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"Kim Possible" The Villain Files DVD Review

Buy Kim Possible: The Villain Files from Amazon.com Kim Possible: The Villain Files (2004)
Show & DVD Details

Directors: Chris Bailey, David Block

Writers: Laura McCreary, Robin Riordan, Gary Sperling, Mark Palmer

Voice Cast: Christy Carlson Romano (Kim Possible), Will Friedle (Ron Stoppable), Nancy Cartwright (Rufus), Tahj Mowry (Wade), Gary Cole (Dad), Jean Smart (Mom), Shaun Fleming (Jim and Tim Possible), John DiMaggio (Dr. Drakken), Nicole Sullivan (Shego), Ricardo Montalban (Seρor Senior, Sr.), Nestor Carbonell (Seρor Senior, Jr.), Kirsten Storms (Bonnie), Stephen Root (Phillipe Bullion, Pop-Pop Porter), A.J. Trauth (Josh Mankey), BD Wong (Agent Will Du), Brian George (Duff Killigan), Tara Strong (Joss, Tara), Carly Pope (Amelia), Felicity Huffman (Dr. Director)

Running Time: 87 minutes (4 episodes) / Rating: TV-G
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Broadcast Ratio) / Dolby Digital 5.1 (English)
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned; White keepcase
DVD Release Date: December 7, 2004 / Originally aired between 2002 and 2004
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

The premise of "Kim Possible" sounds pretty cool: an ordinary teenage girl goes to high school and in her spare time, saves the world as a major crime-fighter. But Kim Possible isn't that ordinary; she's a midriff-baring head cheerleader. And the show is not very cool; its all-out efforts to be hip and self-aware just come off as grating.

Nonetheless, people like the show, and it has spawned a variety of profitable merchandise for Disney. In other words, "Kim Possible" is a manufactured hit that was carefully choreographed to be nothing less. Disney calculated its youthful female demographic and tried to make a hip cartoon, with lots of marketing possibilities.

That's part of the reason I have trouble warming to the show. It comes across as glossy and cold rather than hip, and this weak, heartless (maybe too strong a word for a relatively harmless cartoon) core winds up overshadowing the sometimes clever stories and the inspired voice cast.

The voice cast is actually comprised of actors who have done some great television comedy work elsewhere. Before she became Kim, Christy Carlson Romano was the perfect overachieving sister in live action form on the Disney Channel's solid comedy "Even Stevens." Ron Stoppable, a likably uncool best friend who has a naked mole rat for a buddy, is voiced by Will Friedle, who was the hilarious older brother Eric Matthews on "Boy Meets World" and the voice of Batman on WB's Saturday morning cartoon "Batman Beyond." Kim and Ron often get help from Wade, their geeky computer friend, played by Tahj "Smart Guy" Mowry. Kim's parents, who are both doctors, are voiced by Gary Cole (Lumbergh in Office Space) and Jean Smart ("Designing Women").

Kim goes on a date with 'so cool' Josh in "Blush." Seρor Senior, Sr. and his mimbo son Seρor Senior, Jr. plan to make things chilly for some people in "Animal Attraction."

With an eclectic, inspired, and seemingly appropriate cast, one would think "Kim Possible" has the foundations for a comic gold mine. But while the show is supposed to be a comedy, it's not all that funny, at least not to those beyond a very young age.

Comedy is only one of the two primary genres that show fits into; the other is action. Action is a tough thing to pull off in a comedy-intensive environment. The most skillful example I can cite in modern cinema is Ghostbusters, and its cartoon adaptation also proved quite deft at engaging the viewer with its action stories and entertaining the same time. With "Kim Possible", you have such a light bouncy teen atmosphere for comedy and such thin villains (who are often supposed to be funny) that it's tough to take a vested interest in the action sequences. You have a lot of gadgets, simple Flash-like animation, and the bombardment of "hip dialogue" which renders the show's appeal rather limited, in spite of slick production values and somewhat reasonable intentions.

The villains of "Kim Possible" are on display in this four-episode compilation titled Kim Possible: The Villain Files. The episodes are edited together so that there is only one set of opening credits at the beginning and one at the end. Though the shows play in succession like a film rather than being presented as four standalone episodes, there's really no continuity or any efforts to make it seem like one big narrative. The lone loose theme with which to tie these random episodes together is that each features a villain, as do all "Kim Possible" episodes.

In the first episode, Dr. Drakken and Shego come up with a spell that makes Kim gradually disappear more and more each time she is embarrassed. With help from Wade (the geeky computer friend), Ron travels to South America to track down the cure, while Kim's date with Josh Mankey produces endless opportunities for embarrassment.

