Sick of surfing?
Put down the remote and check out Nickelodeon's ChalkZone, which takes you out of this world, and Cadet Kelly on the the Disney Channel, which brings you back to Earth.
By AUTUMN SIEGEL
© St. Petersburg Times
published March 11, 2002
Tired of the same old programs on TV? Not that there are a zillion to choose from. Just in case, Xpress wants to let you know about Nickelodeon's newest animated series, ChalkZone, and the Disney Channel's original movie Cadet Kelly.
We'll give you a summary of the shows, and then rate each with the "Kid's Scoop" and the "Babysitter's Scale."
ChalkZone, which premieres at 8:30 p.m. March 22, depicts the adventures of the shy Rudy Tabootie, an aspiring cartoonist who discovers a magical world behind the chalkboard.
Everything that has ever been drawn and erased comes to life in the land of ChalkZone, and Rudy and his fun-loving cartoon sidekick, Snap, must join forces to save the day.
Also invited into this alternate universe is Penny, Rudy's best (three-dimensional) friend and soul mate. Rudy, a bit of a misfit at school and in his quiet town, quickly escapes into his cartoon fantasies, sometimes acquiring life skills that can be applied to his real-life adventures.
Rudy is voiced by E.G. Daily, whose credits include Tommy Pickles on Rugrats, Buttercup on The Powerpuff Girls and the lead character in the movie Babe. As is common on Nickelodeon, two mini-shows fill each episode.
ChalkZone has a few flaws, such as the very basic animation, designed to resemble the actual doodles of youngsters on chalkboards, and the music also can disappoint.
However, the clever humor of the script and the hysterically well-crafted characters, chiefly the chalk drawings, make up for the iffy parts.
I would recommend this show for children in third grade and under due to the simplicity of the plot. Here's another suggestion for those of you who watch the premiere episode: Watch ChalkZone more than once.
Tuning in to another episode or a rerun of the first installment may give you an entirely different opinion. I was not very impressed with my first viewing, but it seemed cuter the second time around.
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Now for something a little more three dimensional, Cadet Kelly is the newest monthly movie made exclusively for Zoog Disney.
Cadet Kelly, starring 14-year-old Hillary Duff (Lizzie McGuire, Casper Meets Wendy) and 17-year-old Christy Romano (Even Stevens), follows Kelly Collins (Duff) as she struggles to adjust to her new life at a military school.
Kelly's world is turned upside down when her mom marries "Sir," a retired military general, and she is forced to leave her Manhattan creative arts school. This new stepfather takes a position as the commandant of a coed academy in upstate New York, George Washington Military School, and Kelly is the newest recruit!
She quickly learns about military life under the authority of her grueling squad leader, Jennifer Stone (Romano). That is, with a little help from Carla (Andrea Lewis), Brad (Shawn Ashmore) and Gloria (Aimee Garcia).
The plot is a tad predictable, but this is quickly overshadowed by some jazzy moves and witty stunts.
Hillary Duff's character is a bit reminiscent of her television personality, Lizzie. But Romano's portrayal of hard-nosed Jennifer is a complete contradiction to her Even Stevens' persona. (Christy Romano also will star in an upcoming animated series, Kim Possible, which chronicles the action-packed life of a high schooler turned spy.)
I highly recommend Cadet Kelly to any usual Disney Channel movie watcher.
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I watched both of these features with my sister, Marina, 11, and here's our analysis. Ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest.
- NETWORK: Nickelodeon.
- PREMIERES: 8:30 p.m. March 22. Weekly series.
- KID'S SCOOP: I guess the best part was when he was in the world of chalk. Rating: 2.
- BABYSITTER'S SCALE: This is great to get some quiet time on the job, but not necessarily something that you would want to watch if you weren't looking after the kids. Rating: 3.
- NETWORK: Disney Channel.
- REMAINING AIR DATES: 7 p.m. Tuesday; 7:30 p.m., March 20; 7 p.m., March 28.
- THE KID'S SCOOP: I thought that the choreography, the acting, the military stuff, the script, the whole movie, was just great. My favorite part was when Kelly was being friends with Brad at the end. I also liked the theme. Life isn't always perfect, so you have to work for what you want. Rating: 5.
- BABYSITTER'S SCALE: Cute concepts, splashy songs and attractive arrangements made this movie a hit for the kids. What's even better is that it can be enjoyed by the babysitter as well! Although it may not be the best movie in the world, Cadet Kelly is certainly not the worst. Good rainy day entertainment. Rating: 4.5.
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