Kim Possible: The Secret Files review by Mike Long

I've had The Disney Channel for a few years now, and have never been terribly impressed with it. Sure, my children enjoy some of the shows aimed at youngsters, and you can't beat Bear in the Big Blue House as far as kid's shows go, but otherwise, I found the programming to be quite lacking. That is, until last year when a new show called Kim Possible premiered. Ostensibly aimed at teenage-girls (I think), this stylish program immediately caught my attention (and I'm not a teenage back off boys!). The show has since grown in popularity and Disney is now bringing Kim to DVD with Kim Possible: The Secret Files.

Kim Possible (voiced by Christy Carlson Romano from The Disney Channel's "Even Stevens") is your average teenage girl. She goes to high school and she's a cheerleader. And, she's also a world-famous spy who is constantly saving the Earth from evil-doers. Along with her side-kick/best friend Ron Stoppable (voiced by Will Freidle) and his pet naked mole-rat Rufus (voiced by Nancy Cartwright), Kim travels the world fighting crime. Kim lives with her parents (voiced by Gary Cole and Jean Smart), who are both scientific geniuses. When she isn't fighting evil, Kim spends her time brushing up on her cheerleading routines and avoiding Bonnie (voiced by Kirsten Storms), her arch-rival.

The Kim Possible: The Secret Files DVD contains three episodes of the show, edited together into one program. The episodes are broken-up by interludes featuring a CGI Rufus. In "Attack of the Killer Bebes", Kim must rescue her Dad from her arch-foe Dr. Drakken (voiced by John Di Maggio), who is also one of Dr. Possible's former class-mates. Drakken has created a trio of super-fast and strong female robots, with which he plans to take over the world. Kim thinks that greatest challenge is going to be embarrassment, when he parents accompany her on a class ski-trip in "Downhill". But, she is called upon to save the day once again, when Ron and gym-coach Mr. Barkin (voiced by Patrick Warburton), discover a group of genetically-mutated monsters living on the mountain. "Partners" is a previously un-aired episode in which Dr. Drakken and DN-Amy, the villain from "Downhill" team-up to create an army of monsters.

Kim Possible is a difficult show to classify. One thing that's for certain is that it's like nothing else on The Disney Channel. While it would be an overstatement to call the show "edgy", it does feature a very clever sense of humor, with most of the good jokes coming from Ron Stoppable, who is a classic borderline-stupid character. The most interesting aspect of the show is the villains, which come in many shapes and sizes, and always have some bizarre twist. The show has a very compelling look, and the animation is reminiscent of other action-adventure shows, while the architecture looks like it came out of a Chuck Jones cartoon. Disney must have some wacky contracts, as many of the vocal talent comes from actors who have served time on other Disney shows. But, just check out the roster of recognizable names from the show, aside from Patrick Warburton, Gary Cole and Jean Smart: Ricardo Montalban, Breckin Meyer, Richard Kind, Brad Garrett, and Felicity Huffman. Kim Possible is that rare show which is appropriate for most members of the family. There is some violent content, but Kim and Ron are usually forced to think their way out of predicaments. The bottom-line is that Kim Possible is a fun show, and I predict that we will see a live-action feature film with these characters in the future.

While the show may be difficult to categorize, I have no problem making the call on this DVD. Disney has made the same mistake as many before them by releasing a compilation DVD, when they should have focused on releasing a series of episodes, if not an entire season. As an example of this problem, I present Spongebob Squarepants. Paramount released 6 Spongebob DVDs, featuring episodes from various seasons, before announcing that they would begin releasing full-season sets. This angered many consumers who felt that they'd wasted their money by buying the compilation DVDs. In further comparison, those Spongebob discs contained the equivalent of 5 episodes, while the Kim Possible: The Secret Files DVD contains only 4 (and that's including a bonus episode). So, while Kim Possible is a good show, and this DVD has some quality aspects (more on that in a moment), it should appeal only to the impatient, die-hard fan. The rest of you may want to wait to see if a Kim Possible: Season 1 DVD shows up some time soon.

The three main episodes included on the Kim Possible: The Secret Files DVD are presented in what the DVD box refers to as "Family Friendly" widescreen, and the box claims that the letterboxing is 1.66:1, but it sure looks like 1.78:1 to me. In any case, the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The episodes look fantastic, as they display no grain or defects from the source print. Kim Possible is a very colorful show, and those colors look fantastic here. There are no overt signs of compression artifacting, nor is there any edge enhancement. Each episode carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, which sounds fantastic. These tracks provide clear dialogue, but they also offer a surprising amount of surround sound action and bass response. The technical aspects of this DVD surpass digital broadcast quality.

The Kim Possible: The Secret Files contains a few extras. The most important is the aforementioned bonus episode, where is the show's pilot, entitled "Crush". This show is presented full-frame. This is a good episode, but it doesn't offer any real origin for Kim or her heroic actions. This program needs a good origin episode. Next, we have a set-top game called "Kim's Most Wanted Wacko Bad Guys Game", where one must crack a code in order to learn more about the show's villains. This is just weird. Finally, there is a music video for the song "Say the Word" from star Christy Carlson Romano.

(I'm giving an overall score of 5. The show is more like a 7, but this questionable DVD release drags the score down.)

5 out of 10 Jackasses

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