A venture into franchise-building from the children's cable channel Nickelodeon, Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius
arrives in concert with a TV series and a great deal of merchandising muscle. Set in the charmingly designed town of Retroville, which boasts sleek 1950s lines, the film introduces Jimmy (voiced by Debi Derryberry), a pint-sized kid with a penchant for elaborate and almost-successful inventions (a time-speeding microwave for cultivating pearls, a shrinking ray which confusingly looks too much like a TV remote, a girl-eating plant) and the usual array of sidekicks (asthmatic Carl Wheezer, robot dog Goddard) and nemeses (smart girl Cindy Vortex, supposed tough kid Nick).
Thanks to Jimmy's attempts to contact alien civilisations, the Earth is noticed by a race of formless green slime creatures who live in egg-shaped glass housings. Just as Jimmy, frustrated by parental disapproval of his often-malfunctioning gadgets ("no rockets in the house"), wishes all parents would disappear, the alien king (Patrick Stewart) stages a mass abduction of the town's adults so they can be sacrificed to his race's giant chicken god. After a riotous discipline-free day, the kids decide they miss their mummies and daddies. Jimmy converts some carnival rides into a space fleet so the kids can rescue the grown-ups.
Less inflated and elaborate than Pixar CGI efforts like the Toy Story films or Monsters, Inc., Jimmy Neutron is lightly likeable rather than overwhelmingly wonderful. The music choices (with the exception of an eerily apt use of "The Birdy Song" as an instrument of torture) are lazily standardised (mostly kiddie rap) and the outsider-saves-the-day fairy tale plot is formulaic. But there's a great deal of invention around the margins (dozens of gags designed to become apparent only after repeated viewings), the villains are wonderful creations (when their shells break, they become green puddles with eyes) and it manages both smarts and sweets (Carl's "I Touched a Llama" badge). --Kim Newman
Jimmy Neutron is a brilliant child inventor who dreams of making contact with alien civilizations. One day however, aliens do actually intercept a kitchen toaster satellite the young genius has launched into orbit and mistake it as an invitation to visit Jimmy's hometown and kidnap all the parents. This leaves Jimmy - along with his robot dog Goddard - faced with the challenge of building a fleet of spaceships so that he and the local kids can go rescue their folks from the extra-terrestrial threat. But they have to be quick, because the aliens are planning to use their parents as human sacrifices....