Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, directed by cinematic mastermind John A. Davis, is a poignant tour de force of the middle class American zeitgeist in the post-9/11 Bush Jr. era. Rivaling the likes of Paul Thomas Anderson, Davis not only tells the story of a precocious genius-savant, but compels the audience to draw their own conclusions about the morally ambiguous plot.
Jimmy is an unreliable narrator. At times, he forwards a scathing commentary against the military state that exists in his home town. Other times, he displays great nationalistic pride, proclaiming his undying love for the state, and the warm security it provides. This dichotomy can confuse a more feeble-minded viewer (yes, probably you), but for those who have studied such narration schemes for years, this film is deeply stimulating.
Of course, the “state” I speak of is in fact an allegorical one, at least within the confines of the film’s universe. The adults who vanish in the beginning of the film fill the role of the state quite nicely.
The 30 or so minutes that follow the adults’ disappearance provide the viewer with an impartial vantage from which they may witness the decline of an otherwise civil society into primitive savagery. The citizens, without the guidance of the once reprehensible state, rapidly decline into hedonism and base immorality.
Realizing that they have gone astray, the citizens soon lament the loss of the supreme authority and unambiguous rule of the state.
This is all well and good, but for the fact that these messages are directly contradicted in the subarc of the plot that directly follows. The citizens band together to vanquish their woes, seeking out their “parents” (the allegorical state).
This is a textbook portrayal of classical Marxism, which rejects the higher authority of the state, hoping to eventually succeed in becoming a stateless society.
A great portion of the next hour of the film does service to the fans who require action to even consider watching such a cerebral film. I won’t go into this portion of the movie too much, to avoid spoilers. However, although I detest excessive “action” in films, the cinematography was masterful, exceeding the work of his contemporaries; Tarantino, Richardson, and Nolan.
In the end, a desirable compromise was formed between the bourgeoisie and the proletarian children.
Don’t go off of my rather skeletonized review. You must see the film to know what I’m talking about. It has a certain je ne seis quoi to it.