Kim Possible works in Live-Action

Sean Giambrone, Ciara Wilson and Sadie Stanley in the live-action Kim Possible movie. (Disney Channel/Jeff Weddell)

Not every animated series or film works in live-action but I feel that Kim Possible was able to pull it off in the newest Disney Channel Original Movie.

A quick prologue–serving as a glorified cameo for Professor Dementor (Patton Oswalt)–sees Kim Possible (Sadie Stanley) in action alongside sidekick Ron Stoppable (Sean Giambrone).  The duo are aided by tech genius Wade (Issac Ryan Brown).  This takes place shortly before the duo enter the freshmen class at Middleton High School.  Yes, Kim must balance being a teen superhero with the everyday challenges that come with being a high school teenager.

Despite Kim thinking she knows everything that there is to know, high school won’t just be a regular walk in the park.  The comedy rule of threes requires some fun interactions with Mr. Barkin (Michael P. Northey).  No matter how fun they may be, they certainly play into the typical genre cliches.  One of the most notable changes sees Kim tryout for soccer rather than cheerleading.  Of course, this means having to deal with rival Bonnie Rockwaller (Erika Tham).

Kim meets Athena (Ciara Riley Wilson) at the moment in which she is sitting at rock bottom.  High school may be out to Kim but Athena has it even worse.  It turns out that Athena is one of her biggest fans.  She knows just about everything there is to know about her hero.  Naturally, she gets recruited into Team Possible–full makeover and all.  Athena also happens to be a fan of singer Poppy Blu (Christy Carlson Romano), who the teen hero just happens to know.  Before we know it, Athena is the most popular person in school!

Fan favorites Drakken (Todd Stashwick) and Shego (Taylor Ortega) get the live-action treatment to seek their revenge.  Having been sitting in jail, Drakken is somewhat behind in the times.  It doesn’t stop him from ordering Shego around in order to get his revenge.  The big thing here is that he wants Kim’s spark and he’ll stop at nothing to get it!

Sadie Stanley has some very big shoes to fill in taking over the role but she does a fine job.  This is because Christy Carlson Romano is Kim Possible to so many of us.  Change is not an easy thing and we see this very frequently with Disney remaking their animated classics.  Say what you will about that but from where I was watching, the actress was able to pull it off.  Sadie Stanley may be taking over for the title role in Kim Possible but the actress is certainly a star-in-the-making.

While live-action is simply unable to translate some things in the same way as animation, it was very impressive to watch Stanley in action.  Not only Stanley but also Taylor Ortega and Ciara Riley Wilson, too.  The women really get a chance to shine here.  It’s not only limited to the younger generation.  As Ann (Alyson Hannigan) and Nana Possible (Connie Ray), Kim’s mother and grandmother get to kick some ass.

Similarly, I cannot stress this enough but the TV series and movie can co-exist.  This may not be an easy thing to do but please give this film a chance.  At the very least, please don’t blame any of the actors for just doing a job.  It’s great to see Christy Carlson Romano cameo here but her cameo also serves a purpose in film.  It’s a minor one and less than five minutes long but definitely worth it.  Unfortunately, Will Friedle does not make a cameo.  Nancy Cartwright reprises her role as Rufus the naked mole-rat.

DIRECTORS:  Adam B. Stein and Zach Lipovsky
SCREENWRITERS:  Josh Cagan and  Mark McCorkle & Bob Schooley
CAST:  Sadie Stanley, Sean Giambrone, Ciara Riley Wilson, Taylor Ortega, Connie Ray, Issac Ryan Brown, Erika Tham, Maxwell Simkins, with Todd Stashwick and Alyson Hannigan
SPECIAL APPEARANCES:  Christy Carlson Romano, Nancy Cartwright, Patton Oswalt

Kim Possible premiered Friday, February 15 on the Disney Channel.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.