International super-spy. Crazy gadgets. Intrigue and suspense. Gratuitous sex and romance. All the ingredients of a massively successful film franchise. For adults. But how do you make it kid-friendly? You turn James Bond into a high schooler, cut down on the violence, and turn the gadgetry up to eleven.
Such is the formula for James Bond Jr., a 90s cartoon centered on younger versions of a number of 007 characters. The show's main character, the titular hero and James Bond's nephew, fights the evil S.C.U.M. (Saboteurs and Criminals United in Mayhem) while going to the prestigious Warfield Academy with the grandchildren of many of Bond's colleagues. Even though he's considered the new generation of super-spy, he's often pitted against his uncle's villains, including Jaws, Oddjob, Nick Nack, and Goldfinger, all working under the command of Scumlord, a criminal mastermind hidden in shadow throughout the whole show.
The villainous schemes are your typical cartoon fair - which fit perfectly in with 007's story. Searching for El Dorado with seismic vibrations and melting giant gold statues with a laser, that kind of thing. And it's no surprise that the similarities are this big, considering the show was made in collaboration with United Artists and Danjaq, the license holders of the movies. The only big difference is how big a role the supporting cast has, usually taking part in the whole episode or, at the very least, coming to Jr's rescue.
Overall, it's a passable effort, introducing a new generation into one of the longest running and most famous film series. The animation's decent, the designs are ugly but fitting with the times (this is when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was going strong, after all), and the cast does a good job, though Corey Burton's English accent is pretty horrendous. My only real problem with it is the kid's name. If James Bond is his uncle, how is he James Bond Jr? We may never know.