CODY BANKS

 
Full Name: Cody Banks
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: Jeffrey Jurgensen
Time Span: 2003 - 2004
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Cody Banks is an agent with the CIA.
       He is also teenager still in high school and trying to learn how to talk to girls and to pass math, all while avoiding bullets and bombs and other nasty things thrown his way.
       After attending a summer camp run by the CIA to find talented potential recruits, Banks wants more of the action. He applies for and is accepted into a junior position with the Agency and before he can think he is pulled into a mission. That assignment is to be a teenager, which should come easy, but it also involves becoming friends with a young woman and females are not something Banks knows anything about.
       To become successful, Banks is given a crash course in all manner of spycraft and the use of a good number of cool gadgets, some of which he actually learns how to use. Most important for him as well as the mission, though, is how to talk with girls. If his natural shyness and his lack of experience was not enough, the fact that his CIA handler was the gorgeous, sexy, and not so patient Veronica Miles just makes the task all the more difficult.
       As if his life was not complicated enough being a junior spy, Banks has the normal teenage problems with his parents, complicated immensely by the fact that he is not allowed to tell them what he is doing (not least because they certainly would not let him do it).
       Banks might be a novice in need of training but he is by no means a bumbler or a fool. He is quite intelligent and resourceful and he has a deep drive to succeed that helps him overcome his inexperience. He also has the ability to not take himself too seriously which helps when he makes natural mistakes and must deal with them. Being a teenager, though, often means that adults do not believe or trust him as much as they need to since he is the one in the thick of things.
       As the short series progresses, he becomes a lot more confident in his abilities but with his handler changing and the location for this next major mission being so different, his increasing ease in himself is put to a test again.

YOUNG ADULT BOOKS

Number of Books:2
First Appearance:2003
Last Appearance:2004

       The two books that were published for this series were novelizations and as such just retold the movies in prose form. The first embellished the history of the character a tad which was good but other than that, they were quick and simple stories for young people.

1 Agent Cody Banks Agent Cody Banks
Written by David C. Glasser
Copyright: 2003

Novelization of the movie - After attending a CIA summer camp, Cody Banks volunteers for work with the Agency and is sent to investigate a scientist working with nanobots. He uncovers a very nasty plot by a very nasty man.

2 Agent Cody Banks 2 - Destination London Agent Cody Banks 2 - Destination London
Written by Michael Anthony Steele
Copyright: 2004

Cody Banks is sent to London to capture an Agency traitor who stole plans for a mind-control device and is now in cohoots with a rich man to use the machine to enrich themselves.

MOVIES

Number of Movies:2
First Appearance:2003
Last Appearance:2004

       The genesis of this two-movie with book novelizations was the first movie starring Frankie Muniz who was enjoying considerable success in the television comedy Malcolm in the Middle. It took his impressive talents and coupled that with those of Hillary Duff and Angie Harmon and produced a fun adventure for young people as well as adults. With the financial success of that film, a second one was a certainty but that one did not have quite the talent and did not fare as well.
       What made the movies, especially the first, work was that the character was trying so hard to be a good agent but was also very much a novice. It was honest and funny without straying into silly or forced.

1 Agent Cody Banks Agent Cody Banks
Director: Harald Zwart
Writers: Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, Scott Alexander, Larry Karaszewski
Actors: Frankie Muniz as Cody Banks, Hilary Duff as Natalie Connors, Angie Harmon as Ronica Miles, Keith David as CIA Director, Ian McShane as Brinkman
Released: 2003

Cody Banks is recruited to investigate a scientist who is working with nanobots and uncovers a plot to use them for nefarious purposes.

2 Agent Cody Banks 2 - Destination London Agent Cody Banks 2 - Destination London
Director: Kevin Allen
Writer: Don Rhymer
Actors: Frankie Muniz as Cody Banks, Anthony Anderson as Derek Bowman, Hannah Spearritt as Emily Sommers, Keith David as CIA Director
Released: 2004

A mind-control device has been stolen from the CIA and is being prepared in London to take over the minds of the world's leaders unless Cody Banks can find the people involved.

MY COMMENTS

       I enjoyed the first movie a lot but since I am a huge Angie Harmon fan, how could I not. It was playful and entertaining and it did not try to be more than it was meant to be. Frankie Muniz is a very talented actor and Hillary Duff is excellent. Ian McShane plays a terrific bad guy and Keith David's gruffness was perfect for a DCI. The novelization was true to the movie with a touch of additions here and there and the writing style was enjoyable and fast paced.
       Having not seen the second movie (no Angie Harmon) and not read the second novelization, I do not know how good or bad they were. I do know that the ticket sales for the second were significantly less than the first and no third was forthcoming which tells a lot.
       I did notice that a fair number of people enjoyed the character enough to pen their own fiction, found here, a couple of stories aging the character a bit while a couple more take place right after the second adventure.

GRADE

My Grade: B-

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