Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century is a 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie, starring Kirsten Storms as the eponymous heroine. The film was based on the book series Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century written by Marilyn Sadler and Roger Bollen. The film was originally conceived as a pilot for a potential television series, but the series never got off the ground. Nevertheless, the movie proved popular and warranted two sequels, Zenon: The Zequel in 2001 and Zenon: Z3 in 2004.
Zenon Kar is a 13-year-old girl who lives with her family on an orbiting space station in 2049. After getting into trouble with the space station's commander, Edward Plank, Zenon's parents punish her by grounding her to Earth to live with her Aunt Judy, who is afraid of space. On Earth Zenon experiences trouble fitting in with other kids, who consider her space-station stories and slang weird and to be avoided. Likewise, Zenon considers the children at her school woefully out of touch with pop culture. To assuage her homesickness, Zenon often communicates with her best friend on the space station, Nebula Wade, via a video phone tablet. Eventually Zenon makes friends on earth with two boys, Andrew and Greg. Along the way the kids learn to be more accepting of one another and to look past first impressions.
During her time grounded on Earth, Zenon uncovers a plot masterminded by station bigwig Parker Wyndham to crash the computers of her space station home (and thus the station itself), which will put everyone on it in danger. When Zenon tries to warn her parents of the danger, Commander Plank, who sees all children as troublemakers, convinces Zenon's parents not to listen to her. He believes that her story is only a ploy to get her back onto the space station so that she can attend an upcoming concert by her idol Proto Zoa (and his pop-rock group Microbe), who are about to perform the world's first space concert.
With the help of her friends Andrew and Greg, Zenon must find a way to save the space station and her family. Andrew creates a computer virus to counteract that deployed by Wyndham, and it is then up to Zenon to get the disk to the station. Hoping to somehow sneak onto a space launch, Zenon goes to the launch yard, where Proto Zoa and his band are about to depart for their concert. In a lucky break, Proto Zoa recognizes Zenon from a "Dance with Proto Zoa" contest and takes her with his band, Mr. Wyndham, his assistant Lutz, and Aunt Judy on the launch to the station. Upon arrival, Commander Plank is shocked to see Zenon on the station, but is smitten with Aunt Judy. After hearing Zenon's story, the commander still has trouble believing her, especially when Wyndham accuses her of sabotaging the station. Against all odds, Zenon manages to use the computer virus program that Andrew created to save the space station, and Wyndham and Lutz get arrested. Afterward, everyone enjoys the Microbe concert.
- Kirsten Storms as Zenon Kar, the 13-year-old protagonist
- Stuart Pankin as Commander Edward Plank
- Holly Fulger as Aunt Judy Kling
- Frederick Coffin as Parker Wyndham, the main antagonist of the film
- Bob Bancroft as Mr. Lutz, the secondary antagonist of the film
- Greg Thirloway as Mark Kar
- Phillip Rhys as Proto Zoa/Microbe
- Raven-Symoné as Nebula Wade
- Gwynyth Walsh as Astrid Kar
- Lauren Maltby as Margie Hammond, the third main antagonist of the film
- Danielle Fraser as Lynx
- Brenden Richard Jefferson as Andrew
- Blair Slater as Aquillat
- Zach Lipovsky as Matt
- Neil Denis as Leo
- Gregory Smith as Greg
- Kea Wong as Gemma
- David Meyer (Astronomy Professor at Northwestern University) as Proto Zoa's groupie
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century was originally made as a pilot for a proposed television series. It was directed by Kenneth Johnson and based on the book of the same name by Roger Bollen and Marilyn Sadler. The film was produced by de Passe Entertainment for cable television's Disney Channel, and executive produced by Suzanne de Passe and Suzanne Coston.
Filming began in August 1998. Scenes set on Earth were filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; one well known location is the Plaza of Nations, where Zenon arrives and departs.
Zenon was originally slated to air on the Disney Channel in December 1998, but ultimately premiered on January 23, 1999 Walt Disney Home Video released it on VHS in September 2000.
- Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century at the Internet Movie Database
- Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century at Rotten Tomatoes
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