Disney // 2002 // 87 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge Sandra Dozier (Retired) // January 5th, 2005
Señor Senior, Jr.: Did we not leave Kim Possible on a conveyer belt to
Señor Senior, Sr.: Yes. A proper villain always leaves his foe when he's about to expire.
Señor Senior, Jr.: Why?
Señor Senior, Sr.: Well, it would be bad form just to loll about waiting for it.
Señor Senior, Jr.: Why?
Señor Senior, Sr. (exasperated): Tradition!
Disney has a long history of outstanding animation excellence, but this seems to be true more of their feature film work than of their television projects. Perhaps this is due to a tendency for creators of Disney original programming to limit shows according to the age groups they are geared toward -- bright colors and simple stories for young kids, life lessons and everyday situations for older kids. The animation itself is also generally much simpler, with a consistent character design (round shapes, very friendly looking) and deliberately uncluttered scenery and background design.
Fortunately for us, Kim Possible follows none of these rules.
Meet Kim Possible -- teenage cutie, butt-kicking crimefighter. Kim is athletic, adventurous, and has sharp wit that she doesn't hesitate to use. If she can't figure it out, she can battle it out. Along with her friends Ron Stoppable, an affable slacker with a naked mole-rat named Rufus, and Wade Lode, a chubby computer geek who knows absolutely everything about technology, Kim does her part to keep the world safe from über-villains like Dr. Drakken, Shego, Duff Killigan, and Señor Senior, Sr. (the villains in this collection of episodes).
There are four episodes in this release:
Dr. Drakken, after a series of humiliating defeats (one in which he doesn't even get a chance to reveal his super weapon before Kim destroys his lab), decides to take the fight directly to Kim. First stop: the grocery store, where teen magazines will reveal the knowledge he needs in order to defeat his most hated foe! (And where there is also milk and other fridge essentials.) He devises his master plan: embarrass Kim Possible to death by spraying her with a compound that will enhance her blush response so that when she feels humiliation or embarrassment, her desire to disappear will be made reality! Kim goes through the episode trying to avoid embarrassing situations, but failing miserably as she tries to impress a cute boy at school. Meanwhile Ron, who isn't embarrassed by anything, must go and retrieve the rare flower that will cure Kim.
Why this episode rocks: Two words -- embarrassment ninjas. Oh, and the hilarious "montage of failure" at the beginning.
* "Animal Attraction"
Kim gets wrapped up in the newest craze, Animology -- predicting your personality and love life according to what type of animal you are. Kim resists at first, but then gives in and figures out she's a Blue Fox. Now, if only she can meet her match, the Yellow Trout. Meanwhile, Señor Senior, Sr. has been ousted from an exclusive club for billionaire criminals and wants revenge. It involves a corn-dog flash freezer and a traditionally protracted execution, naturally.
Why this episode rocks: It's a tie between watching SSS talk about tradition when trying to explain to Junior why he doesn't directly dispatch Kim and Ron, and the satisfaction of the episode not pandering to the idea that Kim is a super-girl even if she doesn't have a cool Animology profile -- sometimes, we like to be defined by a do-it-yourself quiz.
* "Number One"
Kim teams up with Will Du, an agent with Global Justice who needs to prove something (he is constantly reminding her that he's a...dramatic pause...top agent). Their mission: locate Professor Green, and find out why anyone would want to kidnap him, since all of his discoveries are in the public domain. When the villain turns out to be Duff Killigan, the world's most dangerous golfer, all bets are off.
Why this episode rocks: Ladies and gentlemen, B.D. Wong (as Will Du).
* "Showdown at the Crooked D" (previously unaired)
Kim's family (with Ron in tow) are visiting her uncle's ranch. When her dad discovers there is a convention for super-smart scientist types nearby, he's devastated that he didn't "make the cut" for invitations. Little does he know that the convention is merely a clever ruse for eliminating the top minds in the world. Too bad Dr. Drakken and Shego didn't count on Kim Possible.
Why this episode rocks: I suppose I could say something heartwarming like "getting to see more of Kim's family life," but it's so obviously that this is a bonus, unaired episode! C'mon!
Are you noticing a pattern with the names in this series? It's all part of the appeal of this show, which manages to entertain with equal helpings of sophisticated (but belly-laugh funny) humor and "omigod, did he just do that?" tomfoolery. The series name is an effective hook all by itself; a play on the one word the title character probably doesn't even have in her vocabulary: Mighty teen Kim Possible can do just about anything she puts her mind to. And a villain named Señor Senior, Sr. who is voiced by Ricardo Montalban? You'd have to be criminally insane to pass that up.
The character design is certainly different -- sharp edges! -- and the humor is genuinely funny and entertaining without excluding any one age group. There's plenty of physical comedy for young kids to relate to if they aren't digging the words themselves, and the show manages to be snarky and silly without being annoying or saccharine. Finally, the animation looks great, with rich and varied colors, and backgrounds that are often busy just for the sake of looking good. Character personalities are also likable without being too cookie-cutter: Kim is a role model, but she isn't the self-conscious "setting an example for the kids" type of role model that can be so tiresome. Ron does his part by reveling in his lazy aesthetic, and even shut-in geek Wade shows his propensity for mischief sometimes -- in a scene where Ron ventures into the jungle alone, Wade promises to meet him and "get in a little field work," but shows up as merely a robot bearing Wade's face on its monitor. Simply put, the adventures of Kim Possible are good, clean fun (emphasis on the fun).
Kim Possible is presented in its original fullscreen format, with a 5.1 Dolby Digital surround soundtrack. There's a good amount of ambient noise and channel separation here for an animated feature, but mostly the 5.1 surround track just boosts the overall "oomph" of action sounds like explosions and machinery noise. The image is very clear, so clear that you can see the occasional animation glitch, such as overlapping lines. Overall, a good transfer, except for one minor problem: Subtitles may spontaneously come on at the beginning of each episode, even if you have them off. This happens only for a frame or two, and then shuts off. This problem doesn't even register on the "annoying" meter, since it is so brief, but it is worth pointing out for anyone who is bothered by such glitches.
Disney has put out a few other Kim Possible compilations but hasn't yet released a season boxed set. Unfortunately, they didn't think to include much in the way of cool extras. Unless you like LMNT and their "It's Just You" single, the only other goodie is the "Villain House Party" extra, which is a villain dossier disguised as an interactive game -- you can read a little bit about what each villain does and what their aspirations for world domination are, which is useful for those who are new to the series and want a quick "get acquainted" overview. Extras are probably the only area this volume gets downgraded for, since the $15-$18 list price puts it just slightly out of the range of a "value-priced" release without at least a featurette or two.
Kim Possible: The Villain Files is definitely worth picking up -- the episodes represent the series well, and the unaired "Showdown at the Crooked D" sweetens the pot nicely. With a great transfer, 5.1 surround, and a high rewatchability factor, it's an easy holiday gift list addition.
So, as you can see, Kim Possible, the court will imprison you in a lucite cube while we launch our attack on...hey, don't disable our justice ray! Noooooooo!
Review content copyright © 2005 Sandra Dozier; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated G
* LMNT Music Video: "It's Just You"
* "Villain House Party" (Villain Dossiers)
* TV Tome