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:: Jimmy Neutron:Boy Genius

Animated films are getting better and better, and getting the credit for it, with a special section in the Academy Awards (though some would argue that Shrek is a better film than some that are nominated in the live action category). Out of the nominated animation films, Jimmy Neutron is special. It is the first 3D animated feature made with off the shelf software (Lightwave and a plug in program named Messiah) and as such is an amazing achievement.

Jimmy began life as a forty second short called “Runaway Rocket Boy” in 1995 and has since transformed into the feature length, Jimmy Isaac Neutron, who saves the parents of his home town Retroville from egg-like aliens from another solar system, played with relish by Patrick Stewart and Martin Short. Jimmy’s gang of friends include his arch rival, Cindy, the smartest girl in school until Jimmy came along, the James Dean-like Nick and Carl, the overweight asthmatic. They reinforce that it’s cool to be smart, and that friendship is the most important thing.

Great fun is had with Jimmy’s inventions, particularly his robot dog, Godard, and his underground workshop. The image of amusement park rides transformed into space ships is a wondrous one. The film’s producer and co screenwriter, Steve Oedekerk, was recently on our screens as director and star of Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, a martial arts spoof, and a world away from Jimmy Neutron. He is also the screenwriter of The Nutty Professor and its sequel.

Unlike Monsters Inc. or Shrek, this film is squarely aimed at young children and, as such, it hits its target, with the added benefit of the film’s message - appreciate your parents. There are a couple of adult references, like a retelling of the Blair Witch Project, but overall, there is little for the grown ups in the audience.

Screening at the Classic Cinema, Dendy Brighton and Balwyn Cinema.