Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999)

I always enjoy watching Zenon. Kirsten Storms is delightful in the role; I love her energy and sense of wonder in all of Zenon’s adventures. The film was written by Stu Krieger, based on a children’s book by Marilyn Sadler, and directed by Kenneth Johnson. This first installment sets up a trilogy of stories that was completed in 2004.

Zenon-Girl-Of-The-21st-Century-Disney-Channel-Films

It’s fun to zoom, zoom, zoom back to the movie that started it all. Fun fact: in the opening of the film, we see on Zenon’s zap pad screen that the date is April 18, 2049. April 18 is the Disney Channel’s anniversary! I had never noticed that before this specific viewing. Overall, there are two main ideas at play in this DCOM.

One: we see in the first act that Zenon loves living on a space station with her best friend Nebula (Raven-Symoné). However, she’s gets into mischief often (like donning an astronaut suit and floating out into space without permission). Zenon is then punished after being caught in a restricted sector of the space stay, and she is sent to Earth. We see Zenon adjusting to a grounded life, sparring with her nemesis, Margie, and falling for her eventual boyfriend, Greg. Zenon gets to eat burgers, ride horses, and spend time with her cool Aunt Judy.

Two: the reason Zenon got caught was because she was spying on an evil henchman. Mr. Lutz works for Parker Wyndham, who owns the space station. Zenon sees Lutz tampering with the space station’s computer system. Her parents won’t believe her. Zenon has to board a shuttle with the bad guys, and while she’s away, she learns that Wyndham is actually out to destroy her space station home, despite his promise to put more money into the facility. It’s insurance money that he’s after, even if people have to die for it. When Lutz was down in the restricted zone earlier, he inserted a tiny silver disc into the computer, but he accidentally dropped it on the ground afterwards, leaving Zenon to pick it up. On Earth, Zenon’s computer-savvy friend Andrew discovers that the disc has ultimately programmed the station to self-destruct. Lutz wants the disc back; with some trickery, Zenon hands Lutz a fake disc and gets ready to do damage control on the old one. So, all at once, the film follows Zenon’s adjustment to a new life and her efforts to save the space station.

She finally gets a lift home with everyone’s favorite singer, Proto Zoa. As soon as she gets back to space, Zenon is locked in Commander Plank’s office until Nebula helps her escape. At the last possible second, Zenon is able to tap into the station’s memory bank and halt the mass destruction plan with the original silver disc, which Andrew previously converted into an undo device. And we close with the classic Zenon anthem, Proto Zoa’s “Supernova Girl.” Click here to watch it.

Zenon with Greg

As with High School Musical, I’ve noticed that Zenon is one of the first DCOMs people think of when considering the brand, especially for ’90s babies like myself. Not only did Zenon allow us to ponder 2049 (which is only 27 years away and will apparently revive ’90s computers); she also helmed a “lunarious” story and reminded us to think creatively. I hope you enjoy the movie magic that comes with her intergalactic stories and stellar neon outfits. 

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