Hello, Spongey here.
Welcome my friends, to DCOM MONTH 2!
In July in 2013, I celebrated the release of Teen Beach Movie by looking at a bunch of Disney Channel movies. That helped me see some interesting ones, and since then, my feelings on them have either grown or gotten more interesting.
I’ve let it be known that I love a good DCOM, even when they are bad. Because they are always enjoyable, even if it’s weak.
And some are pretty amazing. So this year, I’d decided to dedicated another month to them. Why? Well, this month sees the release of Bad Hair Day, which, by the my count, is the, 100TH DISNEY CHANNEL MOVIE!
Yes, really. This counts 16 Wishes, and Hariet the Spy blog wars, which are considered official. However, that means they didn’t really bank on that fact since Disney sometimes doesn’t count them. The big 100 looks good, but it’s not exactly a special one.
The next few are special, so why is this the 100th one? Ah well, it gives me an excuse to celebrate it. We have an interesting selection, starting with a classic.
This is an older DCOM from 1999 that is an oldie classic. However, TV Tropes also calls it So Bad It’s Good, and you’ll see why in a bit. Honestly, of the classic DCOM’s, this is one of the lesser ones. It’s decent, but nothing hugely special in the story or character department.
Why is that? You’ll see. It’s based on some book I’ve never heard of, and the director did Don’t Look Under the Bed in the same year. That one’s way better.
The writer did Gotta Kick it up, Going to the Mat, and Cow Belles. Never seen them. But he did The Poof Point, which I have seen. And Phantom of The Megaplex..and Smart House.
Okay never mind, this one’s going to be great. I mean, it’s not like he also wrote A Troll in Central park!
Either way, let’s see how this one turns out when we take off those nostalgic goggles. Let’s go back to the future, as seen by the late 90’s!
This, is Zenon: Girl on the 21st Century
The movie opens on a (horrible CGI) space station, in the year 2049, as our title heroine, played by Kristen Storms, wakes up. I’m pretty sure she was Bonnie on Kim Possible, which is hilariously different from this role.
We see that she’s the wacky type who gets up late, and has to rush to school. Yeah, you can tell from the start if you’ll like her or hate her.
She arrives at school, which is just one classroom with a big round table, and a hologram teacher. And we get the best part of any 90’s movie about the future: Hilariously wrong predictions!
“Perhaps the most remarkable thing about… is that unlike her Father, Bill, who also held the office at the close of the last century, President Chelsea Clinton, has taken a forceful and unwavering stand in favor of the harvesting of underwater vegetation as a major source of energy and food.”
Oh man, remember Clinton’s daughter taking over? That was great!
After class, Zenon finds out that her favorite band is coming to the station. Also, she has a friend played by none other than Raven Symone. She was Monique in KP which is also hilarious. That band is a boy band, and they will be the first band in space.
BOY BANDS IN SPACE. This movie is amazing.
Speaking of boys, some dudes don’t like that band.
“Their songs have…melodies. Their songs are so anti matter you can understand their lyrics”
Wait, in the future, real songs have no melodies? …The future is DUMB. Also, there’s a contest where the winner gets to dance on stage with the band.
During lunch, some dude announces that some other dude is coming to inspect the space station. The place has been having problems lately and they gotta make sure if’s in shape so the dude won’t shut them down. He wants to show him how important their research is or whatever.
After that, we see the biggest …quirk of the film: Late 90’s Future slang!
“I’m in a hysteria mode major!”
“Windon would have to be a scrooge major to shut us down”
“We will blast him into orbital bliss major”
Yeah. Most of it is putting minor or major in front of words, alongside other minor stuff like …Zetis Lapitus, or however you spell it. Yes, it’s really lame and its part why this movie is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. It’s not exactly a disaster major, but it’s so…dumb.
Anyway, those some boys say everything on Earth is motivated by Money. He’s not wrong. Yeah, this isn’t quite a WALL-E situation, but this station was made so some could avoid the hustle and bustle of Earth, and some are not fond of Earth.
Zenon is defensive of it, of course. But she still has misconceptions about it which will lead to hilarity later. Moving on, Zenon is gonna go out space walking to get a look at this Solar flare that is happening. She is doing this after bedtime without parent permission.
You can fill in the blanks.
“Why be in the audience when you have the chance to be center stage?”
She goes out into the vast green screen of space, and she is immediately caught. Like, it doesn’t even take 2 minutes. And very unfitting happy plays during all this, kind of ruining the mood.
She is chewed out for this, as you may expect.
“I can handle myself, I’m 13”
“Then you better start acting like this”
I smell an obvious character arc!
After that cools down, we have a bit with Zenon and Raven with more bad slang.
‘Pressure major or what?”
