I’m going to start with my review, then I’m going to rant about how unnecessarily cruel people have been about this movie.
First of all, I really liked this movie. I had low expectations going in. Not in a mean way, but like, it’s a TV movie. More specifically, it’s a DCOM. I’m 23 years old. I’m well aware this movie was not made for me, although I do feel like they were extremely respectful of the original series and of what the fans wanted to see.
The movie opened with the original theme song sung by Christina Milian, and a live-action recreation of the show’s opening credits. I loved it. They really started on a high note. I was expecting them to open with Sadie Stanley’s cover of the iconic theme song (which is a true bop in its own right) but I was pleasantly surprised to hear the original.
Patton Oswalt played Professor Dementor, the same character he voiced in the cartoon, which was really cool but also kind of weird to hear that voice coming out of Patton Oswalt’s face. But mostly it was cool.
I’m going to skip to the most important part of this movie that made me really like it.
This movie humanized Kim Possible in a way that the TV show never did. One of the critiques people (mostly me) had about the final episode of Kim Possible was that it addressed Ron’s story arc and his transformation into the hero he was always struggling to be, but it didn’t show much growth on Kim’s part. And I always wondered about that. Not as a kid, of course. None of this ever occurred to me as a ten year old watching the show. I only noticed when I binge watched the whole thing as an adult.
Aside from an inability to cook, and being a little too overconfident sometimes, Kim Possible never had any real flaws. She was by no means one of the dreaded “mary sues” or manic pixie dream girls of the early 2000s, but she never had much growth throughout the series. Sure, she was a well-rounded, strong female character, which was wonderful, but she never changed throughout the series. Not in any permanent way. Ron had an amazing character arc. Shego had a great backstory. Hell, even Wade finally left his room. But we never see Kim falter. Even in her backstory shown in A Sitch In Time, Kim was always the best at everything. Always.
So, to see this movie show a side of Kim Possible that the cartoon never did, was amazing. And jarring. The new girl, Athena, keeps out-doing Kim and making her feel unsure of herself. We’ve seen this in the cartoon before with Will Du, Bonnie, and, ironically, with an actress in an episode where Kim and Ron meet a director who wants to make a movie about them. But Kim always saved the day in the end. And she never let those feelings get in the way of her ability to do good.
This movie didn’t do that. Drakken’s plan was literally “to break Kim Possible” and break her he did. The main plot in the movie was that high school wasn’t as great or easy as Kim thought it would be, and she’s having a hard time adjusting.
Dude, I can totally relate. Freshman year was hell for me. I saw where they were going with this storyline and I thought “yeah, this is a good, relatable topic for the children.” But then it got too real. Like, way too real.
They had all these scenes of Kim looking all sad and being lonely while Athena was getting all the praise and succeeding socially. First of all, Sadie Stanley is very good at looking sad and it made me sad. But THEN…she cried. And it was a pretty convincing cry.
Watching Kim Possible (and mind you, by this point I fully saw her as Kim Possible, and not just some actress playing a character, which is impressive) break down and cry, and question her integrity as a hero was so jarring and so unexpected. They broke Kim Possible. They broke her. Four seasons and two movies and 87 episodes of Kim Possible’s unwavering confidence and heroics, and now they broke her.
I really love the exchange between Kim and her Nana in this scene. Kim is crying and says something to the effect of “I’m good at everything. I save the world. That’s who I am.”
And her Nana says “That’s what you do. That’s not who you are.”
I loved that. I wish I had this movie when I was a dumb freshman.
Maybe it’s not as big of a deal as I think it is. Maybe I could relate to it a little more than some of the other people watching, or maybe I was watching with a different mindset than they were. But it’s that little something that I was looking for in the cartoon and never found. I’m pretty sure the only time Kim ever cried or really lost her cool was in the episode where her emotions were being controlled by the moodulator, so that didn’t really count. (I could tell you the actual titles of all of these episodes I’m referencing but I don’t want to look like even more of a creep.) Sure, she’s gotten angry in some episodes, but everyone gets angry, and it’s not very out of the ordinary after you’ve seen her throw a henchman over her shoulder.
But anyway, there is definitely a part of me that kind of loves this movie. Sure, it’s still a DCOM, and it’s for kids, but that’s why I like it so much. The only thing I wanted out of this movie, was for this incarnation of Kim Possible to be as lovable and as much of a role model as the one I grew up with. And I think she definitely was. They made her feel more vulnerable and relatable than the cartoon Kim ever was. She felt real. The Kim possible of 2002 was the girl you wished you were. The Kim Possible of 2019 is the girl you already are, and I think that’s really great.
