"The Powerpuff Girls Movie," the first feature-film foray for the
crime-fighting, super-powered little girls, is constructed in the
first half as an introduction to the uninitiated audience members
of the popular Cartoon Network series. Much like "Spider-Man," it
is told how Blossom (voiced by Catherine Cavadini), Bubbles (Tara
Strong), and Buttercup (E.G. Daily) were created with "sugar and spice
and everything nice" as the perfect daughters by Professor Utonium
(Tom Kane) and came to be butt-kicking, pint-sized superheroes. For
someone who has only seen one episode of the series, this was the
preferable half. The relationship that forms between the girls and
Professor Utonium is sweet and endearing. Then the horrid plot comes
into play and all is destroyed.
It seems Mojo Jojo (Roger L. Jackson), the lab assistant monkey of
Professor Utonium, is planning to use Chemical X to turn the primate
population into monsters hell-bent on destruction. In an effort to
stop them, Townsville's mayor (Tom Kenny) aids in the help of Blossom,
Bubbles, and Buttercup to stop Mojo Jojo before his dastardly plan becomes irreversible.
When it comes to big-screen adaptations of television series', even
the current, lackluster "Scooby-Doo" is more satisfying than "The
Powerpuff Girls Movie." So painfully stretched from a half-hour to
80 minutes is the film that the movie becomes all but completely unbearable
by the one-hour mark. When the Mojo Jojo storyline comes into play,
the duration of the running time is one long action setpiece that
seemingly goes on forever and offers nothing fresh or new to either
the girls or their plight. The movie (at least the latter half) is
a creative void with nary a thought in its head.
What saves "The Powerpuff Girls Movie" from being the worst animated
feature since 1998's "The Rugrats Movie" are two bright spots. The
animation is beautifully rendered. Its use of shapes and color schemes
are so fun to look at that it almost takes on the quality of an expressionistic
painting. Second, a harmless game of tag that the girls learn at school
turns into a frenetic, non-stop onslaught of flash and fury. For this
ten-minute section, "The Powerpuff Girls Movie" captures an exhilaration
that it is never able to retrieve again.
Instead of choosing to develop the female-empowering Blossom, Bubbles,
and Buttercup beyond their simple television personas, director Craig
McCracken has given us a wholly throwaway plot so threadbare in its
execution that it has to be seen to be believed. Blossom, Bubbles,
and Buttercup are cute characters with a lot of attitude--more attitude,
it seems, than this overlong incarnation is able to withhold.
Copyright © 2002 Dustin Putman