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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kim Possible is a live-action movie re-imagining of the popular teen crime-fighting cartoon that ran from 2002 to 2007. The story assumes viewers' familiarity with the characters and basic storyline, jumping directly into the action with little introduction or background. Even so, it's fairly easy for newcomers to get up to speed as the plot unfolds. Kim's (Sadie Stanley) confrontations with the mostly comical villains involve violence like kicking, punching, and the occasional hand weapon such as a bo staff, and there are some perilous moments, but there are no injuries. A main character tricks Kim and her best friend/sidekick, Ron (Sean Giambrone), in an effort to undermine them, but Kim's resourcefulness and her ability to face and overcome difficult emotions help her demonstrate true heroism.
What's the story?
In KIM POSSIBLE, the world's most successful crime-fighting and world-saving teen heroine faces her most daunting challenge yet: adapting to high school. Treacherous villains have nothing on the uncertainties of fitting in at Middleton High, but Kim (Sadie Stanley) leans on her best friend and sidekick, Ron Stoppable (Sean Giambrone), for support. The two befriend a misfit newcomer and longtime Kim Possible fan named Athena (Ciara Riley Wilson), who blossoms under their guidance, at first delighting and then worrying Kim. When longtime foe Dr. Drakken (Todd Stashwick) plots to steal Kim's spark and neutralize her as a threat to his schemes, she has to muster her self-confidence -- and realize that being Kim Possible doesn't always mean going it alone -- to save the world yet again.
Is it any good?
More than a decade after the animated show's swan song, this movie introduces a new pool of viewers to Kim's capable, courageous, and clever brand of crime fighting. Stanley shines in the titular role, capturing Kim's confidence and determination from the opening scene. She's every bit the heroine that her cartoon version was, and her encounters with bumbling villains blend comedy and action in a way that kids will like. A minor hiccup exists in the character of Ron, whose juvenile manner of speech doesn't translate as well to live-action as it did to the cartoon.
What Kim Possible does exceedingly well in this story is show its heroine's more vulnerable human side, endearing her even more to her young fans. As she struggles to fit in among her peers, she wrestles with self-doubt, jealousy, low self-esteem, and an uncertain identity, which carries over to her work and affects her heroics. Rather than oversimplifying the issue, the movie uses Kim's experiences to show viewers the value of facing difficult emotions and asking for help in times of need, making this story a well-rounded pick for kids and tweens.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what makes Kim Possible a hero. What strong characteristics do you see in her actions? How does she demonstrate that she values friendship, loyalty, courage, and perseverance? Who are her role models, and how do they inspire her?
How would this story be changed by villains that were less comical and more dangerous? Does the fighting ever seem like real violence, or is it scary at all? How does Athena's change of heart affect challenge Kim to be her best self?
Kids: Can you relate to how Kim's emotional struggles affect her performance in school and in her heroism? Have you ever been jealous of a friend? Felt lacking in confidence? Sensed you didn't fit in? To whom do you turn for help in difficult times like these?
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