I will admit, I’ve been stalking some of the actors on Instagram for the past year cuz I’ve been dying for movie updates. And in that time, I’ve learned that Sadie Stanley seems like a very sweet, intelligent, down-to-earth type of kid. And as someone who looked up to Kim Possible and learned a lot of life lessons from her, I could not be happier with who they cast to play KP. Kim possible is about so much more than being a badass crime fighter, or a crop top hoe, or being good at everything. It’s about helping people, and being good to others, and being a good friend. The kids watching this movie aren’t only going to look up to Kim, they’ll look up to the actress that plays her as well. So I think Sadie was a really good choice.
Of course I have some critiques, but nothing too significant. My friend, and a lot of people on twitter, thought Athena had too much screen time for not being the main character, but I’m pretty sure she wasn’t even in the first half hour of the movie. Honestly the only thing that bothered me about Athena was her crazy hair. Like, I get that they wanted a big makeover reveal, but that doesn’t explain why she looked like she didn’t own a hairbrush when she showed up and there was no explanation for it.
I also wanted to see a lot more Shego. Taylor Ortega really nailed this role. She did the eye-roll, she filed her gloves, she made the snarky comments. Her whole demeanor just screamed Shego. I wasn’t too keen on her outfit though, and what I really would have loved to see would be a cameo from Nicole Sullivan, who voiced her in the cartoon. I don’t know if they even asked her to make an appearance but they totally should have. I would have loved to see her bump into Shego somehow and say something mean.
Drakken was pretty good too. I can’t say he was anything like cartoon Drakken, in fact I feel like Todd Stashwick played him kind of dark, but it wasn’t bad. Speaking of Drakken, I don’t know if I was too distracted by the Taco Bell Burrito I was eating and pretending was from Bueno Nacho, but I don’t think they gave a very clear explanation about Athena being Drakken’s creation. I probably just missed it though.
Christy Carlson Romano’s cameo was nice but that outfit gave me flashbacks to the early 2000s. I don’t know if that was on purpose. I didn’t like that hat she was wearing, or that weird furry messenger bag, but whatever. I’m glad that they showed respect to her as the OG Kim. It kinda felt like they were showing respect to the fans as well. And I liked her car.
But speaking of people who owe Kim favors, in the scene where Kim leaves Athena at the hair salon, I would have loved for the hair stylist to have been someone who owed Kim a favor. I don’t know if that had that in there and they cut it out or what, but I was waiting and waiting for someone to say “Kim, it’s the least I could do after you did some outrageous heroic task for me.”
Oh, and I also didn’t like their use of slang, but I think that’s just because I’m old and boring probably? They said, shook, fam, memes, and probably some other words I missed because it sounded like gibberish to me. I think I’m just old. Do kids really talk like that these days? I was really hoping for her to say Spankin’ but I guess that probably wouldn’t sound right. I really love the KP slang.
Wow this is a very long review and I still have a rant to do. I’ll wrap this up by saying this: Yes, it was kinda cheesy. No, it wasn’t the greatest action movie ever made. But at the end of the day, considering what was at stake, and acknowledging that this was a TV movie for CHILDREN, I don’t think I could have asked for a better representation of Kim Possible and the gang. They all did a good job, and anyone who says otherwise is just too dense to understand that.
Okay, Review portion is over. Now I’m going to rant about how awful people have been.
(God Bless you if you’ve somehow gotten this far. I don’t think I’ve ever written a post this long before.)
Last winter, during finals week, I binge-watched the entire Kim Possible series instead of studying. Great life decision on my part, tbh. Unlike a lot of TV shows I watched as a kid, or even as a teenager, Kim Possible held up exceptionally well, enough so that it still makes me laugh out loud. A few weeks later, in January of 2018, Disney announced they were casting for a new live-action Kim Possible movie.
First of all, I thought it was a crazy coincidence that this would happen right when I got back into watching the show. Second, I was so excited for this movie….And then I realized that I am a grown woman, I haven’t watched the Disney Channel in years, and this movie is for children. The nostalgia factor was immediately replaced with a quarter life crisis.
But, they soon announced who would be playing Kim and Ron in the best way possible (no pun intended). Christy Carlson Romano and Will Friedle, the original Kim and Ron, revealed Sadie Stanley and Sean Giambrone as the new Team Possible in a cute YouTube video posted by Disney, and very clearly gave their stamp of approval.
Now listen, to be clear, I was on board with this movie from the get-go. I knew I was not the target audience for this film. And I was 110% okay with that. Because I’m a well-adjusted adult. Not all fans of the show shared my enthusiasm.
Here’s where it gets ugly: A lot of the fans of the original show are somewhere between 18 to 30 years old. Millennials. Really cranky, self-absorbed, entitled millennials who refuse to believe that their childhoods cannot retroactively be ruined by a reboot of their favorite shows. So naturally, they had something to say about the casting, the costumes, the set design, and the of course the CGI.
As the official photos and promos trickled in, here were some of the most common critiques I saw:
“Ugh, she’s too small and young to play Kim!”