I know only kids are saying this, but only kids say YOLO and it still annoys the crap out of me. Seriously, that phrase needs to DIE.
Zenon meets Windom, the dude visiting them. Everyone likes him.
“There’s something that guy that totally shivers me out”
Spoilers, he’s totally not the villain.
That night, she meets Windom’s lackey. It’s late at night, and has an odd excuse for being out there.
“Aren’t you going upstairs?”
They couldn’t make the “twist’ more obvious if they tried. The next day, Raven says a friend told her that Zenon went out at night. I mention that cuz the friend is called Lutz the Clutz. As in, the nickname for Gary Lutz in Why I’m Afraid of Bees. Now that is creepy.
Zenon is determined to prove something creepy is going on, and I can see this going well.’
Mom thanks Zenon for mostly staying out of Windom’s way and not causing trouble.
“Sweat minor, Mom”
Okay, I’ve harped on movies for making upcoming plot points obvious but my god, this script has the subtly of a trainwreck. On a boat.
Anyway, it’s time for the announcement of the concert contest winner. Spoilers, its Zenon. Zenon is pretty happy but the movie randomly moves on to the Windom stuff cuz why not. That night, she snaps around and sees the lackey doing sneaky stuff, but when she tries to follow him, she gets caught.
They think she broke into this memory bank thing, and she says the lackey did but of course, they completely believer her story. …Nah, they think she’s full of crap. Naturally, they don’t even consider that she may be telling the truth since she’s not one to really lie but, anything get the
Oh man, he’s doing it too?
Zenon is chewed out for this and Mom figures it’s time for desperate measures. Zenon is moving to Earth with her Aunt.
“We’re grounding you”
Also, that’s a bit drastic for a mistake like this but ah well. The acting is pretty good here, at least . After some moping, we have Windom announcing that he’s happy with what he has seen. So it’s a happy ending for everyone but Zenon.
Because of how he’s giving them money, they think Zenon was wrong.
“You must be inked out”
She and Raven have a heartfelt goodbye , and we get an encouraging speech from Dad. It’s a pretty nice moment and our first bit of real emotion.
So she heads off and goes down to earth. As it turns out, 2049 looks a lot like 1999!
She meets her aunt who is very happy to see her. She’s not a fan of Space which doesn’t help to say the least. She and Zenon go out to eat and while the Aunt fails to be funny, an Alpha Bitch is snarking on her outfit because…she’s an Alpha Bitch. They just hate things for no reason.
Also, Aunt says this town is more simple and low tech than most cities. Yeah, they pretty much had to handwave the fact that they have no budget for a real future city. Nothing of note happens and they go head. Zenon comments that these flowers have no purpose for some future-y reason.
“Some things are just good for your Soul”
SQUIDWARD: Puh-lease. I have no soul. After a nice bit of heart, Zenon finds out her….future phone thing, has blocked her from calling anyone for her parents.
“One sin minor and my parents lock me in a black hole”
Uh, there’s no need for the minor. Also, only one sin?
EVERY WRONG WI-
Actually no, let’s just move on.
The next day, she goes to school and we get jokes about her being awkward. She fails to swim due to having no experience, fails at science due to how different things were in space, and fails to have lunch money due to them not paying with real money in space. Seriously? They didn’t give her any money?
“I think it’s pretty macro you grew up in space”
By the way, this dude is the one kind who doesn’t mind Zenon and yep, it’s the love interest. Oh, and she actually doesn’t know this piece of future slang. That’s weird major.
Dang it, now I’m doing it.
She blows him off and she goes home to see that the house has been ransacked. Dun dun dun. Zenon suspects Windom. We’ll see how that goes.
She looks it up on the most 90’s future computer ever, and she finds nothing. Later, she talks it up with that obvious love interest and they end up at his house/ranch thing that has some real horses. As opposed to…cartoon horses?
They have a nice sappy montage and they eat out that night. All of it is what you would expect: They bond and she sees how nice Earth is. That is until they spot Lutz, the lackey guy and try to figure out what is going.
The still unnamed friend hacks into the company’s data banks, cuz he’s conveniently smart, They find out they are having money troubles. Also, in an earlier bit, Lutz gave her an odd look when she pushed back her hair and revealed her earring, and they suspect he’s after some disk that’s in it or something like that.
They take a break to have a scene involving rain and more minor romance. The next day they inspect her earing disk and we find out the STILL unnamed friend guy hangs out with the Alpha Bitch and she is in his group of friends. Because reasons.
Eventually, they find out that the disk contains a virus. She saw Lutz messing with a disk thing that looks the same which means they plan to put the virus in the station’s main computer. Their tech nerd invented a thing that can get rid of the virus but they gotta go up and put in the big computer to stop it.
