Warner Bros. // 2004 // 88 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Maurice Cobbs (Retired) // October 26th, 2005
From school kid to galactic guardian in seconds!
Have we gotten to the point where the girl-who-kicks-butt-in-secret thing has become a cliché?
Case in point: Atomic Betty, a Canadian import from Atomic Studios that first became popular on Canada's Teletoon Network, then later found its way down here via Cartoon Network. It's not a show about an exceptionally good female skateboarder -- the Betty in question is your average cute little red-headed girl-next-door-type junior high-schooler...that is, of course, until her superior officer Admiral DeGill calls her into outer space to police her section of the universe (about 4556.33 planets) on behalf of the Galactic Council with her sidekick Skippy the Martian and her trusty Robot X-5. Baddies like the Supreme Emperor Maximus I-Q don't stand a chance.
There's nothing new here: Girl hero must navigate the normal pressures of school society and match wits with her spoiled rich nemisis while maintaining her secret identity and enjoying a life of bone-crunching adventure in secret. From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Disney's Kim Possible, we've seen this all before. But that doesn't make it any less fun -- which is a good thing, because fun is just about all that this cartoon has to offer.
There's no depth, not even a backstory, and the episodes race along at breakneck speed, clocking in at just over ten minutes apiece; there's not much time to catch your breath, let alone answer questions that new viewers will understandably wonder about. Who is this Galactic Council? How did Betty manage to get involved with them? No answers are forthcoming in this collection, which made the overall experience somewhat less than it might have been. The animation is good, but it's not remarkable, and while it's bright and zippy and energetic, it really doesn't offer anything terribly different from any other Cartoon Network cartoon. Sure, it has a neat '50s style with a bit of an anime influence (nowadays, they all have at least a bit of an anime influence), and the animators obviously take pride and pleasure in their work, but they simply haven't brought anything new or remarkable to the table, and their fun little cartoon is just that: a fun little cartoon, no more, no less.
This collection presents eight episodes of this fun little cartoon: "Toxic Talent," "Spindly Tam Kanushu," "Atomic Roger," "Furball for the Sneeze," "Really Big Game," "But the Cat Came Back," "The Doppelgänger," and "The Incredible Shrinking Betty"; in the course of this 88-minute DVD, she battles all manner of threats, from her alien boss's ex-girlfriend to her mother's insolent and malicious cat. As a bonus, there's a music video for the theme song featuring Tajja Isen, the voice of Atomic Betty herself.
This is zippy and fun enough to be a hit with the kiddies, but don't expect much more than zippy fun. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Not guilty.
Review content copyright © 2005 Maurice Cobbs; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (Spanish)
Running Time: 88 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Theme Song Music Video
* "Atomic Betty: Defending the Universe and Trying to Find a Home on TV"