The Powerpuff Girls Movie (2002) / Animation-Action
MPAA Rated: PG for non-stop frenetic animated action
Running Time: 73 min.
Cast (voices): Cathy Cavadini, Tara Strong, Elizabeth Daily, Tom Kenny, Roger L. Jackson
Director: Craig McCracken
Screenplay: Charlie Bean, Lauren Faust, Craig McCracken, Paul Rudish, Don Shank
Review published July 5, 2002
Being a big fan of the television series, THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE was one of the summer 2002 releases I was looking forward to the most. It's a cartoon loved by kids for the animation and characters, and by adults for the in-jokes and pop culture references. Plus, the girls are also cute and the writing funny as well. Being familiar with the series, I wonder how my reaction would be had I not seen the television show, especially since the movie deals with the origin of the girls, and their arch-nemesis, Mojo Jojo. I'll give you my reactions after the plot...
In the city of Townsville, the native genius, Professor Utonium, concocts the formula to creat the perfect little girl. However, Utonium's monkey Jojo throws a (monkey) wrench in the works with the accidental addition of the potent Chemical X, and soon three young girls are born with superpowers, while Jojo develops a large brain to make himself a genius of his own. The two girls don't make a splash when they get involved in a game of tag that nearly decimates the city, and to make matter worse, Jojo uses them to hatch a diabolical plan to control the city on his own, furthering the hatred for the young, powerful trio. Jojo becomes Mojo Jojo, and soon the town is overrun with monkeys with brains as large as his own, and just as diabolical.
THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE serves as a good starting point for those unfamiliar with the television series. It's concerned mostly with the origin of the girls and of Mojo Jojo, something which the actual television show only dealt with in one episode in a more recent season, and even then it wasn't very fleshed out. However, the film only captures a small slice of why the television series is immensely enjoyable, instead merely concentrating on frenetic action and fast-paced inventiveness. Although three times longer than tv show...well actually six times longer if you consider most half hour shows are split into two cartoon segments...the movie has a lot less interaction among the characters than we are accustomed to seeing. In fact we really don't get to see much difference in the personalities of the girls, with the exception of Bubbles, who plays the crybaby card way too much in this film (and she is usually my favorite of the three due to being the cutest and sweetest.)
While the film is impressive in comic action, it is merely a springboard to what should be a good series now that we have gotten the origin out of the way. Die hard fans will undoubtedly be entertained, while those unfamiliar should develop a curiosity to see more. However, people expecting a cute kids movie will be gravely disappointed as THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE is a very fast, noisy, and violent 90 minutes with very few moments of respite. If you like what you see, I would highly recommend the television series, as the quality is often better than this film is on the whole. I am giving THE POWERPUFF GIRLS MOVIE a modest recommendation for delivering on action and some humorous touches, and I sincerely hope any future films will give us more fleshed out characterizations of the girls we love so much.
©2002 Vince Leo