KP is 14 in this movie. 14! What the hell did you look like when you were 14? Honestly, I wish I looked as good as Sadie when I was her age. When I was in high school I was UG-LY. But God forbid a teenage character is played by an actual teenage girl and not an over-sexualized adult woman (I’m looking at you, Riverdale). And if we’re going off of Kim Possible canon here, let me drop some knowledge on you:
THIS is Kim on her first day of cheer practice/her first ever mission. She had to be around 13/14 here:
Look at this goober. She’s got braces. And a ponytail. And no boobs (I see you pervs complaining about that. Chill.) She looks like a normal 14 year old girl.
“Where is her crop top? Kim is supposed to be a crop top hoe. I hate this new outfit.”
You, a grown adult, are not seriously telling me you’d like to see a 16 year old girl run around in a crop top, much less are demanding to see it, right? I don’t want to see that. I sincerely hope you don’t want to see that, and I don’t think anyone who has any part in making this movie wanted to see that. Is the new outfit the greatest thing on earth? No. To be honest I was hoping they’d bring baggy cargo pants back into fashion but whatever, its fine. I’ll wear them anyway. That’s a dumb thing to be mad about. But I’m glad I didn’t have to look a 16 year old girl’s midriff for an hour and a half. I will take that trade-off.
“Kim’s a soccer player in this movie. She’s supposed to be a cheerleader!”
Yeah… no. I’m also very okay with this change too. For several reasons. One, the crop top thing again. Cheerleaders are always oversexualized. If not by the show, then definitely by the fans. I think the writers of this movie (who are, by the way, the original creators of the show) were very well aware of some of the…depravity that has gone on within the fandom in the decade since the show ended. And they were so obviously trying to minimize that this time around. Good for them. But secondly, I think it’s nice to encourage young girls to be into sports. Not that there’s anything wrong with cheerleading, but OG Kim was kind of a stereotypical popular girl, pom poms included. The funniest part about this complaint is that in the movie, Kim doesn’t even make it onto the team. At least not technically.
“That’s not how it happened in the TV show! They’re not following the canon! This isn’t my Kim Possible.”
You’re right. It’s NOT your Kim Possible. It’s a new Kim Possible for a new generation. It’s not meant to follow the cartoon. It’s a stand alone piece. And I like that. They knew they can’t try to be exactly like the show. There is not a single cartoon on earth that’s had a perfectly satisfying live-action movie. Name one. I dare you.
I think one of the biggest problems here is that in some ways it was just too soon for a reboot. A reboot either needs to grow up with the people who watched it in the first place (and we all know Disney would never do that with Kim, although a darker KP show on Freeform or the CW would be AMAZING, just saying) OR enough time would need to pass between the original and the new series that it’s something nostalgic for the original fans to introduce to their kids. Like Star Wars…I think. I dunno, I’ve never seen it.
Anyway, the issue here is that hardly anyone who grew up watching the show (if anyone at all) has kids old enough to be watching the show now. So fans aren’t seeing it as something to pass on to their kids and watch them enjoy it. In this crappy economy, I don’t know how many of us can even afford kids, much less afford to pay for Disney Channel. So the fans feel like this movie was meant for them…even though they haven’t watched Disney Channel in years. I think, maybe some of us are trying to hold on too hard to our childhoods because adulthood isn’t everything we thought it would be, and we don’t want things to change. (Oh look, that directly ties into the actual moral of the movie. wow.)
There’s this whole concept of “my childhood is ruined” which I think is a load of BS. No, your childhood is not ruined. You had a childhood. You enjoyed a show in your childhood. Your childhood ended, and you haven’t thought about that show in years. You are not entitled to be so harsh about something that so clearly was not made for you. Was it made with you in mind? Absolutely. But was it for you, the underemployed, disillusioned, depressed millennial? No, no it was not.
*Insert rude hate comment towards one of the actors here*
Okay this is what was really getting to me during all this. Mind you, its been going on ever since they cast these characters. DO NOT under any circumstances, call yourself a fan, if you’re willing to bully a teenage girl or boy just because you don’t think they were right for the role. First of all they all did a good job. Every single one of them. Second, THEY’RE CHILDREN. You’re an adult. What the hell is wrong with you?
I just think it’s so incredibly stupid that people will tell a teenage girl to go kill herself, in the name of standing up for a cartoon character who never, ever, in a million years would condone that kind of behavior. The entire point of Kim Possible was to teach kids about friendship and kindness and clearly some people didn’t get the memo. Those people don’t deserve to call themselves fans. It honestly broke my heart to see how cruel people were being. Kudos to Sadie Stanley for handling it all with such poise and grace. That girl replied to hate comments with compliments and kindness. If that’s not the Kim Possible spirit I don’t know what is.
Moral of the story: Grow up and don’t be an a-hole to kids on the internet, okay?