Wow, that was fast. Usually, it takes time to uncover the plan but this happens right’s away. The pacing is a bit rushed in some places in so far. They call up Zenon’s mom and try to warn them. Spoilers, they don’t believe her. Later, Lutz approaches them and asks for her earring.
“It wouldn’t look good on you”
As a side note, Lutz is kind of amazingly snooty with how he talks. She agrees to give it to him if he arranges a ride home for her. Well, that was easy…and stupid of Lutz. ..Until he IMMEDITLY betrays her upon getting it.
Of course, she gave him a fake disc and Windom doesn’t react well to finding it out. His reaction is amazing. Meanwhile, Zenon does some hacking and contacts Raven. She tells them about what is going on. Now it’s up to her to help save the day.
After we FINALLY find out the (boy)friend’s name, Greg, our heroes head out and the Alpha Bitch shows up just to be called out by Greg. Yay?
They try to board a shuttle but they miss and things almost get sad until Zenon gets an idea. Margie the Alpha Bitch mentions that the boy band is going up to the station for the concert, so they can just hitch a ride with them. Figured they would be important,
The next morning, they head to the launch site and Zenon ends up getting on the thing due to her contest winner thing. Wait, no one told them that their winner was grounded?
The Aunt shows up, having figured out Zenon’s plan and she asks Windom where Zenon is. He says she isn’t here but then they spot her getting on the shuttle. They board it and it takes off before they can get to her. The bad guys get trapped in some small space so they aren’t a problem on the way there.
They get to the space station and they try to warn one of the head guys about Windom. But he pops up and claims she is causing the tech problems with the station. But they end up getting into a huge argument and the station is gonna go down in less than 15 minutes. Man, everything escalates quickly in this movie.
Everyone runs away and Zenon says she has the undo disc. She says that Windom is doing this to collect the insurance money. We never found this out until now so how did she? Also, that cliché?
Things pretty darn intense as she tries to fix the station. She does some fancy stuff, it counts down to zero and…it and works the virus is stuff.
…Wow, that’s anti climatic. Not the worst I’ve seen but weak. Windom is arrested and we cut to the boy band concert. Zenon has their next song dedicated to Greg, who vanished when she went to the shuttle, by the way, and has Raven dance instead of her as a present for…doing nothing.
With that, we get a song way too catchy for its own good. Zenon’s parents thanks for saving the day and every hugs it out and stuff. When the song ends, so does the movie.
…And now Cloud 9 has stiff competition for worst abrupt ending ever. She saves the day…and it ends. No pure hook up, no moral, no…anything! It just…stops!
Cloud 9 made me more confused, while this hurts the films story a tad more. Either way, it’s lame. Either way, let’s wrap this up:
Yeah, my opinion from earlier stands. It’s the weakest classic DCOM I’ve seen so far, but it’s still tolerable. My biggest issue is how…safe it is. There’s nothing really crazy about the story, and even by DCOM standars, it’s very predictable. On first viewing, I knew everything that was gonna happen. And I could excuse it if it was a bit better written, but it’s mostly average.
Everything goes through the motions, and no one really learns anything. Zenon sees that Earth is cool…and that’s it. She is brought there due to a misunderstanding, and their asses would be saved sooner if she stayed there. Thus, her earlier bad antics don’t really cause her to learn the lesson and all that.
The pacing is also rushed, with things happening out of nowhere, and everything being set up so obviously. Also, there’s terrible future slang.
But despite all of that, it’s watchable. Mostly because there’s nothing painful and the occasion nice moments pulls it through. Also, the acting is decent, with Zenon herself making her character a bit better. The character is typical and while annoying sometimes, it still likable enough.
The others are there. Raven is the friend, the villain is fun but generic, the Alpha Bitch is pointless, and the boyfriend is just there to be the boyfriend. Also, while the romance scenes are cute the romance itself is rushed and it barely has a pay off.
Most of the enjoyment comes from the flaws. It’s so hilariously cliché and typical that it’s fun to rip om. The future sang adds to it too. So I certainly enjoyed it, but critically, it’s very average.
Honestly, even the weaker Modern Ones give me more to like critically, even if this is more fun. I’m not sure why people haven’t realized how typical this one is, or how it got two sequels, but I guess everyone thinks differently.
Overall, it’s alright. It’s way more safe than it should be, but it’s got amusing moments. It may have weak writing but it’s not quite BAD, and my grade will be higher than ca let on.
But if you want something more interesting, there’s better. But you should watch it for the slang along. I hope the sequels end up being better.
Next time…wait…let me check..
Yep, I got it right.
Well, guys stayed tuned next time for …
MY 200TH REVIEW!