Animated film (2001). Nickelodeon Movies/Paramount Pictures. Directed by John A Davis. Written by Davis and David N Weiss & J David Stem and Steve Oedekerk, based on a story by Davis and Oedekerk. Cast includes Debi Derryberry, Rob Paulsen and Patrick Stewart. 79 minutes. Colour.
The usual pattern for Edisonade in Children's SF is that our young inventor (see Invention) must take many stumbling steps in the face of public ridicule before proving their worth. In contrast, James Isaac Neutron (Derryberry) actually is a bona fide genius; the film opens in medias res with him effortlessly outpacing the United States Air Force in his homebrewed Spaceship, accompanied by his best friend and Robot dog. However, despite producing astonishing Technology the like of which the world has ever seen, no one seems to notice – symptomatic of a film that is absurd without being funny (see Humour).
The only people who do notice Jimmy are a passing alien fleet (in a neat metafictional twist Stewart voices the leader of this armada). These Aliens are very much in the B-movie Bug-Eyed Monsters mould and swoop down to abduct all Earth's adults, implant them with mind control devices (see Hypnosis) and plan to sacrifice them to their god (see Religion). This leads to the highlight of the film, a short-lived but joyful parent-free Utopia. The rest of the film, however, is shrill, tedious and takes an overly casual attitude to the conventions of science fiction. It is unsurprising that no handwaving Faster Than Light solution was thought necessary to reach planets light years away; but needing no spacesuits (see Spacesuit Films) and being able to breathe vacuum is pushing it. Despite this, it was nominated for the inaugural Best Animated Feature Oscar, where it was hopelessly outclassed by Monsters, Inc. (2001) and the eventual winner, Shrek (2001). It was also spun off into two Television series, The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (2002-2006) and Planet Sheen (2010). The novelization is Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius (2001) by Mark A Cerasini. [ML]
see also: Cinema
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