Following on the heels of their moderate success with the Rugrats franchise, Nickelodeon, the famous channel for all ages, continues its foray into the wide-release market with the release of the much-hyped, over-exposed Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius. Being the father of 6 and 2 year old boys, there was no way I was going to be able to avoid seeing this. Luckily, many of the family movies released are worth watching. Many...that is, most. However, some are just plain awful...and poor Jimmy fits that mold.
You know, I have a hard time relating to modern cartoons. They just don't have the magic that toons like Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Tom & Jerry, Droopy, Yogi, Superfriends and others from that generation have. I dig a couple that I am convinced are geared more toward adults, but for the most part, I just don't get them. Ed, Edd and Eddy? Courage the Cowardly Dog? Cow and Chicken? Weird stuff...snooze city.
Luckily Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar can still keep 'em comin' with quality toons, but Nickelodeon cannot seem to get it. I have seen ads for Jimmy Neutron since early in the summer. They have advertised and hyped this movie for QUITE a while. Being a kids flick though, my expectations were tempered. However, I see why the build up was so big. Something needed to hype this thing. It might be the dullest kids movie I have ever seen.
Basically, the plot is that Jimmy is (gasp) a boy genius. He tinkers with stuff all the time, much of it with failed results. His latest invention is a toaster-turned-satellite he puts into space to communicate with alien life forms. That satellite is picked up by an alien race who want to rule the galaxy. They go to Earth, kidnap every adult in Jimmy's town and now it's up to the kids to rescue them with all the nifty gadgets and tools created by Jimmy. The kids fly to the alien's planet and rescue the parents.
You know what happens then? Nothing. Movie's over. Yep, that is how exciting it was. So exciting I wrapped it up in one short paragraph.
Every kid in the theater was quiet. Yes, I said QUIET. Why? Well, this movie was not holding their attention at all. I'm convinced many of them fell asleep. My 6 year-old laid down in my lap for much of the second half of the relatively short 84-minute flick.
The story is weak, the dialogue was weaker (and poorly edited) and the animation was just flat-out bad. I felt like I was watching a computerized version of the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer claymation show. The movements were not fluid at all, the faces had no expression, and the dialogue between some of the characters, particularly the father, seemed pieced together. The conversation just did not flow.
All around, it was just a bad movie. I hope Nickelodeon stops churning out this rubbish. I realize I am an adult criticizing a kid's movie, but c'mon. At least TRY to have a story. Jimmy was nothing more than a long Saturday morning cartoon, and a bad one at that. Nickelodeon needs to think long and hard about trying to make a movie out of a toon that is not established. Rugrats was a pretty established franchise that did "ok" in wide-release. Jimmy is definitely destined for the trash heap. Maybe he should use some of his genius and consult the Nickelodeon execs next time they want to do another toon movie.