I enjoy the Powerpuff Girls animated TV show, but I'm by no means a hardcore fan. I had no real desire to see this film, which I fully expected to be nothing more than a padded-out, gussied-up-with-better-animation TV episode. But, when my boyfriend begged me to go, and when a bunch of the other noders at Hot Damn 2 were keen to see it as well, I figured I'd be a sport. Hey, in this infernal weather, I was almost willing to pay $7 just to sit in decent air conditioning for a couple of hours.

And, boy, am I glad I got talked into going. This movie was an altogether pleasant surprise, and I had a great time. The writing was sharp and witty, and there are plenty of laughs for adults as well as the wee ones. And, unlike other recent releases, it has a well-developed plot.

Plot, you say?

Yes, indeed. In this movie, we learn the details of The Powerpuff Girls' creation and their subsequent decision to become crimefighters. We also learn that their arch-nemesis Mojo Jojo began life as a destructive little chimp in Professor Utonium's laboratory; he becomes a supervillain when he is splashed with the same Chemical X that gives the girls their superpowers.

The girls initially become pariahs after they gleefully lay waste to Townsville in a game of "Tag" that gets out of control after their first day of school. Forced to walk home alone after the Professor is thrown in jail for their destructiveness, they encounter Jojo, who has become a hobo in a cardboard box. Jojo tricks them into helping him create his headquarters and a laboratory to create an army of superintelligent monkeys (who, of course, rapidly get out of his control).

The girls, of course, ultimately redeem themselves in their usual rambunctious manner after a soul-searching scene on a distant, chilly asteroid. The puns and parodies come fast and furious along with the frenetic non-stop animated action. Watch for lots of Planet of the Apes and King Kong references in the final battle sequences.

A few of my favorite lines:

It's a gem of a cartoon; if you have any liking for the TV show, I can almost guarantee you'll have a lot of fun watching this.


DVD update:

We got the DVD of this movie pretty much the day it came out, and the extras make it worth at least renting if you enjoyed the movie. One slight downside (for some of us) is that the movie has apparently only been released in the full-screen version, although the outtakes are in widescreen. Fortunately, the aspect was not so wide that the movie's composition is really harmed by the reduction.

For instance, there's a gloriously off-color bit in the "deleted scenes" section. It takes place when the mayor and the angry mob accost the professor as he leaves his house to pick up the girls. The frame focuses on Sara Bellum's ample cleavage, and then she slowly raises a wanted poster of the girls into the frame as she asks, "Are these your babies, Professor?"

Other fun tidbits include gag interviews with the main characters and lots and lots of behind-the-scenes documentary segments.

The movie has a high repeat-watchability factor. We watched it twice in a row right out of the box due to housemates arriving home during the end credits and exclaiming, "Powerpuff Girls! We wanna see, too!" so we started it over and I didn't get sick of it. However, upon the third viewing, I finally noticed the one real plot hole in the film: why does the professor never notice his lab chimp's gone missing? Ah well, it's still a fun movie.


Movie Credits and Info

Running Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Release Date: July 3, 2002

Distributor: Warner Brothers

Director: Craig McCracken

Writers: Craig McCracken, Amy Keating Rogers, Don Shank

Art Director: Mike Moon

Animation Director: Genndy Tartakovsky

Storyboard Artists: Charlie Bean, Lauren Faust, Craig McCracken, Paul Rudish, Don Shank

Voice Cast:

Blossom: Catherine Cavadini
Bubbles: Tara Strong (Tara Charendoff)
Buttercup: Elizabeth Daily (E.G. Daily)
Mayor/Narrator: Tom Kenny
Mojo Jojo: Roger L. Jackson
Professor Utonium: Tom Kane
Ms. Keane: Jennifer Hale

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