Next is "Animal Attraction", in which the fad around school is "Animology", which assigns a color and animal to those who answer a questionnaire. Meanwhile, Kim faces off against wealthy nemesis Seρor Senior Sr., who plans to freeze a prestigious social club that has revoked his membership.

Ron meets Will Du, Kim's new partner in "Number One." In "Showdown at the Crooked D", Drakken tells Shego about the mayhem he plans with the Silly Hat.

"Number One", one of the show's earliest episodes and the most inspired of this batch, follows. Kim is summoned by the GJ (Global Justice) Network to help find an aging scientist who has disappeared. Kim must work with the cocky, by-the-books agent Will Du. Their investigations lead them to the black market for garden supplies and rogue golfer Duff Killigan, who has some unusual plans for world domination. At school, Bonnie wants to replace Kim as cheerleader captain and is making every effort to do so.

Last is the never-before-seen episode "Showdown at the Crooked D." Ron joins The Possible Family (sans Mom) on a trip to Montana to see their relatives. Kim's cousin Joss has a new role model she's really taken a liking to: Kim! Mr. Possible is miffed that he wasn't invited to a scientific convention in town, but it's really part of Dr. Drakken's scheme to be recognized as an intellectual.


The last episode compilation DVD, Kim Possible: The Secret Files, put out in September 2003, presented the show in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. This DVD opts for the 1.33:1 fullscreen aspect ratio instead, matching the Disney Channel broadcasts. Video quality is just about perfect, displaying the simple, digitally-colored animation with a satisfying clarity and vibrancy. If you look very closely, you'll notice some ringing around thick lines. Whether this is so-called "edge enhancement" or simply a limitation of the medium, I don't know and you won't care, since it's not evident and hardly detracts from an otherwise excellent video transfer.

The episodes are presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Volume needs to be cranked up a bit, but the sound quality is fine. Surround speakers are used to a minor degree to reinforce music and occasionally sound effects. Some directional effects are nicely distributed among the three front channels. Naturally, the sound mix is crisp and pleasing, as it should be for such a recent big studio production.

Kim Possible: The Villain Files Main Menu The Villain House Party LMNT's music video for "It's Just You."


There's something called "The Villain House Party", which I guess can loosely be labeled as an "activity." As Kim, you go through the 3 rooms and select the 9 villains that are partying together to collect information on them. Each villain's "Special Powers" and "Wacko Plan" are revealed similarly in text form and narration, which has a kind of unfunny tongue-in-cheek vibe to it. As a game, it's much too slow and not very interesting.

There's also a music video for a song called "It's Just You" performed by the boy band LMNT. This does a good job of incorporating clips from the show, but it's a pretty cheesy dance/pop song. The video runs 3 minutes, and is presented in non-anamorphic widescreen and Dolby Digital 5.1.

The 16x9 menus are nicely animated and accompanied by an instrumental version of the theme song. Kim's locker opens up to reveal the Main Menu, and there are spirited transitions to all the submenus.

At the start of the disc, previews play for Bambi, "That's So Raven": Supernaturally Stylish, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Mulan II. The Sneak Peeks menu adds a spot for Cheetah Girls.

Inside the DVD case, there is a sweepstakes entry form to win a Disney DVD library, an insert with "scene" (episode) selections (the back advertises Disney Channel favorites on DVD, and promises more in 2005), and a booklet of coupons and advertisements (mostly for things featuring Raven) which will save you some money on DVDs and video games. There is also the Buy 3, Get 1 Free Disney DVD redemption form for this holiday season's offer.

Kim does battle with the rogue golfer Duff Killigan. Oh no! The Possibles are in jail!


Kim Possible: The Villain Files is only for the most diehard or casual fans of the Disney Channel show. What do I mean? Well diehard fans will probably want to get any KP DVD as soon as it's released. Others may wait to see if Disney will release the show in chronological volumes, the way they now have done for "Lizzie McGuire" after releasing 4 random episode discs like this. If Disney does take that route, casual fans may not have the desire (or money) to spend on the hypothetical big multi-disc sets, and instead may opt for an inexpensive offering like this over a complete collection.

Nonetheless, I can't put myself into either category of fans, and if you haven't already taken a liking to the show, this collection of episodes isn't going to change your mind.

More on the DVD

Coming to DVD on May 10th:
Click to order Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama
Kim Possible Movie: So the Drama (Extended Edition)

Kim's final adventure with deleted scenes, a never-before-seen episode, and 2 music videos.

Related Reviews:
The Disney Channel: Lizzie McGuire: Box Set Volume 1
TV Animation: Gargoyles: The Complete First Season

UltimateDisney.com | Review Index | TV Shows Page - Disney Channel

Reviewed December 5, 2004.

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