In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_oax1ohn3ltgrf3vlh5ff28w0yjn

Mr. Turner

Filmmaker Mike Leigh's biography of the landscape painter J.M.W. Turner is what critics call "austere"—which means it's slow and grim and deliberately hard to love—yet…

Thumb_hkvkhuuugjj4jrxkkvqoq5jnqx5

Annie

The new version of "Annie" is fashionably artificial and not very well directed, but its unabashed good cheer is very welcome.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

  |  

The animated comedy "Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" takes place in those carefree years right before puberty strikes kids down with zits and self-consciousness. "We don't like girls yet, do we, Jimmy?" asks a fearful Carl Wheezer, the hero's best friend. "No, no, not yet," Jimmy reassures him. But he broods about what is on the horizon: "Hormones over which we have no control will overpower our better judgment." Jimmy Neutron, sometimes called "Nerdtron" by his jeering classmates on the school bus, is a boy inventor who pilots his own rocket plane and is seen, as the movie opens, trying to launch a satellite before breakfast. He makes Tom Swift look slow. His dog, for example, is not a mammal but a robot named Goddard (after the father of rocketry). When Goddard makes a mess, it consists of nuts and bolts.

At home, Jimmy has inventions to brush his teeth and comb his hair. During show and tell at school, he unveils a device that will shrink people, and inadvertently shrinks his teacher, who is attacked by the worm in her apple. Jimmy also has a communicator capable of picking up signals from space, and becomes convinced he has been contacted by an advanced civilization. "I don't care how advanced they are," his mother says. ''If your father and I haven't met them, they're strangers." A crisis strikes. Alien spaceships suck up all of the adults in town. At first the kids celebrate, but after eating too much popcorn and candy and drinking forbidden coffee, they're as green in the morning as the lads on the Island of Lost Boys in "Pinocchio." Jim-my enlists the other kids in an expedition to find the alien planet and rescue the parents.

Their space travel is conceived by the filmmakers in a way that is not only charming but kind of lovely. Jimmy converts some of the rides in an amusement park into spaceships, and we see a Ferris wheel, an octopus ride and a merry-go-round journeying across the field of stars. In another inspired conceit, they stop for the night on an asteroid, build a campfire, and frighten one another with campfire ghost stories.

"Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius" is a Nickelodeon production, frankly aimed at grade-schoolers. It doesn't have the little in-jokes that make "Shrek" and "Monsters, Inc." fun for grown-ups. But adults who appreciate the art of animation may enjoy the look of the picture, which is a kind downsized "Toy Story," with a lot of originality in the visual ideas. All movies for kids currently pay intense attention to bodily functions, and it is progress of a sort, I suppose, that "Jimmy Neutron's" rude noise of choice is merely the belch.

Popular Blog Posts

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

The Ten Best Films of 2014

The ten best films of 2014, as chosen by the film critics of RogerEbert.com.

10 Underrated Female Performances of 2014

Ten underrated female performances from 2014 worthy of Oscar consideration.

More on That Later: The Truth About “Serial”

Some thoughts on the hit podcast "Serial".

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus