The adaptation of cartoons to live-action has had a rocky history with a lot of missteps as creators try to exactly mimic what makes the cartoon so beloved rather than work with the material to provide the best story for the medium. This is why when Disney Channel announced they were going to be making a live-action Kim Possible Disney Channel Original Movie (DCOM), a franchise that is a source of so much millennial nostalgia, people were skeptical, to say the least. A beloved cartoon turned into a live-action TV movie? How could it possibly measure up?
So here’s the sitch, if you’re going into this Kim Possible movie looking for things to nitpick you’re going to find them. Also, if you’re going in expecting the cartoon you’re going to be disappointed. If all you want is an early 00s nostalgiafest just go ahead and rewatch the cartoon. The Kim Possible movie was made for people watching the current Disney Channel Shows not the ones who think fondly of when The Famous Jett Jackson and Lizzie McGuire or even Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place were the headlining shows.
And none of this means it’s a bad movie. In fact, it’s an incredibly cute and fun movie that has a lot of the heart that the original show had. There’s a lot of callbacks that will make you laugh, groan, or go “oh no I’m old!” It incorporates some deep dives from the cartoon that are fun to spot.
Sadie Stanley plays the talented overachieving, not used to failure and can’t quite deal with it when it comes, hero Kim Possible wonderfully and Sean Giambrone as earnest sidekick Ron Stoppable works so well and works even better if you’ve seen him as Adam Goldberg on The Goldbergs because his distinct voice is already associated with that type of loveable dork.
In the original series, Kim is already established as one of the popular kids in high school but the movie starts off on the first day of her freshman year. Kim is under the impression high school will be a breeze but her mom, neurosurgeoun Dr. Ann Possible (played by Alyson Hannigan, one of the many familiar names in the adult cast which includes Patton Oswalt as Professor Dementor, Connie Ray as Nana Possible and Todd Stashwick as Dr. Drakken), tries to get her to slow her role and manage her expectations. But Kim is having none of it which makes the crash of high school reality that much harder for her.
Cheerleading is out, soccer is in and her middle school rival sophomore Bonnie (Erika Tham) already has a firm grip on the team effectively keeping her out. Heroics are boring and all of Kim’s careful planning with computer genius pal Wade (Issac Ryan Brown) is for nothing as she’s late to everything. At the end of the day though Kim and Ron meet Athena (Ciara Riley Wilson), another freshman with a disaster first day and Kim Possible fangirl and cosplayer.
Athena quickly becomes embedded in Team Possible going along to Bueno Nacho, getting a Kim-like makeover and even getting to come along on missions. Things start looking up for her to the point where she starts to eclipse Kim and we start getting to the meat of the movie.
Drakken is sprung from prison by Shego (Taylor Ortega.) Ortega is absolutely spot on as Drakken’s long-suffering, more competent true mastermind assistant. There are Sky High meets Spy Kids villainous plots afoot and Team Possible goes through typical teen ups and downs alongside the atypical teen superheroing and in true DCOM fashion, everyone learns some valuable lessons in the end to become better people.
At the end of the day, the Kim Possible movie did it’s job of bringing this early 00’s classic to 2019, priming a new generation of fans. It’s a little ridiculous and a whole lot of fun and while the characters aren’t direct translations, which would never live up, they all retain the heart of the originals.
The one big thing that was jarring is in cartoons having an older male villain obsessed with taking down kids and teens. It can be filtered out a bit more with ridiculous art and animation to distort the reality of the creepiness of the dynamic. The movie does set up a potential sequel that mitigates this dynamic and is careful to keep Kim and Drakken from being too familiar with each other but once you see it, it’s hard to unsee.
The action is serviceable, more on a KC Undercover level than say a Netflix or SyFy action show but it doesn’t need to be great. People are tuning in for the characters and to remember what they loved about the show or to introduce their kids to the show and on that front, Kim Possible delivers in a big way.
he action is serviceable, more on a KC Undercover level than say a Netflix or SyFy action show but it doesn’t need to be great. People are tuning in for the characters and to remember what they loved about the show or to introduce their kids to the show and on that front, Kim Possible delivers in a big way.