liberty to exercise his inventive streak. To a point. They don’t mind that their basement is full of gadgets that would have NASA astrophysicists scratching their heads, but when Jimmy’s backpack rocket causes domestic havoc, his mum (voice of Megan Cavanagh) grounds him. But even a genius wouldn’t want to miss the opening of a new fun-park, so Jimmy puts his smarts and sneaks out. While he’s out, his communications system finally makes contact with extra-terrestrials who kidnap not only Jimmy's parents, but all the parents in Retroville. Now, only Jimmy’s bulging brain, with a little help from his robotic dog Goddard (voice of Frank Welker), best friend Carl (voice of Rob Paulsen) and their other school chums, can save the day.

Review by Louise Keller:
A compelling fantasy with colourful, cucumber-cool characters, Jimmy Neutron, is a bright, fresh adventure with plenty of zip that the whole family can enjoy. Director and screenwriter John A. Davis has been cogitating the notion of Jimmy Neutron and his unique world since the 80s, and Nickelodeon plans to take this fun character with a shock of hair that looks like a soft serve of ice-cream, into the realm of multi-media – on television, in the movies, online, in video games and in magazines. 

Much of the appeal of Jimmy Neutron lies in the character itself. A 10 year old genius with an over-sized head, he is still one of the kids, and can't avoid the usual problems at school and at home. After all, even geniuses are not allowed out on school nights. It's a clever script that doesn't allow his genius to alienate him from his school pals; they simply rib him when his ideas go askew. I like the fact that he uses every day items for his scientific experiments – items like toasters make great satellites. 

Using plenty of smarts, Jimmy uses his genius for not only the big inventions, but also to help him get through the day: I am very envious of the gadgets that are programmed to do his hair, brush his teeth, tie his shoes and make his bed. There's even a gadget that eliminates the smell of school! Then there's his robotic dog Goddard, who explodes when told to play dead and leaves metal screw droppings at the door. Unlike feature-length animations such as Shrek, which use top stars to voice the characters, Jimmy Neutron relies on the charm of the characters and veteran voice-over actors to inhabit them. 

Stylised animation with dramatic theatrical and colourful lighting, the film has a timeless quality, incorporating a compelling mix of retro and contemporary design. Add a toe-tapping soundtrack, a concise and imaginative script and we are flying through space with Jimmy and his friends. Yep, this is rocket science, and the scene when Jimmy, the Ferris wheel, giant octopus and rollercoaster soar through space is surrealism in a jewelled necklace. There's little to offend anyone – the burping soda is as close as it gets. 

It’s a splendidly crisp and colourful transfer to DVD and there are enough special features to tantalise. The animated menus, presented in the form of a modified television screen, are compellingly designed and complement the film’s themes. There are a couple of music videos, trailers and half a dozen cute interstitials, but the main feature is a creative and lively look behind the scenes. 

It’s bright and fast with plenty of footage included, and we are told from the beginning that our hero is 1/3 Einstein, 1/3 Bart Simpson and 1/3 Jim Carrey. The aim is to hit as many kid fantasy buttons as possible. We get a good feel of the project as producers and voice actors talk about the characters and give a run down of the storyline. There are split screens with storyboard illustrations, and graphic artists creating these 3D computer graphics. The best part is watching the voice actors at work – we not only see them in the studios but also see them fooling around. ‘Voicing an animated character is boundless’ says Patrick Stewart, who together with Martin Short looks as though he is having a ball. ‘It’s like being back in playschool,’ he says. 

It’s a real eye-opener to meet the audio artists Sarah Monat and Robin Harlan at work, as they shake toasters, play with bottles, vases, old fashioned mixers and rummage on the floor as they ‘play’ and create sound effects. If it’s fun to do, fun to create, it will be fun to watch. That’s the philosophy. And fun it is.

Published September 19, 2002

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VOICES: Debi Derryberry, Patrick Stewart, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Megan Cavanagh, Mark Decarlo, Jeff Garcia, Carolyn Lawrence, Candi Milo, Rob Paulsen, Crystal Scales, Frank Welker

DIRECTOR: John A. Davis

RUNNING TIME: 79 minutes

SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of Jimmy Neutron; Music Videos; Promotional Spots; Teaser Trailer; Theatrical Trailer; Video game Trailer;


DVD RELEASE: September 6, 2002

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